Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Making the Clickless Clickable

Unlike TV, not all Channels are Digital!
Making the Clickless Clickable

     When we try to track the performance of a business with a digital presence, we tend to look at the purely digital side of analytics. This is an obvious choice as activity on a website, mobile app, social media forum, etc., is inherently digital. This certainly lends itself to analysis systems. When we speak of multi-channel analytics, the tendency is again to lean toward the digitally available channels.

     We should try not to overlook the other, more organic or old-school channels that lead to a conversion. Let’s face it, a business (like sales, for example) is primarily concerned with serving the customer and getting a conversion (in this example, a sale). As long as the sale occurs, the business is happy. Whether it occurs on the web, by phone from a catalog, by phone from the website or in a store, the business is going to be happy. It has to be remembered that the business wants more than the sale, though, they want to know what led to the sale (so they can keep on doing it!).

     We've all seen ads in papers, magazines, billboards or on television which tell us to “Say you heard about it here!” This is certainly one way in which businesses seek to track the effectiveness of what I will refer to as clickless advertising  Certainly this is somewhat effective, but it requires full participation of both customer and store clerk. Participation can be encouraged on both fronts by the use of coded coupons. If the customer uses a coupon with a code, the coupon must be used to get the discount. The code is entered on the cashier's terminal and the discount is applied. The system can now track a few things based on this interaction. If the code was unique to the source, you have the specific advertisement that led to the sale, you have the location of the store where the coupon was used and you have the payment type used by the customer.

     The greatest goal (Holy Grail) in this arena would be to turn clickless advertisements into clicked ones. ISIS is already doing this:

      ISIS is only available in certain areas and on some phones at this time so, for now, it is a limited resource. On the other hand, most of us carry phones and more and more of these are smartphones. The QR code is a perfect solution for capturing the needed data.

You see an ad in the paper, magazine, train, theater playbill or even on TV. The add announces that you get an additional 10% off for scanning the QR code. Scanning the QR gets you a tracked page (analytics will track the referral source) the site returns a new QR code to the phone. This code is scanned as a coupon in the store (tons more data collected). And ISIS / ISIS-Capable smartphone was not even required!

In conclusion it is unlikely that clickless advertising will go away any time soon. While businesses are tracking the effectiveness of their clicked advertising  it will be necessary to track these offline sources in order to continue to justify their expenditures and assess their continued value in the marketplace.