Insights for 2013: Understanding Your Customers & The Full Value of Digital

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 | 10:16 AM

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We’re just a week into 2013, and we’re undeniably living in the new multi-screen age. Our day-to-day interactions with technology—and our expectations—have increased dramatically. We’re no longer content to wait until later to buy shoes or schedule travel or find a hot spot to eat. Technology lets us act now, and we expect reliable results. In fact, we’ve become so dependent on being connected all the time that 43% of U.S. adults would be willing to give up beer for a month if it meant they could keep accessing the Internet on their smartphones, and 36% said they’d be willing to give up chocolate.*

What does this mean for you? Many businesses have fallen behind consumer behavior—in a world where people look first to mobile devices and real-time streams, the digital journey has grown more complex, and it’s become more challenging to gain a clear picture of these interactions. As a marketer or analyst, your success depends on adapting to this new reality. We’re working to provide tools that let you connect the dots, so you can regain visibility into your customers’ preferences and behaviors and take advantage of the full value of digital.

Holistic Measurement: Capture the full customer experience
Your customers are active all the time and everywhere, so you should be as well. To truly win moments that matter across all screens and situations, you must acknowledge, and measure, all relevant touch-points. For example, are you running related marketing efforts across email, display, and search ads? Do you see customers performing some tasks more frequently on smartphones while other tasks are more common on laptop? Rather than evaluating these programs and behaviors separately, your measurement strategy should focus on connecting the dots between these consumer moments. Consider your overall business goals and then measure the role that each touch-point plays in achieving those goals, keeping in mind the complementary effects of multiple channels and devices.

Active measurement: Plan ahead and optimize throughout
Harnessing the power of location, intent and social connections is possible today, and smart marketers are always on, always optimized—using customer signals to create winning experiences for their brand. Active measurement is about quickly acting on the insights you uncover as you go, but more importantly, it’s about good measurement planning. This proactive piece is often overlooked, even by the savviest marketers and analysts. To effectively measure, you must define expectations about how your customer will interact with your brand before you look at the numbers. Then, question any surprising results. Is it normal or strange for your business to have a 3% conversion rate? Is it good or bad if event tracking shows that 3,000 people view a video on your homepage in a single day? Are your TV spots driving viewers to your website in Real-Time, or do you see more traffic at other times? Are you bringing together data sources and devices holistically? Active measurement means examining real human behavior and influences instead of reporting the same old data on clicks or bounce-rates.

Media-Agnostic Measurement: Give credit where it’s due
As technology usage has expanded, patterns of research and influence have become more diverse (with many consumers consulting 10 or more sources before a purchase)*—but also more identifiable. In the new digital age, it’s no longer realistic or smart to judge campaigns solely by the final interaction using a last-click model, or to think only about single-device or single-session interactions. Customers move fluidly across channels and devices. To truly understand the value of your digital investments, you have to overhaul your conversion goals to capture all the large and small behaviors that lead to business success. Once you have visibility into the customer journey, you can begin assigning credit with attribution models to determine your best channel and investment mix. Next, optimize your programs and run controlled experiments to see how you could improve your results even further. It’s an active, ongoing process.

So, make a New Year’s resolution to take a more proactive approach: consider and give credit to all the interactions in the customer journey, and act on your measurement insights. Throughout 2013 we’ll be sharing practical advice to help you dive in and join your customers in the always-on world. Good luck!