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Have you heard of Channel Effectiveness? Start here.

One of the things we constantly do with our clients is attempt to answer the questions that the top performing competitors can answer today. For example, the best performing marketing departments can answer this question:

Which marketing campaign would you invest in again that didn't necessarily generate immediate revenue opportunities, but instead produced phenomenal impact in setting your sales pipe up for success by serving the early purchase cycle?

This is an important question because it demonstrates that you:

  1. Value, plan, and track content across the purchase cycle
  2. Understand your customer's purchase cycle
  3. And you have the analytics system(s) in place to rapidly report on the most important KPIs required to improve the effectiveness of your marketing spend
If you're not to the point where you can answer that question with data, that's ok. Being able to answer great questions is really a journey that we love to embark on with our clients. One of the questions we get a lot when talking to people about eHouse is "what makes you different from other digital agencies?" This is a tough question in an age where it seems like there are new shops opening each day, each striving to set themselves apart.

Channels Serve Different Purposes

A big thing that sets eHouse apart is that we have in-house strategists, in addition to our designers and developers, whose focus is to bring the business goals of our clients to life, beyond just presenting their target audiences with beautiful and functional digital experiences. One of the main areas of focus that our strategists have been working on with our clients is channel effectiveness. Channel effectiveness, in a nutshell, is a measure of the success of each channel that connects brands with their audience, and vice versa. Your Facebook page, an ecommerce shop, display ads, editorial content, or search listings are all examples of channels. Each of these channels serve different purposes for you and your customers or prospects. Understanding how each channel fits into a larger strategy is the beginning of developing a multi-channel strategy.Companies don't have to be advanced or large or have huge budgets to start thinking about channel effectiveness, nor do they need to have a dedicated marketing person to implement a successful multi-channel strategy. What is important, and what our strategists stress across the board, is that brands should be tapping into channel effectiveness data at some level and using it as an integral building block upon which to make better decisions on the how/what/why/when of reaching customers.

Explosion of Channels Demands New Approach

A decade ago when a brand wanted to reach a potential customer, they had a pretty concrete list of options. Place a print ad, make a phone call, attend a conference. With the exponential explosion of digital touch points (propelled on the back of the first iPhone release in 2007) came the creation of uncountable new channels, all promising to reach your brand's audience more effectively than the next. What was once a short list of industry norms became a sea of options, with little to no guidance on how to navigate, and more questions like the one I asked earlier, than answers. Our customers have started to realize that there is not a one-size-fits-all measure for which channels to use and when. It's largely tied to ever-changing consumer behavior shifts, industry-specific, and in many cases even brand-specific.Take the real estate industry for example. Transactions that used to involve phone and in-person conversations between clients and realtors have shifted to virtual property tours and online content assisting the process, so that when an actual person-to-person conversation takes place, the buyer or renter has likely made up their decision that they are ready to move forward. The real estate agent is an important player in a sale, but now, more than ever, he/she is acting among many other important sales and marketing tools that have their own unique parts to play.

Start Now, Take Baby Steps

Audiences are now being reached in coordinated attempts across many channels; these tactics are typically backed by an informal or formal multi-channel or omni-channel strategy. The effective, coordinated use of those channels has a huge impact on the way a site or app should be designed, built, and used; and thus, these strategies have a core role in delivering the best results possible. At eHouse, we've begun tracking foundational channel effectiveness measures through everyday systems (such as Google Analytics) for clients just starting out, as well as planning and executing full-scale strategies and campaigns that deliver unprecedented results across enterprise environments. We've helped clients put together plans to build on their capabilities here within just a few short months, all the way up to spreading spend and effort over a 5 year plan.

It's all about finding what works best for each individual client and identifying key opportunities to use the correct channels as effectively as possible. If this sounds daunting, it's really not, and we are incorporating it more and more into each project as our clients continue to advance their marketing platforms. Each brand needs to start somewhere, whether they start tweaking their content or visuals to speak more to the audience visiting their site, or they make the decision to scrap their current mobile site for a full-blown responsive build. As one of our senior strategists always says, "data is cheap, insight is expensive" and we want to continue to capitalize on a foundation of data-driven decision making.

Do you think your brand needs some guidance when it comes to measuring or acting on channel effectiveness? Drop us a line, we'd love to talk.