Opinion: Traditional marketing in the digital age

The author prescribes five steps to measure ROI on non-digital advertising.

Mar 14, 2018 05:30:00 AM | Article | Shivakumar Ganesan Share - Share to Facebook

Good marketing is not just about great ideas and stories. It’s all about the moolah -- how many customers you gain and how many sales you deliver. That said, marketers are constantly looking for ways to measure and increase ROI. While the digital age has provided marketers with the right tools to create and measure campaigns, could the same be said about traditional marketing techniques? As India sees nearly 500 million internet users (second largest consumer in the world), marketing spends on digital channels have increased by 20 percent, according to industry estimates. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of the Indian population is yet to even be online.

Which is just as well, as a recent study by Radiocentre and Ebiquity prove that marketers are overestimating the effectiveness and value of online media compared to more traditional forms like Radio, TV, etc.

One of the biggest selling points of the digital medium is its accountability. You can invest, measure, and understand who exactly you reached out to. Mainline advertising still continues to take away a chunk of marketing funds.

So, how do you measure RoI as non-digital advertising continues to reign the world?

#1 Ask the customer

A simple customer poll is sometimes all it takes to find out where they heard about you, and which marketing strategies worked. You can gather these insights either at the beginning of the relationship (at the time of enquiry or purchase) or even after they are onboard. Customer survey data is often the most obvious yet underutilized resource that a business has.

#2 Monitor all your campaigns and revenue

A more straightforward method to tracking RoI, statistics are effective to prove if a campaign worked or not.

But what about multi-channel campaigns. Today, ad buys happen across digital, radio, TV, billboards, etc. What if you can monitor the call to action as a separate entity across each of the mediums involved? While this calls for intricate planning and collaboration across avenues, this still gives you the best opportunity to measure a campaign’s last touch.

This, combined with the customer survey data gives you a bird’s eye view of the number of touch points needed to make an impact.

#3 Use trackable unique phone numbers in your ads

Call tracking is another fail-safe method to know your RoI. If your call to action (CTA) is a call or a missed call, using virtual numbers allow you to track them closely. For instance, when a leading automobile company did a pan-India print campaign for their newly launched bike, all the dealer numbers listed in the ads were trackable virtual numbers.

Using these numbers helped them realise that nearly 70% of the calls were missed by the dealerships. You can only measure what you track.

By measuring the response rate and simultaneously curating a database of potential customers, they were able to ensure the calls were answered from the dealership’s end.

#4 Use unique landing pages or QR codes

Similar to that of assigning a phone number, a unique landing page or a QR code is a combination of traditional as well as digital methods. The campaign could lead visitors with the QR code directly to the domain or social profile or even a download. These “hits” can then be easily traced back to the ad, which can then be added to data reports to compare.

#5 Watch the social chatter

Customer experience is everything now. And social chatter is another thing to look out for. If your campaign has been effective in influencing your customers emotionally, you can see a rise in people tweeting or posting about the ad. With the rise of dual-screening (audience using their mobile phones at the time of listening/ viewing something on another medium), businesses can count on this as another method to track their gains. You can even compare and correlate with search relates before, after, or during the ad/ campaign to see if it has made any impact.

Ideally, these behavioral and statistical approaches are the best way forward to measure return on investments (RoI) for non-digital marketing campaigns. However, clear goals at the beginning of the campaign and consistency at the end of it, are key to monitor your RoI. With specific metrics in mind, an exhaustive report that’s compiled and compared every month or quarter will help to know exactly where you’re getting the most.

(The author is the CEO and co-founder, Exotel, a cloud telephony platform)


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