By Roy Wollen, President, Hansa Marketing Services.
How do you take control of click data when your vendors want to make things more complicated? Clicking behavior is complicated enough. Customers click on both paid and organic search listings. Customers use browsers and mobile devices. Customers ask their social community for buying advice. When they land on your website, their navigation provides clues as to how interested they are in your brand. The bloated weblog that gets produced from all of this is a mess. It’s voluminous, redundant, noisy and much too granular to make business decisions in its raw state.
What you need is a way to make things simpler – to understand the customer prior to the sale. You need a way to determine what to offer new customers, what to say, what to feature, how to ensure a good brand experience.
Some vendors thrive on the complexity of clickstream data as a way to keep the conversation about the media. They go to great lengths to prove that their medium works. Digital display ad vendors show you how conversions are higher after customers see a series of engaging banner ads that literally demand attention (to get them out of your way). Paid search vendors want you to focus on keyword matching tactics and plans to throw a wide net to grab prospects as they shop online.
Take control. Connect all this clicking behavior to the customer database. I look at the subsequent sales of online customers when I evaluate marketing effectiveness. My approach looks at three-, six- and twelve-months after the conversion. Here's the template:
I connect everything I know about my online marketing to this template. Sure, I still care about open rates, clickthrough rates, revenue per click, viewthrough rates, return on ad spend and all of that. I can add data that vendors can’t when I evaluate the effectiveness of online programs because I can access the customer database such as:
- Whether the customers are new to the brand, new to a category, new to this channel
- How much customers spend on their conversion and whether they used a coupon
- Where customers are coming from, what they clicked or searched on prior to landing on my site
- How much clicking went on before the conversion (which can be substantial in b2b)
When I look at revenue, I almost always break it down to subtract ad costs, discounts, cost of goods and so on to arrive at net margin.
Let me be fair to vendors. The good ones are curious about what’s working and you’re bringing them a way to see what happened after the conversion, so I do share % new and subsequent sales numbers. In return, I want them to come back to me with data-driven recommendations. Out of all the clicks, I’m looking for customers that will become loyal to my brand, and that includes buying offline when the vendor doesn’t get a commission.
About the Author: Roy Wollen is president of Hansa Marketing Services and an expert in database marketing as well as marketing performance management.
With his prior roles at Database Insight, Inc. and Direct Marketing Technology/Experian, Roy brings over 20 years of analytics and marketing systems experience to clients in numerous industries.
Roy has a Master of Science degree from Northwestern University's Integrated Marketing Communications program and is an adjunct professor at DePaul University in Chicago. Contact Roy Wollen at firstname.lastname@example.org.