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How Traditional Marketing Evades The ROI Question – And What One Can Do To Answer It

How Traditional Marketing Evades The ROI Question – And What One Can Do To Answer It

In the age of fierce market competition, every marketer is left to deliberate on the return on investment on their marketing efforts.

The digital marketing space allows highly targeted marketing. There are dozens of tools that allow you to make sense of the data. Information like how many customers have visited our page, what part of the page caught their attention, how long did they stay on the page, how did they reach you, what is their physical location is your YouTube channel landing you views or your adwords are easily available at the click of your finger. As a result, digital marketing allows you to tweak your campaigns at little or no cost, without consuming a lot of time.

Yet, digital marketing budgets hover only between 15-20% of the entire marketing budget in India.  This means companies allocate a sizable majority of their marketing budget solely for traditional marketing methods and rely on them to create big bang impact.

Television advertising is expected to grow 11%, print 7.6% and other media (outdoor, radio and cinema) between 7% and 12%. Although digital, growing at 30%, is the fastest-growing medium in the country, its share of spending still remains relatively low compared to traditional media like print and television.

Even then, traditional marketing methods have long struggled with a set of typical challenges.

  • How many people paid attention to your billboard?
  • Did that radio ad reach as many people as you intended to?
  • Was the ad in newspaper A more effective than the one on newspaper B?
  • Is the morning slot on TV yielding a better recall as compared to the evening slot?

These challenges make traditional marketing work primarily a spray and pray approach. There is no sure-fire method to tie your leads to your marketing channel source, leading you to spend indiscriminately on all existing channels.

In other words, once your campaign is out, there is no reliable measure for your Return on Investments – whether it is for specific media vehicles and campaigns.

The problem is compounded in the case of high-value goods such as cars, motorcycles or electronics, because the dealership model adds further layers between the customer and the brand.

Think of a typical call to action in a billboard, TV or radio campaign. It says ‘Call 99873xxxxx for details today” or “Contact your nearest dealer for more information”

The Typical Process

When a customer calls as a result of one of these campaigns, the franchisee or dealership unit captures the lead.  The dealership then shares the number of leads during or after the campaign, with the brand marketing head.

However, there is a problem.

  • There is no way to accurately record the number of inquiries.
  • If calls were missed, there is no way to track them.
  • No way of creating a database of potential customers after the marketing campaign.

According to our customers, nearly 70% of the calls from customers to dealerships are not answered during or post a marketing campaign.

Let’s wait for a minute for that to sink in. That’s a majority chunk of leads lost forever, simply because somebody did not pick up those calls.  It leaves you with a mere 30% of touch points to chase and if you are lucky, convert.

Since there is no reliable way to capture metrics, impact measurement is difficult. This, in turn, makes campaign effectiveness only slightly more than a vague guess.

How Can Cloud Telephony Help

Cloud telephony is the latest in the arsenal of tools to measure the effectiveness of each media vehicle, even traditional ones.  The solution is surprisingly simple for the scale of the problem. Cloud telephony systems attach a unique virtual number to each campaign and media vehicle.

For example, when a customer calls the dealership after seeing a print ad, his call is captured on the virtual number tied to this particular campaign. It now measures the number of unique calls received from this particular campaign. It also records all the missed calls on this number, making it a cakewalk to call back all those customers.  If it is a TV campaign that runs at 8 PM that you want to track, just assign a virtual number for this campaign. When calls come into this virtual number, we know exactly how much buzz it has created.

With cloud telephony, you can:

  • Accurately measure the response for each campaign
  • Create a one-stop database of your potential customers
  • Measure the effectiveness of various media
  • Even do A/B tests with publications, media, marketing messaging, etc.

When we decided to do a short advertising campaign on radio, we used Exotel to measure the effectiveness of the campaign. We were able to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns. We even knew exactly how many calls resulted from each campaign.

Our reports could analyse response times and frequency of calls. We knew which campaign to stop, which ones to tweak and improve and which ones to run as is – all in real time.

When it comes to business, we look at ROI for everything – human resources, real estate, equipment, tools, events.

Why should traditional marketing vehicles be left out of this scrutiny, when all it takes is a little-masked number at your disposal?

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.