Multichannel Metrics an Unfulfilled Dream

The first step in today's multichannel marketing world is to foster the development of reliable multichannel analytics. But will companies allow their marketers to do this?

In a post in Online Metrics Insider,  Akin Arikan makes some interesting observations about this very issue. In his post, "Why Did The Multichannel Marketer Cross The Road?", Arikan writes:

"AS ORGANIZATIONS CUT THEIR BUDGETS and look to justify the ROI of all projects, smart marketers are those who work across channels and coordinate metrics for a complete picture of the marketing program, not just their individual channel. So why aren't there more multichannel marketers out there? While customers are comfortable moving from the Web site to the store, marketers in the online and offline worlds aren't always comfortable crossing the road and coordinating metrics.

For some reason, companies have allowed the growth and nurture of channel silos within their organizations. For example, IT owns online and the web, the advertising group manages the brand and a separate direct response group sometimes handles traditional media.

In other words, Marketing does not have full ownership of the marketing budget, its distribution by channel or even the sales data. 

So is it any wonder customers feel the organization they buy from doesn't know who they are when they move from one channel to another? It's as if these customers were dealing with multiple organizations instead of one. And I fear, the customers have correctly assessed the situation. They ARE dealing with separate companies. 

This setup can erode the brand -- to say nothing of the loss of customer repeat business and loyalty.

In the Online Metrics post, Arikan writes:

"...many companies don't utilize multichannel metrics because their staff lacks experience."

He emphasizes the point that marketers do not have the talent to solve the multichannel analysis problem.

This may be true up to a point. 

But I contend that most marketing teams within these organizations are not empowered by their organizations to do what Arikan proposes even when they do have the talent. Uniting the tracking data and developing cost effectiveness metrics for all channels is not possible in many of today's organizations.

So lack of expertise and talent takes a distant second to the real barrier. CEOs must become more focused on creating customer driven organizations that encourage the jump across silos and enable an environment where multichannel marketers can thrive.

Marketers deserve their share of the criticism. But lack of experience comes as much from companies that block such growth with antiquated infrastructures as it does from the marketers themselves. 

In some company environments, such cross channel management by internal marketers is considered meddling or overly assertive behavior and unwelcome by the culture.

So let's move the challenge up the chain of command. 

Like a mentor once told me several years ago when we couldn't seem to solve a sticky problem. "We have searched out the problem and the problem is us." 

Posted on January 30, 2009 and filed under Direct Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing.