A Business Technology Place

Channel attribution for a multi-channel world

We are multi-channeled consumers.
More and more we live in a multi-channel world. How many purchases do you research online ahead of the actual purchase transaction? If you are like me then your research involves multiple retailer sites, a search for promotional offers, and reading customer reviews. Digital media makes it all possible. It’s fast and you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

But sales channels are a marketer mindset. Consumers don’t think about channels when they are going about their daily routine ( and that’s a good thing for consumers). It allows consumers to be educated on not only the product they are purchasing, but the company who is selling the product as well. My experience is that in many cases the price of the product is roughly the same. But things like return policy, customer service, convenience of locations, or shipping fees could provide the greatest distinction between choices.

For retailers running a business all these touch points create a set of business questions. Which channel(s) receive credit for the sale? Which channel(s) should be allocated the most budget spend? How many channels did the customer touch before making their purchase? And so on and so on…..

Enter channel attribution to help marketers.
Internet analytics providers are starting to implement features for channel attribution.  I received a monthly product update email from Google that contained a link to their channel attribute support for Google Analytics premium customers and about four months ago I discussed the same features in the Adobe SiteCatalyst platform with some colleagues.

Marketers love attribution because it helps them understand how their efforts affect the entire sales cycle. This enables better decisioning for budgets, channels, promotions, and features.  What this means in practical terms is that all interactions with a customer are tracked for measurement. So for example interactions with email click-throughs, search keywords, promotional offers, etc. The big idea is to correlate all these interactions at the end of a sale instead of just looking at the individual purchase funnel of the last transaction.

Look for a set of niche channel attribution consultants.
Let’s be real though, channel attribution is a complex topic. It requires a significant understanding of how customers interact with channels and a great deal of planning to setup. Once it’s implemented the analysis of the data isn’t trivial either.

This will become a consultants paradise over the next few years. The capability will be closer to companies now that major players in the internet analytics industry are adding the feature to their tools. But the amount of planning required, the expertise to configure the tool, and the ability to interpret the information will be a barrier to entry for many organizations. They’ll need consultants.

This is making us all better.
The gradual changes will be good. Business departments at Universities and Colleges will begin to teach more about how channels coexist, not how they operate in silos. Some industry players now teach that the concept of a channel is outdated. They see customer interactions in touch-points. Businesses will begin to make smarter adjustments to budgets and technology use. Marketers will make smarter decisions for 1:1 marketing tactics with consumers.

This is the perfect area for marketing technologists to fit within an organizational framework. The technologists have a role in system architecture, planning, implementation, as well as operational support for measurement and analysis. It’s a wake-up call for organizations that marketing is becoming more dependent on technology and that technology is only useful if it’s helping marketing bring business to the organization.

Are you thinking about channel attribution in your marketing and technology plans?

Combining digital and print media. Go Braves!

Baseball is one my favorite things in life. I played the game as a kid and now have the joy of watching my son grow-up playing the game as well. We also go watch baseball games several times each year including youth, collegiate, and professional levels. Braves Game Day

Each time we go to the Atlanta Braves games at Turner Field I’m always impressed with the customer focus and game day experience. I’ve previously written about the customer focus of the employees at Turner Field. On my last trip, I took notice of how they combine the use of digital and print media to both drive sales as well as educate their customers.

As fans enter the park, they are given a small print publication called “Game Day”. Atlanta Braves Game Day contains promotional materials for the Braves, stats and bios of the players, and a ballpark directory. Since the book is thin the amount of space given to any particular topic is limited. This is great because it forces the marketer to keep the message simple and on point. On the front of the booklet is the teams web address braves.com and then throughout the booklet are various additional addresses specific to the promotion or topic:









Game Day has several valuable marketing take aways for using digital and print media combined with a multi-channel strategy:

Use Internet addresses without ‘www’

I am a big proponent of printing web addresses without the ‘www’ because it shortens the print, makes it simpler to read, and draws more attention to the brand name. We come to a point now where when people see something like brandname.com they understand its an Internet address because of the .com suffix.  Make sure your web site will work with and without the ‘www’ prefix on the address.

Use Internet addresses with landing page designators for your target segment

OK, so creating customer segments is from marketing 101.  The job now is to create separate and distinct landing pages for each segment such as brandname.com/segment1. Doing this allows you to not only design a custom message for the target segment but to uniquely track the site usage through web analytics software. Designing landing pages is an Internet marketing topic unto itself. The basic principal is to make sure the call to action is clear and distinguishable. Don’t clutter the page with multiple options and distractions for your customer. Help them get to where you want them to be!

For the Braves they have created segments based on life events of their customers, baseball events with players, community service, etc. They are reaching people that want to watch baseball for the game as well as those that use baseball as more of a social event.

Use a multi-channel strategy to reach your audience

Multi-channel marketing offers the target segment more than one way to interact with a brand.  Certainly there are strategic considerations about how to message the target audience such as advertising in a single channel or multiple channels. The Braves are using the stadium, a printed brochure, and a web site to present messages to their fans. In addition to this, throughout the stadium and during the game, almost every written and audible advertisement has URLs with targeted landing pages. The messaging is clear and follows a consistent pattern of pointing customers to braves.com/keyword for information and ordering.

Use your main channel to sell and promote for future visits

Modern eCommerce sites always offer cross sell and upsell items for existing visit. But how do those brands promote future visits during your current session? The Braves use your current visit to show you things you could do on your next visit. Are you having a birthday? (we all do right?)You can get a free Braves ticket. Do you want to get on the field and watch the pros take batting practice? Do that by planning your next trip in advance and purchasing the extra ticket. Are you looking for seats with all-you-can eat food? Tickets for this type of experience are available for your next visit.

What’s your experience with marketing of professional sports as they compete for your entertainment dollar. Are there other lessons to be learned from this industry?