Tracking Integrated Marketing: A ‘Big Data’ Challenge

Integrated marketing seems a relatively simple concept at first glance: it means integrating your diverse marketing channels into a coordinated and coherent whole.

But if integrated (“cross-channel”) marketing were so simple, all brands would be doing it. It’s only when you fully grasp the magnitude of the order that you realize its challenges.

Big Data Challenge-BrightEdge

According to survey data reported by Econsultancy and Oracle in the “Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2014,” the biggest challenges brands face in implementing an integrated marketing strategy are a lack of resources, organizational structure (read “silos”) and understanding of the customer journey.

To phrase it another way, while most businesses embrace the concept of integrated marketing, relatively few are equipped to answer the big data challenge and actually execute and manage it.

In this post, we’ll discuss some challenges of integrated marketing as it relates to tracking as well as the metrics you can start to consider to help make sense of it all.

The Challenges of Integrated Marketing

It’s understandable that those companies that are fully equipped and truly grasp integrated marketing are among the minority. Perhaps the greatest challenge of cross-channel marketing is the sheer number and variety of channels and media involved, including:

  • Blogs
  • eBooks
  • Email marketing
  • Events
  • Presentations
  • Press releases
  • Research reports
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Social media
  • Speaking engagements
  • Videos
  • Websites
  • White papers
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Print
  • In-store marketing

This translates into a “big data” analytics problem. BrightEdge CEO Jim Yu describes it well in his column for Search Engine Watch:

With all this data, the challenge is and has been for many decades harnessing it in a meaningful way. One such way is through data integration. Data integration works to combine multiple sources of data into one place for more significant reporting and information. To better serve the needs of integrated marketers, the BrightEdge S3 platform can integrate data from Adobe SiteCatalyst, Web Trends, Coremetrics, Google Analytics and custom in-house data sources. So if it is tracked in those platforms it can be imported through an API and viewed in the reports and configurable into the custom dashboards alongside the organic search and keyword data.

Just like web marketing strategies don’t begin and end in one silo, neither do data sets from multiple networks, channels and devices. Together, they represent user behavior across the lifecycle of engagement with a brand online.

But it’s not just pulling together multiple sources of data in one place that’s the answer; it’s being able to do so in a way that yields actionable insight. With data coming from multiple places, it needs to be streamlined into a format that’s similar and comparable.

That said, streamlining data within integrated marketing campaigns requires a uniform set of components to define and track. Let’s talk about those next.

6 Essential Things to Define and Track within Integrated Marketing

Regardless of how your analytics packages report data, at the program level, there are six common areas that when defined and measured, can help paint a picture of integrated marketing performance:

  1. Target audience: This is the ideal market segment for your marketing message. This includes demographics and psychographics that help determine how the message is disseminated.
  2. Reach: This is the percentage of the target audience that is exposed to your marketing message.
  3. Frequency: This is the number of times the target audience is exposed to your marketing message.
  4. Effective frequency: This is the minimum number of exposures to your marketing message required to actually influence target audience behavior.
  5. Effective reach: This is the percentage of the target audience that receives the minimum number of exposures to affect behavior.
  6. Scope: This refers to the number of different channels through which the target audience receives your marketing message.

As a marketing professional who is taking on the task of running a cross-channel marketing campaign, you’ll want to figure out ways that your research and analytics platform can track metrics within each of the areas mentioned.

Fortunately today, enterprise-level analytics platforms have built in the ability to track multiple channels and create a single view of a campaign. Having access to this data should put you squarely on the same path as the leading brands that are paving the way with integrated marketing.

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