Take a look around any marketing department today, and you’re likely to find clusters of marketers responsible for various functions such as display, targeting, search, and the affiliate channel.
On the one hand, this allows you to cultivate teams with deep expertise in their areas of specialization. On the other hand, it creates silos that limit your ability to see the full scope of the customer’s journey.
For example, your back-to-school campaign may be a full-on marketing push through every possible online channel. While each team may hit its goals, and you can deem the campaign a success, what you may not realize until later is that your revenue goals fell short of expectations.
This could be the result of a lack of visibility into the overall performance of the campaign and the role each channel played in the sale. These blind spots make you vulnerable to unnecessary spending and help the competition steal your market share.
The Marketing Silo Dilemma
Attaining a comprehensive view into each marketing channel, as well as being able to see the bigger picture, is the goal of every marketer. The rise in the population of omni-channel marketing managers speaks to this need. Yet, the reality is that many organizations, especially online retailers, are still stuck in those silos.
This is due to a variety of factors. Three of which are: the structure of the organization, the increasing pressure to measure campaign results based on each team’s specific contributions, and the variety of analytics tools used to track and measure the specific performance of a particular channel.
Now, add in the dimensions of traffic and performance on tablets and smartphones, and you can easily see how convoluted the tracking, measurement and analysis process can become.
This is why now, more than ever, e-commerce companies are investing in resources to get this much-needed transparency across channels. They know they need to better understand what specifically influenced the sale. They also demand greater insight into the what, why, where, and when a customer is buying so they present the right offer at the right time.
But, with so many approaches and tools to analyze and track performance, where do you start? And, how do you know you’re going about it the right way?
Unify Complementary Channels
One of the best places to start is by looking at the natural flow of the customer journey and unifying the channels that are most closely aligned. Given this, nothing could be more complementary than affiliate and display.
These two areas are ripe for joint analysis because time and again we see consumers start their shopping at the affiliate channel, and retargeting winds up closing the sale; while in many other instances, the reverse is true.
Bringing these two complementary channels together in your analysis allows marketers to pinpoint what percentage of transactions were included in both the affiliate and display channels and how much each influenced the sale. It also helps identify overlaps so you’re not overpaying for a transaction.
Also, by understanding how these two channels intersect, retailers will be able to better define their commission strategy for affiliates and hold more meaningful pricing conversations with their display and retargeting vendors. The ideal outcome is motivated publishers that continue to drive sales and an improved return-on-ad-spend (ROAS).
Omni-Channel Marketing Strategy
Now, to put this theory into action, here is a five-step process to get you started:
- Identify a product or category.
- Choose a team member from each channel and hold them accountable for meeting regularly and sharing their expertise as the team dives into the product and/or category.
- With their shared knowledge of the product/category, the team should next focus on understanding the consumer journey.
- From there, build consensus on an action plan based on individual knowledge, shared learning, team collaboration, and a deep understanding of the consumer journey.
- Determine your attribution model based on this renewed understanding of the consumer journey, and be sure to include quantifiable actions and measurable goals for each channel and the overall campaign.
As you start to analyze performance based on the pairings of complementary channels, you’ll likely want to expand this five-step process beyond affiliate and display to include other marketing functions.
For example, you can easily see how search would lead a consumer to a publisher’s site, which later resulted in a display ad that led to a sale.
By aligning your channels with the consumer journey and analyzing individual as well as overall performance, you’ll drive more sales while also getting the added benefits of having a more cohesive and collaborative team.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.