Measure Your Integrated Marketing Campaigns
Believe it or not, I start each day on Twitter. I comb through a lot of comments, learning that folks are enjoying oatmeal for breakfast or finding out that social media will replace TV as the No. 1 form of media by 2011. Last week, I read a tweet from a company promoting integrated marketing campaigns.
Integrated marketing campaigns are vexing to me. The concept is simple: Use catalog, email, social media, newspaper and radio ads, and whatever else you want to communicate a common and consistent message to consumers. Maybe November is “Widget Month” at your brand. Therefore, your November catalog features widgets; your email campaigns feature widgets; your homepage displays the widget theme and so on.
We're told that we should execute integrated marketing campaigns because they outperform all other marketing campaigns. We're also given convincing metrics to prove that integrated marketing campaigns work. A recent survey I saw, for example, found that email clickthrough rates were 27 percent better in an integrated campaign and catalog response was 9 percent better when email supported a catalog mailing.
Think of integrated marketing campaigns as being like Thanksgiving dinner. After all, who doesn’t enjoy Thanksgiving dinner? Know why? Well, the food is technically “integrated.” You have turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, maybe even pumpkin pie. You eat a lot on Thanksgiving, don’t you? We believe that this family of dining opportunities works together to support Thanksgiving as an event.
And if you measure success based on how much you eat, you’ll come to believe that Thanksgiving represents a successful integrated event.
Now let me ask you a question: If you measure your food consumption based on the three days prior to Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day and the three days after Thanksgiving, did you truly eat more than you ate in any other seven-day period?
Let me ask you one more question: If your Thanksgiving Day dining habits were replicated every day of the year, how would your health change?
We generally know the answers to both questions. After eating more than any rational person should eat on Thanksgiving Day, we diet. We know we can't eat that way every day or we'll suffer serious health consequences.
This is the problem we face when considering integrated marketing campaigns. We tend to measure the event, sort of like measuring consumption on Thanksgiving Day.
When you measure return on investment, you need to measure not just Thanksgiving Day, but every day. It may well be that integrated marketing campaigns are best for your business. But you won’t know that until you go beyond measuring only the period encompassed by the integrated marketing campaign.
Measure ROI across an extended period of time — monthly, quarterly, six-month season, annually. When you extend the length of time required for measurement, you frequently see that marketing campaigns fail to make a dent in long-term customer behavior.
None of this argues for or against integrated marketing campaigns. Rather, this week's column encourages you to accurately measure ROI. By extending your measurement period, you gain a more accurate view of customer behavior.