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Complex Customer Journey

A marketer's opportunity

· marketing

We wish you attribution and a Happy New Year!

“Busy sidewalks. Dressed in holiday style.” It may have seemed less busy in the stores this holiday season, but not because purchases weren’t being made. With $125.5 billion spent, online and mobile shopping made a major impact on 2019 holiday shopping, leaving the stores just a little more manageable with fewer crowds. Numerous studies by mobile eCommerce statistics predicted a shift over the upcoming years of how mobile traffic could surpass desktop shopping trends. With this increase, shopping at brick-and-mortar traffic may have just shifted online. According to this year’s Adobe’s 2019 shopping trends report, it sure looks like it.

This report has some great insights for retailers to plan and shift their MarTech budgets if they hope to stay ahead of the trends. It's true, desktop device shopping garnered the lion’s share of the revenue spent during this year’s Black Friday, but what I find most interesting and concerning is the growing mobile traffic source. This stat from over a trillion visits to 4,500 retail sites highlights what we as marketers have known for some time ... the consumer journey continues in complexity.

Due to the rapid growth of tools and data, it is no surprise that businesses are struggling to access and properly analyze the data. A marketplace with such complexity comes uncertainty, and uncertainty begets fear. It is sourced that 40% of today's marketers lack a reliable attribution strategy for customer touchpoints. From these recent studies, to be successful in retail (whether brick-and-motor, ecomm-based, or a combination of both), retailers must cater to mobile as an impactful channel to their bottom line.

Here's the real challenge. This research just proves traffic, not the conversion of that traffic to a retailer ... only in the aggregate. This is an industry trend ... not your business' competitive research. We as marketers have the responsibility to determine attribution to conversion for ours and our clients' products. It is more complex than assuming that shoppers are researching and/or purchasing products from home and in-store for your business, too. We must continue to accept this complexity, not fear it. Knowing who our customer is not only helps us find new ones like them but also gives us the opportunity to develop deeper relationships with the ones we have. The data is available.

If you don't have an attribution strategy or feel yours is not as successful as you would like, keep it simple. Get started ... again if necessary. Here are a few tips:

1. It should go without saying, but I'll say it. Have a trusted single analytics collection tool. If you don't trust your data, what's the point. Tag, tag, tag, conversion points.

2. Collect data from as many channels as your data repository allows. (Not everyone can afford/or needs a data lake. Sometimes a pond will due.) Use this library to begin that collection.

4. Every time a conversion happens, store that cookie into your CRM or save it to your own database.

5. Develop models to analyze samplings of that data to come up with hypotheses on attribution. Test those hypotheses against new data as it arrives.

6. If this is beyond your skill-set, grow your team with a subject matter expert. That role pays for itself in return.

7. Finally, if you aren't gleaning relevant insights on our customer's digital journey, stop spending your marketing and tech budgets immediately. Don't gamble with those budgets you fought for. Take your learnings and try again. 

In my experience, I've seen attribution of the customer journey evolve. Marketing used to be a gut play. No more. It is a dog eat dog world of data today. With research (free research even) out there giving us a vision into the future, there is no reason all marketers can not get ahead of this. Be a student of this research. Be a student of data.

Sharpen your pencils. And ... go.

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