When the Web was introduced years ago, direct marketers were faced with the issue of tracking which channel their customers were coming from –catalog, retail, field sales, online. Today it’s an even more complicated world. Not only do we have to determine which channel they came through, but also which advertising medium within that channel. With all our marketing efforts being spread across several tactics within a channel, it’s important to realize and measure the value of each.
In the online space alone, a customer could be exposed to several marketing efforts from a single company in the same timeframe, including e-mail marketing campaigns, search engine advertising, shopping portals, and banner advertising. While all of these efforts are important to execute, you need to be tracking which one is giving you the best bang for your buck. Which is driving the most new customers to your site? Which effort is giving you the best return on your investment? Which is driving the most repeat purchases?
To effectively track these efforts, it’s imperative that you have analytics software in place to do so. There are many analytical tools on the market today. But prior to investing in the software, you need to clearly define your needs and goals. Important data to consider:
- Who will be using the tool within your organization?
- What are the most important data you will be looking at for each online marketing program you’re running?
- What types of reports will you require?
Another critical issue to consider is determining the lifetime value of each new customer based on the source of the online advertising program. By putting a retention plan in place that allows you to market to these new customers based on their source, you can start to determine which source is contributing the most-valuable customers. For example, customers coming to your site because they searched for a product you offer may or may not be as valuable as customers who received an e-mail campaign from a friend and subsequently bought from you. Therefore, your retention efforts may be very different for each source of new customers.
Your marketing efforts continue to evolve with new channels and sources of new customers. As direct marketers, we need to embrace these new marketing efforts but stay true to our analytical nature to be sure we’re getting the most out of each campaign.
Lynn Anne Badurina is director of online marketing services for Hackensack, NJ-based Mokrynskidirect.