The concept of multi-channel marketing has been around for a number of years. What’s changed today is that social media has delivered to corporations a level of customer access that is unprecedented, and brings with it a myriad of possibilities.
The opportunity that corporations now have revolves around the concept of ‘touch points’ with the consumers. In 2008 David Armano published a blog post, ‘Infinite Touch Points‘. Before the Digital Age touch points were limited to physical touches with the customer such as the phone or in person. The Digital Age created multiple touch points connecting online and offline and he predicted a post Digital Age where we will have almost infinite potential, connected, touch points with consumers.
We are getting to that point and businesses are struggling to integrate at least multiple, if not infinite, touch points in a consistent way into their overall marketing strategy.
Some of this challenge is about touch points not always being direct tangible experiences that can be planned for, influenced and measured. A direct touch point may be something like a phone call, completing a form on your website or even clicking a link. These are all obvious interactions that can be measured in some way and hence fairly easily improved upon. Indirect touch points, for example, word of mouth and value that you are creating in the mind of your consumer are invisible and almost impossible to measure.
As Dr Dave Chaffey, author of Emarketing Excellence and CEO of Digital marketing advice site SmartInsights.com says: “It’s common for marketers to discuss conversion rates, but a question that’s asked less often is “which media or touch points have influenced conversion?” This is not an easy question to answer since customers often decide to buy not on a single visit to a site, but over the course of several visits. A conversion may be prompted by offline media, social media, ads, affiliates search and other digital channels.
“You should turn to your analytics to help answer this question which is technically known as ‘attribution’. Simply put, digital media attribution is a method of evaluating the combination of online touch points which influence or ‘assist’ conversion to sale. If attribution sounds “heavy”, think of it as the “Gary Lineker” model – he scored many goals for England, but the assists from other players are rarely credited.”
Developing the SoLoMo model
The access that your business’ customers have to your corporation are now manifold, which is often referred to as ‘SoLoMo’.
So, what is this strange looking new word? SoLoMo stands for ‘Social, Local and Mobile’ and it describes a new marketing perspective being driven by social media and mobile devices for businesses where they have – or want – a local audience.
Some actions that need to be considered within an organisation looking to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by having more accessible consumers includes:
- Identify each touch points within the business including its relative impact and determine the required outcomes.
- Ensure a unified brand image by developing consistent branding across all marketing channels.
- Develop closer integration across business functions that allow consistent delivery across all channels and touch points including face-to-face.
- Identify which social media platforms are most appropriate for your audience.
- Use a CRM system with built in social media capabilities and analytics.
- Create and implement a mobile marketing plan.
- Monitor social media data to ensure real time customer service and feedback.
- Measure and act on website and social media analytics.
Even with a coherent channel marketing strategy in place, based on multiple touch points, there is still the challenge of measuring and improving the effectiveness of the marketing given that not all of the touch points are visible or recordable.
Clearly a pragmatic approach needs to be taken to the metrics that your corporation will utilise, including attempting to measure the potential effects of the less visible touches. For example, questions can be asked about how a customer heard of the company, with word of mouth online or offline being potential responses.
That still doesn’t explain exactly how that word of mouth happened and which part of the marketing efforts influenced it directly but at least it will give some indication of the relative success of elements of a marketing strategy especially in the cases where the response is related to online actions.
As Andy Harris of A1WebStats http://www.a1webstats.com, creators of a website statistics analysis and lead generation tool says:
“Measurement of website traffic is vital in order to determine how well each marketing channel is doing. If, for example, you’re sending out tweets or a post on LinkedIn containing links to your blog, then you need to see how many people are clicking through to your website. However, it doesn’t stop there – it’s one thing knowing who clicks through and from which channels but it’s more valuable to see (through analytics) if those individual people are going deeper into your website and where, linked back to where they came from.”
With a clear view of who your customers are and which touch points they are using you can create a dynamic marketing plan. This plan should include using mobile as part of a unified approach with consistent branding across all channels. This will ensure that the touch points your business’ customers are using are clear and can offer your corporation a channel to take these conversations further.