Direct response marketing is moving in a new direction—one that requires the use of big data. Media channels that once fell into distinct categories such as “traditional” and “digital” have merged to become omnichannel, with multiple touchpoints. In other words, the average consumer needs to be “touched” five to seven times by marketing messages before they buy, and the marketer needs analytics on each of these touches. Fittingly, the roadmap to ROI follows highways of big data.
For the DR marketer, this means that the days of decision-making based on siloed information are over. Experience and intuition will always contribute to great leadership, but platforms built years ago are no longer as useful as they once were. Omni Direct COO Denira Borrero says that brand clients can leverage the DR model not only to access lower media rates, but also to capture response at the airing level, using real-time response rates as true leading indicators of a brand’s long-term success. “Branding media is extremely important to develop surround sound on a brand for recall, recognition, and extending a brand’s lifecycle for continuity and at retail,” she says, adding that the DR model provides data at a nuanced response level for shorter-term adjustments.
Historically, marketing data has provided demographic and psychographic information for marketers to target audiences with product offers and value propositions. Now it is more important than ever to have the ability to correlate multichannel marketing initiatives with real-time results to allocate marketing dollars effectively. But data flows in many directions, and performing analytics is becoming more difficult.
Data is the most important currency today, next to currency itself.
-Monica Smith, CEO of I.Predictus
Bigger and Better
Data defined as “big” addresses the intersection and use of every channel—including television, radio, digital, social, and brick-and-mortar retail. Privacy issues affect how data is shared. When analyzing information captured at retail, the task can bemore difficult since many retailers fail to provide real-time information, causing marketers to fall behind on stock-to-sale ratios. “In today’s omnichannel commerce environment, it’s essential to track the various data points related to your campaign,” says Kris Johnson, senior vice president of the analytics firm Delivery Agent. “Marketers can no longer just look at call and Web volume; they also must account for social footprint, overall brand activity, and timing. Without reviewing all of the available data, companies will not be able to optimize their marketing efforts and grow revenue.”
One challenge is identifying technology that can provide and integrate data in the most meaningful fashion, correlating all analytics to the bottom line, and relating all subsets to the whole. “Data is the most important currency today, next to currency itself,” says Monica Smith, CEO of I.Predictus. “Living in a post-analysis, unstructured, and unsecured data environment should not be acceptable. Modern technologies and practices must be the standard, and current ROI models must be challenged. In today’s commerce-now environment, if you want to know which marketing efforts, tactics, and campaigns are delivering dollars to the bottom line, you need today’s most advanced tools [to] get an integrated story of marketing performance—and that’s the real key to unlocking ROI.”
The ability to aggregate information for best-in-class branding is crucial. Big data has been particularly useful for predictive analytic tasks, such as identifying potential customers who are similar to one’s best customers. An application called PlaceCodes provides simple links that marketers embed in social media; consumers click or tap to find convenient points of sale and access targeted offers. In addition to driving brick-and-mortar commerce, the app collects and mines location-specific data that brands can use to optimize offers, marketing investment, and distribution. The goal, PlaceCodes CEO David Ingerman says, is to provide CMOs with a way to make sense of large amounts of data, and use it to maximize profits while delighting customers.
Determining how big data can support branding on TV, online, email, or social media can help set realistic expectations for ROI, and capturing that data relies on the most sophisticated tools. By capturing big data in real time, the CEO, COO, CTO, and CMO can all cross-reference and redefine ROI modeling. Transactional marketing, whether traditional or digital, has one objective: conversion. And in DR, the secret in the sauce is no longer just the message; it’s also big data.