Keeping track of multi-channel marketing campaigns

Today, every campaign must compete and deliver across multiple channels - your customers don’t live in a single app or network, and neither can you.

Multi channel omni channel marketing and sales

They each have their preferences, and you need to go and talk to them where they are in their lives, according to their priorities, not yours. Giving your customers control of the interaction puts them in the driving seat and lets them use the combination of engagement channels that fits most seamlessly into their lives. When it comes to building brand awareness and share of voice, as opposed to driving specific sales actions, you need to be everywhere - or at least, to create that impression. (You’ll drive more conversions too, so this is a win-win).

This includes on- and offline channels, if appropriate, and each one has different ways of measuring and tracking success. You may need to start by brainstorming all the touchpoints your campaign will need to address, going beyond the obvious, to include things like print, broadcast, influencer and billboard marketing if appropriate.

creating and managing a consistent marketing message across them all is challenging to start with

There may be more channels to keep track of than you imagined. So creating and managing a consistent marketing message across them all is challenging to start with, and keeping track of all the elements involved can be very complicated - a bit like a series of spinning plates, except the plates, are all different colours and sizes, and possibly located in different rooms.

So, you need a plan and a structure, such as the RACE (Reach, Act, Convert, Engage) model proposed by Dave Chaffey, and you can use this to set up, run, and evaluate your campaign.

Using the same framework for your entire campaign drives consistency and effectiveness because your customer must recognize you wherever they come across you. This ensures that your brand equity is reinforced, even subconsciously, whenever a customer or prospect recognizes your familiar logo or colour scheme or brand styling.

If you take a fragmented and inconsistent approach, you dilute all that you have achieved, and this has come to be understood in today’s global market. A couple of decades ago, the same product might have had varied messaging, even naming, in different markets, while now it is the universality of the message which is known to have treated impact. (UK consumers: remember when you had to get used to calling Jif Cif, or Marathon Snickers? This is why.)

Planning to succeed

You’ll need to start by auditing your brand voice across all the places where you interact with your customers and consider how you will incorporate each one into your planning. You’ll need to consider things like:

  • The channels you’ll include - as many as possible YET meaningful because your budget is not infinite. You’ll prioritize budget and effort at the channels yielding the best ROI while ensuring your presence is reflected consistently across the others too
  • Your customer profiles and personas, and how these map to the different channels. Who are you targeting, and where do they hang out, where can you meet them on their turf - with advertising, marketing, and simple presence?
  • The objectives of your campaign and the tactics which will deliver it. For example, what is your emphasis on retention vs acquisition of customers? What is your existing share of voice, vs share of the market?
  • How will you evaluate your campaign? It is vital in multichannel to know exactly which elements are working and to be able to quantify this precisely.

Data-driven campaign tracking

Your multichannel marketing plan must be designed around evidence-based monitoring, and this is where native integrations of your communications channels with your CRM becomes vital.

Ringover integrates natively with a range of market-leading CRMs, like Zoho, HubSpot. and Sales - and beyond the native integrations, it is easy to configure connections via the API hooks on a low-code/no-code basis, using tools like Zapier.

This not only makes it easy for non-technical marketing communications people to set up the tracking they want to effectively keep track of multichannel campaigns, it means that the campaign itself can be centred on the most important stakeholder of all: the customer. Their unique record is at the fulcrum of the data, however, it is sliced and diced.

This further enables deep and consistent personalization across the multichannel campaign, so that the customer not only receives brand reinforcement from the design and communication standards employed across all channels, they are individually addressed as well.

86% say that personalization directly impacts their buying behaviour

The branding consistency operates largely subconsciously, creating an impression and background story of the product and the company behind it, but the personalization is the part that stands out and speaks to them personally. Research from Infosys indicates that 59% of shoppers recognize and welcome personalized marketing messages, and acknowledge it has an influence, with 86% saying that personalization directly impacts their buying behaviour.

So, creating your campaign monitoring around the single customer view, aggregating the data from multiple channels in one place, is the smart approach - which the integration of communications and CRM data makes possible, in new ways.

Interestingly, this is one area where newer more agile brands can leap ahead in market share over incumbents, simply by setting up their marketing communications in a more intelligent and integrated way. Legacy brands might have years and years of sales and marketing data, but if this is not in an accessible format, it’s not going to be of use. It can be a lot more impactful to start over with a new database, being certain to track every touchpoint going forward.

Tracking attribution in multichannel marketing campaigns

There’s a famous quote attributed to US department store magnate John Wanamaker, that “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

This remark is still mentioned in marketing courses today, but it is, in fact, more than 100 years old. So, surely, anyone still referring to it has no excuse whatsoever?

Well, when it comes to multichannel, it’s more difficult than it sounds.

Consider another old-school marketing aphorism: The Marketing Rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to “hear” the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service. This one was developed by the movie industry, nearly as long ago as Wanamaker, but human nature and decision-making haven’t changed all that much - the only thing that’s altered is the nature of those touchpoints, in our global multichannel world

So imagine a customer wants a new TV and visits a retailer’s showroom to look at some and get advice - because it’s a high-ticket, infrequent purchase they want to get right and let’s face it, the average shopper may not know their OLED from their elbow.

In the store, they chat to a knowledgeable sales assistant and make a note of some models that seem to offer the combination of features they like they snap some specification tags on their phone.

Later at home, they google that model and find a major online retailer has a better price on it, so they add it to their basket - but then get distracted by that ubiquitous 1-star review. Is this brand OK? Time for a bit more googling… Oh, it’s so confusing! At least if they bought from the local store, they’d have a warranty to hold to account face to face instead of online… So, they plan to go back there in the morning.

Then later that evening, still watching their old LCD TV, and the picture is so bad they’re glancing away to their phone - where a targeted ad on social media catches their eye, and they may…

a) go back to their cart and check out the online purchase (easiest, and directly attributable to the targeted ad, cookies effectively via the CRM)

b) decide to go back to the store and get it there, because they can bring it straight home with them (the store has no ad to track, and even if they’re the same brand as the online retailer, the customer is deemed a walk-in. They might even pay cash and decline an extended warranty, effectively leaving zero marketing footprint on the whole transaction)

c) decide the HDTV isn’t too bad after all, and despite the retargeting from the abandoned cart tracking them across every website they visit for the next 2 weeks, make no purchase. They also click on the ad a couple of times to try and delete it… Triggering further automation to attempt to persuade them via email.

So, how do you know which was the effective marketing activity, in closing the deal (if there is one?) And this is before you get into even more complex buying decisions, like B2B, where there may be multiple stakeholders required to sign off on a purchase.

Attribution is the hardest aspect of keeping track of multi-channel campaigns and requires effective modelling of the whole customer journey.

72% of marketers believe a benefit of attribution is being better able to allocate budget across channels for improved ROI

Research by 4Imprint suggests that almost half of CMOs use last-click/touch, because that’s simply the easiest to track, especially in Google Analytics or PPC. But this is a little like the guy searching for his lost car keys under the streetlamp (“no, I dropped them somewhere over there I think, but it’s too dark there, so I’m looking here”.) However, the same research suggests that 72% of marketers believe a benefit of attribution is being better able to allocate budget across channels for improved ROI.

What can you do, to evaluate your multichannel campaign success?

First of all, measure what you can, because it’s still of value to compare the success of one campaign with another. Even if the bulk of the success of each can be attributed to factors like brand equity, price, and word of mouth, the baseline here can be regarded as consistent, and the benefits that either campaign brings is worth evaluating - perhaps they’re incremental, but in a split-tested and continually optimized world, every increment matters.

Integrated omnichannel customer data is the key, and everything needs to be built around your CRM. This way, as many touchpoints as possible can be successfully incorporated into your customer journey mapping - from email marketing to cold calling to activity on social networks. Track everything you possibly can!

When you have the data, you can model and visualize it in different ways, to explore the impact of different attribution models - for example, you might find that viewing interactions through a time decay attribution lens makes it obvious that certain kinds of brand communication have a lasting value if it turns out that most of your high-ticket purchasers saw a specific ad at some point over a 90-day timeframe. That ad didn’t seem to be converting on its own, but it’s the unifying factor across a significant number of sales.

The future of multichannel marketing monitoring

Data science will continue to play a growing role in keeping track of multichannel marketing campaigns, and as we emerge from lockdown and return to the world of blended shopping, we can expect location tracking and triggers to become more significant too.

For example, beacons that operate via Bluetooth, send a push notification to shoppers when they are in or close to a given store. This technology was already in use before Covid, and sometimes crossed the line into creepy/intrusive territory, but after more than a year of contact tracking and alerts, it will be interesting to see if it has become better accepted.

We can also anticipate even more channels to be added to the marketing mix - yet more to keep track of, such as extended reality: how many ads did your metaverse avatar spot today?

What will need to change from a campaign management point of view, is a transition of the perspective from multichannel to omnichannel - centring the whole process on the customer at the heart of all communications, and relating every touchpoint to this record in the CRM at each stage.

Then the channels themselves will become interchangeable and scalable, easily dialled up and down to meet the preferences of each consumer, while ensuring they receive a personalized, consistent and holistic message wherever they encounter your brand.

Douglas Mulvihill,

UK Marketing Manager at Ringover