Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Multichannel Breadcrumbs Tell Us How, but Not Why

Is attribution across touch points worth pursuing?

In several recent conversations the idea of understanding the impact of different channels on consumer behavior has risen to the surface but with no clear solution.   Obviously it is hard to do or it would have been done the week after the first multichannel campaign launched.   And the usual culprit is the lack of integration of data as noted in the Forrester thread on the topic earlier this year.   

But what if by some miracle we didn't have organizational and technical silos?  The question remains as to its utility of such integration and how it should be approached.  We should probably care more about why a customer made a particular decision than how they traversed the message landscape to get there.   While "gee, I read this on email, saw an advert, and played with a game before I browsed the shoe section and then bought a book" might be interesting from a delivery point of view it doesn't help us understand why our brand or solution satisfies their need.  If we don't understand what message resonated and why then we're left with a series of breadcrumbs.  

When we can solve the integration problem we will likely turn our attention to what content they consumed - was it emotional or promotional?   Was it informational or communal?  The how part will suddenly become less interesting than the what or why parts in a world where everything is interconnected, information changes as it flows and people are the media.  Because multichannel and cross channel are distribution, publication and media constructs they don't quite reflect the consumer's point of view - they are simply tools at our disposal to help people choose.

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