Direct Marketing Attribution: Passes, Catches and Dots
So some of the credit (ROI) that direct marketers may relinquish when other channels provide assists to their conversions is recouped when it becomes apparent how much influence their campaigns have on conversions that take place elsewhere.
3. Connecting the Dots
It's obvious that unless direct marketers can connect the dots between individuals who receive their campaigns and those who convert elsewhere, attribution management cannot take place.
A way to do this via direct mail is to include an ID code on every mail piece that is unique to the individual as well as to the campaign. Within the direct mail offer should be a call to action that provides incentive for the recipient to provide that ID code when responding to the campaign; whether it be online, via phone, or in-store. The incentive could be an extended warranty, a discount, a product registration or Web-based management of accounts. When the recipient of the campaign responds through the company's website, the cookies associated with any previous online activity (searches, views of display ads, website visits, etc.) will be recognized and captured by the website—where the recipient will be prompted to enter her unique ID; thereby, connecting her online activity (recorded in the cookies) to the direct mail activity (designated by the ID). This enables attribution.
If the direct mail recipient responds by phone or in-store rather than online, an additional step must be taken to connect the dots. The inbound telesales rep or checkout clerk at the store can ask customers for their unique IDs using the same incentive posed on the piece,and record that ID as part of the transaction. The additional step must then be inserted into the process to drive that customer back to the website—perhaps via an email confirmation sent by the telesales rep requiring the recipient to click a "Confirm" button to get a warranty or discount or her product. Or perhaps the cash register receipt is printed with instructions to go online and enter the ID code to claim that value-add deliverable. In either case, the act of going back online will associate all her previously cookied online activities with the transaction associated with the unique ID from the original direct mail campaign.