Cover Story: The Big Qs of 2012
2. How Do You Track and Crunch Data Across Channels?
"We are still grappling with information silos," says Reggie Brady, founder of the direct and email marketing consultancy Reggie Brady Marketing Solutions. "We have amazing information available, but ... it would be nice to easily marry the central customer database with website, social, mobile and email activity." There are tools out there that do this, she explains, but they are financially or competently unavailable to many marketers.
Russell Perkins, founder and managing director of Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based InfoCommerce Group Inc., a boutique consulting firm for information publishers, sees the same issues among his clients: "Most B-to-B information companies are drowning in information about both customers and prospects that they can't readily bring together, or sometimes even access, with so many different platforms and services typically being utilized."
However, the issue goes beyond simply storing the data. Different data points are significant in today's multichannel marketing, and interpreting the significance of things like social media engagement or a mobile purchase may require different equations than those direct marketers have relied on for decades.
"We need to recalibrate our core metric tools to better align with the new set of KPIs dictated by the age of social marketing," says Direct Marketing Association (DMA) CEO Lawrence M. Kimmel. "We need to re-engineer analytic approaches to reflect new models, like dynamic algorithm optimization, and statistical methods for social networks. They require learning new techniques. We need to identify new best practices. We need to observe and learn from industries that have become more quick and nimble in how they react to market shifts."
Brayfield offers this strategy for reconciling new consumer and business patterns with proven direct marketing intelligence: "Create customer models that map customer buying patterns rather than rely on older techniques such as pure RFM and less-than-perfect match-back processes. Also, create out-of-the-box promotions that resonate and engage customers at a new level and, by doing so, will leverage traditional marketing techniques."