Digital marketing has many pros and cons. On the one hand, omnichannel efforts are great for reaching customers practically 24×7; on the other, marketers often forget that other forms of advertisements exist and can be effective. It’s also easy to become complacent when it comes to digital marketing. This form of advertising should work; people go online, see an ad, get a digital coupon, and off to the store they go. Or, even better, thanks to geolocation, shoppers can get special offers if they go online while in the actual brick and mortar store. These are all great ideas, and should be gaining a lot of interest, right? Well, according to a new study, marketers may want to double-check the effectiveness of their omnichannel digital marketing campaigns.
Creating an omnichannel experience for the customer is a goal most marketers share. Delivering consistent branding and shopping experiences to consumers across platforms is bound to get them in the store and making purchases. Unfortunately, according to a new survey and report from Netsertive and the CMO Council, that’s not actually the case; marketers may not know as much about their customers as they think. In the survey, “189 senior marketing leaders with organizations that currently sell products through a physical retail channel” were asked about their omnichannel strategies. Respondents were brands that sell primarily through third-party retailers (e.g., appliance brand that sells via third-party appliance retailer).
When asked which media channels are most critical to a successful campaign, the respondents said:
- Digital advertising (generally) — 60 percent
- Corporate websites? — 56 percent
- Mobile — 54.4 percent
- Social media channels — 51.2 percent
- Email — 47.2 percent
- Local in-store engagement and promotions — 40 percent
- Live events — 24.8 percent
- Local retail partners and resellers — 22.4 percent
- Television advertising — 21.6 percent
- Digital video? — 19.2 percent
- Traditional print advertising — 19.2 percent
- Direct mail or printed inserts — 16 percent
- Radio advertising — 8.8 percent
- Partner websites and social channels — 8 percent
Since 94 percent of respondents said that omnichannel “is either important or critical to reaching their business goals,” it comes as no surprise that 60 percent agreed that digital advertising is most important for a successful campaign. However, these companies seem to be experiencing a disconnect when it comes to knowing how well digital advertising actually gets customers into stores. They also seem to miss that digital and offline retail experiences need to coincide, with 88 percent of brands not considering local retail partners to be critical allies in achieving business outcomes. In fact, only 7 percent of marketers believe they are fully aligned with local partners.
So, if marketers aren’t working well with local partners, they should at least be actively measuring campaign success, right? Well, according to the survey, less than 25 percent of brand respondents are using tools such as Google Store Visits, FourSquare or LiveRamp to measure the impact of digital on offline commerce. Without the right tools, marketers cannot get the right numbers. Sure, brands can spend more money to drive in-store visits and engagement, but what’s the point if they don’t know how successful that spending is? What if a brand is spending thousands of dollars on digital marketing, and it’s not really doing anything? They’d have no idea they need to change their tactics, and all that money will continue to be wasted.
Some brands make the argument that budget and media planning decisions are made based on perceived ROI. But, again, brands may not have an accurate picture of ROI if they’re not properly measuring offline behavior. According to the report, “42 percent of marketers admit they are struggling to measure the impact of digital marketing efforts specific to their ability to drive in-store sales and engagements. And, while 23 percent are using third-party tools like Google Store Visits or FourSquare Attribution, few measurement options are in play, with only 3 percent tracking e-receipts, 6 percent tracking in-store redemption of promotional offers delivered via digital channels, and 10 percent tracking digital coupon redemption.”
Realistically, this means that ROI can’t be properly estimated, and marketers who don’t use the right tools really have no idea how successful their omnichannel, digital marketing is. Omnichannel is all about putting the customer first and making the shopping experience as easy as possible. Brands can’t do that if they don’t have a clear picture of what’s really going on.
To help remedy the situation, the report makes a few general recommendations to brands. First, it suggests thinking beyond the digital channels you can measure and control today. Then, consider the impact that a cohesive brand-to-local marketing strategy could have on bridging the gap in the customer experience. Also recognize that overlooking local retail as a critical element of an omnichannel strategy will result in lost customers and sales. And finally, focus on customers’ purchasing behaviors; this will help better align the digital and physical elements of an omnichannel strategy.
With these changes in place, brands can actually start putting customers first, and effectively measure the success of their efforts.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
This article was originally published at Madmarketer.com, by author Alicia Young .