Data Driven: Online 'Cousin' Metrics
It used to be so simple, didn't it? We mailed, we tested, we measured, we refined. Good spreadsheet and analytical skills were necessities for every direct marketer. Our ability to compare this year's data with that of years prior was easy to do, of paramount importance and valid without a shadow of a doubt.
But like the movie title, "That Was Then, This Is Now," today's marketer needs to measure far more than in years past, updating and benchmarking data and creating new metrics that didn't exist a few years ago.
Defining Online 'Cousins'
It's become clear that every traditional direct marketing metric has found an online counterpart—its "cousin." The "cousin" analogy is especially appropriate for two reasons. First, cousins are part of the same family. You like them, and to a degree, you understand them. These online metrics are familiar because they are closely related to those we're accustomed to watching in our offline direct marketing efforts. Second, you may not immediately recognize the cousins you only see once a year, but once you do, you quickly become comfortable with them. In the same way, we must embrace our online "cousin" data.
Direct marketers have been quick to accept and adopt the Internet, especially anything transactional. The greatest shortcoming, however, is to assume that the only purpose of your Web site is taking orders. Creating involvement—whether emotional or relational—is better for your business. Finding and managing the right metrics to measure this involvement increases the likelihood of a more profitable customer. With this in mind, are you measuring and benchmarking the following pieces of cousin data?
• Web Site Traffic Reports: How many Web contacts have you had this year compared to last year? What happens when your mailings hit; does your mail drive Web activity? You need to evaluate this weekly and create the revenue metrics associated with traffic. Look for patterns that explain sudden increases in traffic, and find ways to convert this Web activity into sales.