In a world of multichannel marketing, and as more dollars shift into digital marketing, it is important that brands genuinely understand where their marketing is having the most effect.

However, while the impact of individual campaigns can be measured down to the level of clicks and impressions in micro moments, organisations still struggle to move beyond limited first click and last click attribution models.

Ultimately, relying on this data alone is at best limited and at worst troublesome. It’s also the first part of a two fold problem.


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The next step is obvious but challenging – attributing value to the various elements of a campaign to better understand how much each channel and activity contributed to success.

First and last click models obscure the true ROI of the multitude of customer touch points. Without the right tools, marketers are forced to rely on limited data that paints, at best, a fragmented picture of the customer journey. And other touchpoints which contribute to an ultimate buying decision remain obscured.

Missing out on this insight can mean unknowingly under or over valuing certain touchpoints and prevents an understanding of what customers really value.

For instance, activities which may seem less effective on their own, might actually be more valuable as they work together with other elements of a campaign. In other words, one plus one is more than two.

Take display advertising and TV, for example. Both traditionally tough to measure and seemingly having little effect in isolation. However, as part of a wider campaign, and recognised as such in a customer journey, the channels can be quite effective as their overall impact amplifies the rest of the campaign.

Marketers need an ability to understand the interactions and what part they play in the equation. Ultimately this affects how they view their customers and improved insights can then better direct the ongoing marketing mix.

However capturing and understanding that information requires a more holistic approach than many marketers are currently able to access. And while many are unable to capture this data, even fewer are able to utilise it effectively – the second part of our two-fold problem.

Use the data

Indeed it is not enough to capture the data. After all, what use are customer insights if they lay dormant in a system? Or are unable to be manipulated, understood and leveraged in a timely way – either held up by lack of analytics resources or multiple systems – or by an algorithm that doesn’t give quite the right guidance.

Improvement only comes when organisations show a willingness and technical ability to make these insights actionable.

That is no easy task, particularly at scale. Fortunately, emerging digital technology is making this process easier and more accessible.

Machine learning and AI are expected to have a profound impact on business, including the marketing department. In fact, the technology already underpins several platforms today, quickly reducing the need for marketers to become data and IT experts.

SAP Marketing Cloud uses machine learning and AI to help collate and analyse the otherwise overwhelming amount of data collected during a customer journey. Not only does this reveal where customers see value, and therefore where the greatest ROI is occurring, it also allows for delivery of more personalised and timely marketing activities, ultimately enhancing customer experience.


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The business outcomes quickly flow, according to Forester research which found the SAP platform can produce incremental gains almost immediately. A composite company of those analysed in the study could increase average order value by five per cent, improve email conversion rates by 40 per cent, and reduce costs by 40 per cent as a result of consolidating disparate marketing systems into the single SAP Marketing Cloud solution. This composite organisation, with a large customer database, could triple its ROI over three years.

Ultimately, with more insights available and actionable, crafting personalised multichannel experiences at scale becomes a reality.

About The Author

SAP is a is a corporate member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.

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