Putting the Multi into Channel Markets.
By Laura Patterson is president and co-founder of VisionEdge Marketing, Inc.
Wednesday, 17th October 2012
The proliferation of channels available to marketing organizations to reach out and connect with prospects and customers is creating a number of data and measurement challenges.

Many organizations are leveraging a variety of channels but the metrics are still channel specific. Measuring channel-specific tactics in isolation is a problem because these metrics don't account for the fact that many of these programs leverage several tactics and work together.

In fact, siloed metrics can actually be misleading. For example, if you see one tactic outperforming everything else, you might pull money for another vehicle, and your overall results might actually decline because the effect of the vehicle that was reduced or eliminated wasn't properly accounted for.

Therefore in addition to output-metrics, such as impression, response rates, etc. associated with an individual tactics, marketers also need metrics for integrated programs that capture the synergy created by multi-channel programs.

Sophisticated marketers are creating models that help them understand the relationship between channel vehicles and the additional value derived from integrating channels. These models need to structure the data to properly reflect the effect of multiple channels. One way to structure your data is to view your channels similar to your investment portfolio, where each investment and the entire portfolio is important in terms of creating value and reducing risk.

With this approach, just as we would develop a set of specific outcomes associated with our investment portfolio, which may or may not change over time, our channel portfolio should be measured in terms of performance of that individual asset and the specific business outcomes it is intended to produce.

Ideally each vehicle should reinforce the other vehicles. As with your investment portfolio, your channel portfolio will be easier to monitor if it's all under "one roof." Therefore it will help to have a single point of integration. This will greatly aid you in monitoring, measuring and comparing the contribution of your portfolio.

In terms of metrics, we'd recommend you select measuring your multi-channel programs against six customer-centric primary metrics designed to affect one overarching key performance indicator- customer engagement. These six metrics correlate to five of the six stages of the customer buying process: connection (reflect ability to create action), conversation (reflects the level of exchange), consideration (reflects the intent to purchase), consumption (reflects conversion to customer), and community (reflects trust, loyalty and referral).

The idea here is that all marketing programs and associated channels are designed to affect one or more of these stages and therefore should be measured in terms of how well the program achieves the performance target. Each of these metrics provides insight into the degree of customer engagement.

By using the customer-buying stages, engagement metrics and analytics, you have a common way to compare channels and programs.

Laura Patterson is president and co-founder of VisionEdge Marketing, Inc., a recognized leader in enabling organizations to leverage data and analytics to facilitate marketing accountability. Laura's newest book, Marketing Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization (Racom: www.racombooks.com ), is a useful primer for improving marketing measurement and performance.


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