July 21, 2009

Multichannel Forensics And Online Marketing

During the dog days of summer, we're going to explore some of the unique challenges that online marketers face when measuring business performance.

One of the biggest challenges online marketers face is conflicting metrics. For instance, this article suggests that Starbucks and Dell greatly benefit from their social media efforts. That sounds good, of course, until you realize that Starbucks is struggling mightily, suffering from a 75% drop in profit in the first half of the most recent fiscal year. In the case of Dell, they are about to be passed for second place in computer market share by Acer.

So did Social Media help these companies stem what would have been even bigger declines? Or do the metrics in the article fail to measure reality? It's hard to know the truth, we cannot easily separate out the positives and negatives.

In online marketing, we constantly face these challenges. We work really hard to improve conversion rates, we'll make ten or fifteen improvements, only to learn that we have metrics to prove that the improvements made a difference --- but actual annual sales and profit did not increase.

For the remainder of the summer, we're going to couple our Gliebers Dresses story with a series on Multichannel Forensics and Online Marketing. In some ways, we'll explore how the concepts in the book Moneyball apply to online marketing --- we'll talk about how our metrics and KPIs and dashboards give us information that isn't always aligned with the business results we're seeing. We'll talk about how we might use tools like Multichannel Forensics to give us insight into what is actually happening.