Tracking customer behavior across multiple channels

Two ads. Two shows. One Brand.
While traveling home this week I was skimming a Delta Sky Magazine and noticed two full page ads from Cirque du Soleil. My first thought was that the ads were repetitive. They had different pictures but they were advertising  entertainment from the same brand. With just one page separating the two I thought maybe it was an A/B test for the advertisement.

On closer examination I saw that the two ads followed a template that was constructed to show seven different Cirque du Soleil experiences. The banner strip in the middle of the page had a raised block for the specific show. Each show is themed for a different “mood”.

The call to action on the ads was exactly the same. They contained the same URL and phone number for tickets. As a marketer I wonder if the URL and phone number are unique to the print-ad campaign in any way or even to Delta SkyMiles magazine. There is no promo-code, adcode, or offer code to enter  in the web site or give to the phone agent to identify the source otherwise.

(I forgot to get a picture of the actual ad and cannot locate it online. Sorry!)

Tracking customer behavior across multiple channels.
Marketers know that tracking leads back to the source of the customer origination is important because it helps us to fine tune our messages to those that attract customers. Before any business transaction takes place a customer must be engaged with something that they find valuable. How do we know what that is unless we track responses and listen?

But here’s another thought for tracking codes that’s becoming more relevant to marketers today.  Channel boundaries are blurring because technology brings products and our brands closer to the customer. But do you have a way to track each customer touch point and associate each touch point to the final business transaction (your conversion goal)?

For example I might see a banner ad on a website and respond to it, but not place the order on the web site (the initial lead). After I see the offer I may leave the website and price shop the product with competitors. Then let’s say I become distracted and forget about the product (happens a lot with all the stuff competing for our attention). The next day I receive an email from the original store and it reminds me that I wanted to purchase product X. So I follow the link in the email and purchase the product in the online store.

Who or what gets credited for the sale?
In my example, does the online banner ad or the email get credit as the ad that generated the sale? Most sales analysis tools will track the last touch to the end customer. But multiple touch points are a new way of thinking for marketers. Maybe this makes decision making more complex, but as marketers we need to know all the content that is connecting with our customers. This includes not only what creates interest to close the sale, but also what generates the initial attraction/interest  to the product.

Here’s some advice. Find out if your internet analytics tool has the ability to track visitors behavior across multiple visits. In today’s evolving digital world, customers may be seeing your marketing messages in more than one channel or from more than one source. Don’t lose site of the overall effectiveness of your marketing work because you only count the last ad touched when the order is placed.

This will require some retooling of your analytics tracking, reporting, and decision making but it’ll be well worth it in the extra insights you’ll gain about your customers.