By Richard Greenhalgh, Managing Director of EHS Brann Discovery
Measurement is fundamental to good direct marketing. The ability to track how much you get back for each marketing pound you spend is vital, and never more so than in hard times such as these.
The focus, and most of the budget, is nearly always on the acquisition of new customers, but this is often at the expense of simpler and cheaper ways to increase profitability.
Most businesses deliver their brand promise to customers across a wide range of departments and channels. Sales and Marketing create the offer to win the customer over whilst operational parts of the business, such as call centres and service teams, deal with the customer once they are on board.
This can deliver a fragmented, inconsistent experience for customers who feel they are being asked to jump through hoops. Too many hoops (and some of those in flames) and customers will vote with their feet.
So measurement shouldn’t just be about campaign tracking and analysis of acquisition ROI. There is huge value to be gained in joining the dots and measuring the end-to-end customer journey metrics. This allows us to see where the ‘leaks’ are in the journey, how big they are and where the best opportunities lie for plugging them cost-effectively.
It also brings together the disparate parts of the business that have a direct impact on a customer’s perception and behaviour. If for every 100 enquiries you only convert 20 and of those only 15 are with you after a year, what has caused the loss of the 80 and the 5 at each respective stage of the customer journey?
There is little evidence that businesses understand this complete customer value chain. This may sound like bad news but in fact is a great opportunity for focussing scarce resources to best effect.
Combining management Information (MI) and data can give this holistic view. Data analysis can add huge value in understanding how customers behave at different parts of the journey – for example, the interaction between on- and offline channel activity at purchase, or propensity modelling to help retain the most valuable customers.
The danger lies in not being able to see the wood for the trees. Most organisations would probably claim to have all the MI and data they need, and indeed many of them seem to be drowning in it.
The trick lies in what you do with it. Data on its own is useless, it’s how you turn it into information to improve the decision making process that counts. That includes identifying which KPIs are really relevant and stripping out as much extraneous data and MI as possible.
This gives the business a simple but highly effective benchmarking tool to track the end-to-end performance across the whole customer journey through acquisition, cross and up sell, service experience, retention and advocacy. It can also do this at channel level to track the relative performance of, say, web against phone and help managers decide where and how to spend their budget most effectively.
And if it means that Marketing and Operations understand each other a little better in the process then that can’t be a bad thing for the consumer either.
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