B-to-B insights: 57 Channels (And Nothin On?)
This 1992 Bruce Springsteen song (sans the question mark) referred to the boom in cable TV back in the day. But at the rate marketing channels are popping up, it soon may apply to direct selling.
You've heard that when you engage customers through multiple channels, you incrementally increase their loyalty and sales. Intuitively this makes sense, but measuring it's a different matter.
When one CEO added an outbound phone sales staff, he eagerly watched the stats for each sales rep rise month over month. His new team was hitting its targets, but sales weren't growing as fast as the reps' bonuses. He didn't know whether he really was increasing sales beyond normal growth patterns or just paying more for those sales.
In a test, he sought to determine the effect of the outbound effort. As he hoped, some of the phone reps increased sales by solid double digits and more than paid their way. Unfortunately, other reps actually decreased sales. Overall, the addition of the outbound team was positive, but not nearly as good as the growth charts on the call-center wall had indicated.
Marketers are good at micro testing — measuring the effects of lists, offers and copy within the confines of one promotional stream. Apply those skills to macro testing to test the incremental lift of entire channels.
There's no foolproof testing method that allows us to determine the incremental lift of every promotional channel — especially for social media and search engine optimization. There are, however, techniques to test the lift of push promotions like catalogs, outbound phone calls, emails and even pay-per-click campaigns. To do this you must control promotional activity to a specific customer segment over a given period of time.
Though most marketers have unified databases, they often don't use the same segmentation across channels.