Many catalog marketers today struggle with accurately measuring the return on their various marketing investments. With many more customer communication channels being used it is hard to decipher what activity really drives demand. Most marketers today are using some sort of match back analysis where incoming orders during a period are matched to a mail file. Typically such analysis can lift direct source code tracking from 30-50% to 50-70%, but it is still not 90-100%. Increasingly, smart marketers are capturing web source data and attaching that information to the order file in order to do additional matchback analysis. Also, more and more, I see companies doing fractional allocation which recognizes that, just maybe, more than one marketing activity contributed to the order. Capturing the web source data and continuing the match back process using that data recognizes that some orders…probably a growing percentage of orders if you are doing a good online marketing job….are coming from SEO/SEM activity and have nothing to do with any offline marketing activity like mail. More often than not, however, I see that marketers are surprised to see that orders are associates with mail activity rather than online activity….as strange as that may sound to some. This is particularly true if the marketer assumes that a proprietary brand or product online search or direct entry of a branded URL was created from offline marketing spend. This would seem logical. Another point of confusion is PPC where searchers click on a paid ad versus an organic listing after a proprietary search. How much of the resulting order is attributable to the PPC spend versus the proprietary search? These are the types of questions that arise…and there are no right answers, just good judgements. The best methodologies I have seen make deploy good judgements and then track over time. Remember, changes in relative performance versus absolute performance are informative and actionable. The biggest mistake I see is doing nothing because marketing teams can not agree of what to do. Usually that discussion is more about finding out what is wrong with any particular evaluative process versus focusing in on what is right with it. There are also several interesting intelligence by-products from this analysis, not the least of which is realizing that PPC results vary greatly depending on what you, or your competitors, have in the mail and the resulting mix of search terms/traffic. This is certainly an area of performance that warrants a full day of discussion. I am too often amazed that millions of marketing dollars get spent with only a small fraction, often less than 2%, spent on measuring the ever changing return on such investment. To me this is as fundamental as RFMPC – recency, frequency, monetary, product and channel analysis – but few are doing it right. It seems we are all too busy “doing” and not spending enough of our collective brainpower on the “thinking”. As always, if you would like to talk more about this issue….or any other that is drively you crazy….please email me. firstname.lastname@example.orgTerence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221
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