Attribution Management: Credit Crisis
When The Wine Enthusiast turned its focus to better attribution management last year, the benefits included saving money and finding a new way to reach customers, reports Glenn Edelman, vice president of marketing for the cross-channel seller of wine accessories, wine cellars, glassware and more.
The Wine Enthusiast signed up as one of the beta testers for Rimm-Kaufman's new attribution management software with the goal of finding out how efficient its online marketing activity was. "We had this incredible fear that for every order customers were touching every single marketing touch out there," says Edelman. The retailer's marketing efforts include catalogs, paid search, email, comparison shopping engines, affiliates and organic search.
The results of the 90-day-plus test both reassured and surprised Edelman. When 80 percent of its orders ended up having only one or two touches — with the second generally being a branded search on Google — Edelmen breathed a big sigh of relief. "The overlap wasn't as big as we'd thought it would be," he says. If a significant number of customers had been touching multiple marketing vehicles, this would have negatively impacted the retailer's ROI, he explains.
The surprising part was that for the approximate 20 percent of customers who did interact with three or more marketing touchpoints, the last click was generally an affiliate site. "That was eye-opening for us," says Edelman. Further research tracked most of those last clicks back to customers who went to Google to search for "Wine Enthusiast coupons" and wound up on an affiliate coupon site immediately before placing an order.
As a result of this research, The Wine Enthusiast bought the domain wineenthusiastcoupons.com and created its own coupon site. "I can't stop people from googling 'Wine Enthusiast coupons,' but I might as well get them to come to my site and not have to pay a commission to an affiliate," Edelman says. The money the retailer is saving in lower commission fees is being passed on to customers in the form of better savings, he adds.
The Wine Enthusiast's current attribution management focus is on trying to understand how its offline and online marketing interact.
"The Wine Enthusiast started as a catalog company, and the catalog is still a very important part of the business," says Edelman. However, because catalogs are significantly more expensive than some of the retailer's online marketing activities, it's trying to figure out which online orders are driven by a catalog and which ones would happen whether someone received a catalog or not.