Tips for Managing Attribution in an Omnichannel World, Part 1
There's no question that marketing has become infinitely more complex for retailers over the past several years. The number of potential customer touchpoints has exploded, as consumers shift how they spend their time from nondigital (TV, print) to digital channels (web, mobile, social). The upside to this complexity is that retailers have a huge opportunity to engage with customers on a much richer and more personalized basis. The downside is that it's become even more complex for retailers to measure marketing effectiveness.
As a result of these challenges, there's a lot of focus currently in the technology market on attribution solutions (see Google's recent purchase of Adometry, AOL's acquisition of Convertro). Fundamentally these solutions attempt to apply advanced analytics to massive amounts of data in order to allocate "credit" to each customer interaction in driving conversion. Deployed properly, these capabilities can help companies more precisely measure the return on their marketing investment and optimize their marketing spend across channels.
However, retailers face a unique challenge when it comes to effective attribution. Even as they significantly increase the volume of digital marketing, the vast majority of conversions still take place in-store. Let's consider the following scenario: A consumer receives an email from a retailer announcing new shoe styles for the spring season. The consumer clicks through the email to the landing page, browses the products on the page, and then leaves the retailer's website. Later that day, the consumer is spending time on one of her regular news sites and is exposed to remarketing from the retailer. The next day she decides to go to one of the retailer's store locations and makes a purchase.
In this case, although the digital marketing investment made by the retailer had a significant impact in driving the in-store conversion, these digital touchpoints won't receive any credit because they can't be tied to the in-store purchase. This is a significant challenge, as the true impact from digital marketing isn't being fully measured and therefore the level of investment can't be optimized.