Thursday, April 12, 2012

Content is Not A Device nor a Channel

What contributes to conversion?

The other day there was a good post on multichannel attribution on Occam's Razor that covered three different ways to think about the problem: Stimulus to Store, Screen Experience, and Channel Usage.  Each approach answers different questions and throws up unique sets of challenges.  Given that attribution analysis often results in the allocation of marketing spend to silos we continue to reinforce the bad habit of thinking in ways that consumers don't.  The examples in the post of changing channels and switching devices along the path to purchase reinforce this notion.  It also makes the case that the problem may actually be intractable in the long run because we simply don't know who the person is.

So, if that line of thinking is a potential red herring is there another question to consider?  Maybe we should think more about what consumers are consuming rather than how they are doing it since it is a given we should be creating content for multiple channels and devices. Shouldn't we be more interested in the fact that a person might be looking for aspiration, deals, feeds & speeds, or validation than what version of an operating system he uses? 
  • Emotional content sparks interest and satisfies need and can be in the form of TV, print or branded content reached thru organic search.
  • Promotional content satisfies the need to 'get a deal' and reduce the risk of trial and can be a direct response email, coupon code aggregator, or store flyer.
  • Informational content provides the rational basis for defending a decision be it a feature-laden fact sheet or 3rd party comparison report.
  • Communal content provides the validation of other people be it reviews on an e-commerce site or a quick response to a Tweet. 
A segmentation strategy based on content consumption habits is likely to be more useful to a marketer than delivery preferences. To be sure, this is not how most attribution discussions go but in reality both channels and devices are simply delivery vehicles for content. 

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