A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a byline article for DMNews.com about the approach to take when planning a multi-channel analytics initiative. I thought I’d share it here as well:
The number of channels available to marketers for reaching their target audience has been growing dramatically over the years. It was not long ago when the only options marketers had were print, radio or television. Today of course, businesses have a whole multitude of channels they can use to get their message across to customers; and on the flip side, customers also have a whole range of channels with which to complete transactions – and these aren’t necessarily the same ones.
Businesses now realize that they need to employ multiple channels in order to effectively reach their target audience. However, merely having multiple channels does not translate into a true multi-channel strategy. Businesses need to avoid the costly and ineffective “everything to everyone” approach when putting together their channels. They need to define a true multi-channel strategy where each channel plays a core role and has a defined value proposition for the customer experience.
In order to do this, businesses need to be able to understand customer behavior and preferences. They need valuable information on the different customer attributes and how these affect purchase behavior, product attributes, sales patterns and channel preferences. This understanding can no longer be achieved by looking at only one channel – businesses need to bring all this information together from all the different channels in order to see the true big picture.
But be warned: bringing together all data from all channels all at once is too ambitious a task and will likely result in failure. Businesses should start with one easily measurable channel and augment it with data from just one other channel. As technologies for web analytics have matured in the last few years, this is a logical place to start. Most companies with a web presence should already be analyzing customer behavior on the web. The short term goal should be to augment this analysis by adding data from one other channel – for retailers, this would be in-store customer behavior and purchase patterns derived from POS systems. For other verticals with heavy call center use, such as financial services, travel or telecommunications, analysis of call data merged with web data would provide quick returns.
By following this approach and then later adding additional channels once the two-channel analysis has yielded benefits, businesses are more likely to develop a successful multi-channel strategy to retain and grow its customer-base.