One of the most widely debated topics that we see between marketers and the senior leadership team is whether the business in question truly has the ability to connect the dots between marketing activity and ROI.
In fact, whether it’s a sole trader, SME or large corporate and whether you market offline or digitally this question crops up time and time again.
I recently attended a UX webinar hosted by Userzoom of which during the presentation they asked the audience (marketing leaders across the globe) whether they feel they have robust measures in place to monitor performance and activity.
An astonishing 75% of marketers responded that they felt they weren't able to fully link up income to activity.
Furthermore, ‘over 38% of marketers’ suggested that their analytics tools were underutilised and the data misinterpreted. Whaaat?!
Ok, so let’s just take a step back for a second – if a business is spending on activity but can’t fully visualise the return pound for pound does this sound like a robust business model? Now, dependant on the product and sector this, of course, does vary. For example, in home insurance, digital marketing and paid search is primary route to market, however many transactions are conducted over the phone, in addition, the consumer can opt for a monthly direct debit. Therefore, the spend on acquiring that particular sale won’t make breakeven until a point in the future.
In addition, the user journey could very well be something like this:
- User sees advert on TV
- User Googles’ the company and clicks the paid advert to get a quote
- User then ran a price comparison search
- User decided to call up directly as they had a higher value product directly.
There are now 4 records or touch points for that one customer – which would you attribute the conversion to?
Ok, so that’s quite a fragmented user journey, partially due to the nature of the sector, however as consumers we are always looking for great deals – especially when shopping online. There’s discount codes, limited offers, cashback deals and incentivised surveys out there all causing noise and vying for your attention.
As a business, it’s important to ensure you have multiple bases covered with a multi-channel approach otherwise you leave yourself open to the competition coming in like vultures to a carcass and stealing your prospects. However, more crucially, having a fundamental understanding of the relationship between multiple-channels, therefore, is important to make your marketing strategy successful. If you don’t have a full grasp on marketing activity versus income, then you need a better strategy!
Going back to basics
Not all is lost. We’re not advocating putting all your eggs in one basket here, multi-channel is definitely a far greater way to minimise risk by spreading your activity effectively. The difference, however, is ensuring that efficient tracking and monitoring is in place so the data can be interpreted and provides holistic views on performance.
Rarely do senior leaders in businesses require the finite detail, they are looking for key successes, profitability and awareness of potential weaknesses. It’s important, as a marketer, to recognise this.
We’re not talking about ‘Big data’ here, we’re talking about being smarter and more tactical with that data. To understand it, digest it and report on it to ensure that each user touch point is measured and tested to improve conversion.
Ok, so great – we’ve identified that multi-channel journeys can be tricky to attribute income to activity and we know we need analytics to help us build the bigger picture, so what next?
Auditing your digital activity
To fully understand what analytics tracking and attribution modelling we need, we first need to understand the user journey.
Conducting a website audit is a first step to getting a handle on all existing performance digital assets and marketing activity. Website audits typically include a deep review of the user objectives to be undertaken, the usability of the website, technical performance factors, an audit of your SEO, PPC and social activity and then a benchmark comparison against your competitors to see alternative ways of fishing in the same pond. They can also highlight areas of weakness where data is limited and needs specialist analytics tools.
Following the audit process, you will have a far greater understanding of individual channel performance and how your competitors are marketing themselves. Great, but now what?
To take your knowledge and understanding to a greater level we advocate undertaking 121 research and user testing. By speaking directly with your prospective customers and reviewing the way they interact with you and your competitor websites you can build a truly holistic view of what your customers are looking for and how they are looking for it.
Backed by the data from your analytics this is a fundamental and crucial step towards taking an insight first approach to your marketing and moving towards developing a robust attribution model.
Tracking your analytics
Now, if there’s one key takeaway from reading this post then it’s to not over-engineer your analytics. Whether it’s online or offline there are ways to measure performance at each stage of the user journey, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Following the auditing and UX research, you now have all the data and information applicable to implementing full multi-channel analytics across your website and marketing channels.
For website traffic, we recommend Google analytics as a basic tool to measure the performance of your website, don’t forget to also activate Google search console and Google my business for additional relevant data.
For telephony tracking there are numerous solutions out there, we personally advocate ResponseTap or Infinity Call Tracking. Both can feed data back into analytics and helps marry the offline enquiry data back to keywords, PPC and website activity. From this you will know which phrase and page generated the call.
Test and learn…measure and convert
Now you’re armed with non-subjective information about your users – ‘how’ they are interacting with your digital assets and ‘why’ they behave in certain ways. You’ve also now got tracking in place across all your channels both offline and online and have a far richer level of data available at your disposal to build a clear picture of the performance of your activity.
The next key phase is to test and learn. By this we mean A/B testing landing pages, advert copy, key components of your website. Ultimately the objective here is to refine your proposition at each stage of the user journey until conversions are maximised and user drop off is more than acceptable.
Fantastic, you’re now almost done creating a better digital strategy for you and your business.
Through continuous improvement, testing elements and measuring performance at each stage you’ll have a far greater ability to understand conversion metrics at each stage of the funnel.
The core product and sole objective of improving conversion throughout the stages in the funnel will inevitably be a vast improvement on income versus spend. This, I can promise, will be music to the ears of your senior management.
Let the results speak for themselves
So, whilst we’ve skimmed over some details, in a nutshell; to improve your digital strategy requires grasping an understanding of your audience, optimising the user journey and implementing robust tracking across your channels and assets with data flowing into relevant dashboards. It won’t happen overnight, but I can assure it’s a tried and tested approach.
We achieved an uplift of 6-22% for a household insurer by following the above principles, in addition, we’ve seen similar performance uplifts in other sectors including finance, law and military security.
If you’d like to know more about our insight first approach or are looking for support to maximise the performance of your digital strategy, please get in touch. We’d love to understand more about your business challenges and see where we can help achieve your business objectives.