The marketing industry is known for its host of conceptual models, designed over the years to simplify the complex reality of influencing consumer and purchasing behavior. You can find scores of diagrams that attempt to illustrate the phases a consumer goes through while making his purchase decision.
AIDA is probably the best-known model, and it is both loved and hated for its simplicity. It says that each consumer goes through four steps: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action, often depicted in the shape of a funnel. The AIDA model is attributed to American advertising advocate Elias St. Elmo Lewis, who back in 1898 created the slogan attract attention, maintain interest, create desire, get action. This makes AIDA one of, if not the longest-serving consumer behavior model used in modern-day marketing.
Over the last 120 years, the AIDA model has undergone many extensions and refinements, and today there are many variants in use. A nice one that also links in the concept of consumer loyalty and is worth mentioning here is the consumer decision circle created by McKinsey, which explains the consumer’s decision-making process as a circular journey with four distinct phases: consideration; evaluation (the process of researching potential purchases); the actual purchase or closure phase; and post-purchase, when consumers experience their purchased item.
Proper Sales Attribution Remains a Challenge
All of these decision models, however, neglect the fact that it is very, very hard for marketing managers to pinpoint exactly where and when the consumer’s decision process started. In other words, how did the consumer become aware of a latent need or desire before he embarked on his decision-making process and eventually bought a product? In marketing terminology, this issue is often referred to as sales attribution (or lack thereof).
How can you attribute a specific purchase or sale to a specific awareness campaign? Which advertisement made the consumer start the decision-making process that led to the purchase?
Particularly for more complex and expensive products and services, a multi-step, multi-channel purchase process is very common. This makes proper retail sales attribution pretty difficult—if not impossible—to do. Yet, to get a better ROI on your marketing investments, as a marketing manager you need to be able to attribute a sale to specific websites, media channels or out-of-home advertising spots like billboards. Only if you know where the ‘awareness’ was initially sparked inside the consumer’s mind, can you make well-founded decisions on how to spend your marketing dollars across all touchpoints. Hence the often-heard phrase: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half…”
Closing the Marketing Loop
Proper sales attribution requires a much deeper insight into your customer’s whereabouts. Sometimes this can be simple: if a consumer exclusively uses digital touchpoints that are wholly managed by the retailer’s marketing team, the trail is potentially there to follow. But it can become quite complex if you want to monitor a consumer across paid media like TV and radio commercials, or even billboards and physical marketing found throughout urban areas.
Obviously, this lack of insight is counterproductive to the retailer’s sales and marketing strategy, as there is little opportunity to gradually improve advertising campaigns when you’re not sure what’s working and what’s not. Marketers in 2018 are often still somewhat blindfolded, despite innovations in tracking tools.
Through Vynamic Demand powered by ACTV8, we’re filling in the long-standing gaps in tracking ROI, to help retailers incorporate sales attribution into their awareness and advertising campaigns right from the start. With this solution, retailers can connect with consumers across all digital touchpoints, measure the effectiveness of marketing dollars spent on each targeted promotion and touchpoint, and optimize campaigns based on real-time actionable insights. One of the unique capabilities of Vynamic Demand is that it can transfer offers and content from the TV or video instantly to the consumer’s mobile device, enabling them to purchase products seen on TV immediately online or pick-up in store later. In addition, the solution can send special offers to the mobile phones of consumers who are identified via geo-fencing in the vicinity of a store, so that they can be directed to the store in a targeted manner. This enables retailers to close the marketing loop and track the consumer’s shopping behavior from initial awareness up to actual purchase.
This “attribution tracking” is nearly invisible to the consumer, so it doesn’t distract him during the pre-purchase phase. We’re able to track consumer journeys and offer retailers 100% clarity regarding how a purchase was made, and when it can be attributed to a campaign or offer. And we’re enabling consumers to close the purchase ‘in the moment’, in a way that is more convenient, personalized and straightforward. With mobile technologies literally in the hands of the consumers, we’re helping our retail clients close the consumer decision cycle intuitively and easily, boosting conversion rates while still giving 100% demand-gen traceability!