November 05, 2014

Hillstrom's Diagnostics: The Problem With Campaigns

Do you see the image on the cover of Hillstrom's Diagnostics - available soon from an Amazon website near you?

That's the Snake River - my favorite river, if I may be so bold. It begins near Yellowstone National Park, hops across Southern Idaho, forms part of the border between Oregon and Idaho, defines a portion of Southeast Washington State, then merges with the mighty Columbia River at The Tri-Cities.

Here's the thing with the Snake River. You can stand near Twin Falls (where the image on the cover of the book was taken), look down, and surmise that "all is good". Looking at the Snake River in Twin Falls is a lot like evaluating an omnichannel campaign.

However, salmon born in the Snake River exit into the Pacific Ocean nearly a thousand miles away in Astoria, Oregon. There, salmon feed endangered Resident Orca Pods (J, K, and L). In recent years, there aren't nearly enough salmon to feed the endangered Orca Pods, causing greatly reduced numbers.

In other words, you can do everything right in Twin Falls, and you can measure that you're doing everything right. And yet, the outcome, in Astoria, is lousy, causing an endangered species of Orca whales to become even more endangered.

Such is the case with omnichannel marketing strategies.

The vast majority of our measurement techniques are campaign-centric, like looking at the Snake River in Twin Falls. We measure what happens at a point in time, in one location. We do not measure the impact on the total ecosystem, do we?

In retail, omnichannel is slowly killing store performance - the exact opposite of the desired outcome. Our digital marketing tactics cause customers to sit at home, browsing, not traveling to a store to shop. Worse, when the customer shows the slightest interest in buying something, we exhibit no patience for the online-to-retail experience to happen. Instead, we demand that the customer empty that shopping cart into a viable purchase transaction - now - NOW! That has to happen online, further decreasing the in-store buying opportunity.

After a decade to training the customer to sit at home and shop, is it any wonder that we're fretting about foot traffic in stores?

Hillstrom's Diagnostics help the retailer, cataloger, or e-commerce maven to understand if there are specific productivity issues or new+reactivated customer issues. Across forty companies during the past two years, these two issues (merchandise, new+reactivated customers) are the dominant challenges facing my clients. The booklet will help you diagnose your specific problem.