Marketers use data analytics every day, to optimize campaign strategies and media buys, better engage with target audiences and measure effectiveness across digital channels. But what about offline marketing efforts—is it possible to take the same approach?Many marketers struggle to apply data analysis to offline campaigns, because collecting data and producing metrics is far easier with digital channels. But organizations can overcome this hurdle and gain more insight into their offline strategies with marketing data analytics.
Taking a hybrid approach to marketing
Every marketer knows a mix of online and offline marketing is important to reach a broader audience and drive brand awareness. Billboards, convention booths and other offline engagement practices can supplement digital strategies and target individuals who may not actively use online platforms like social media networks. But despite the benefits of a hybrid approach, a 2016 Vistaprint Digital survey discovered that nearly 29 percent of small to medium businesses neglect either online or offline practices.
For those who do mix online and offline campaigns, gathering data from offline efforts is more complicated and time-consuming than online campaigns. Take, for instance, compiling the names, user handles, contact information and other details from conference booth visitors. If, like India-based company mCent, your team uses pen and paper to record that data, you introduce the potential for entry errors. Furthermore, transferring that information to a digital database will be a major task unto itself.
Without accurate data, it will be all but impossible to determine how effective a marketing strategy like attending industry conventions ultimately is. So what should marketers do? In mCent's case, analysts took the information they collected and coupled it with an analysis comparing normal product adoption rates with the rate of adoption during the conference. Between the two pieces of information, mCent's marketing team had a better understanding of how effective their conference was and how much time and resources should be allocated toward events and other offline efforts.
Gaining insight into offline marketing
With a little planning and foresight, companies can avoid going to such lengths by producing metrics around their offline efforts. Going back to the conference booth example, companies can create a dedicated microsite for that particular event with a unique URL. They can then provide that link to any booth visitor while still collecting contact information. This creates a clear path for gathering data from those individuals and achieving a better understanding of how many visitors ultimately took the next step to engage the brand.
A similar strategy can be applied to other offline marketing practices, like physical advertisements. By including a unique URL or an event-specific or ad-specific promo code, businesses can draw a clearer connection between specific strategies and the level of engagement they cultivate.
The future is hybrid
With so many analytics capabilities built into digital platforms, companies should do everything they can to drive offline users online and bridge the divide between these arenas. Marketo suggests leveraging everything from GPS and beacons to radio signals to gather more information and provide more context to your offline interactions.
Connecting online and offline marketing practices into a single, cohesive strategy is what great marketing teams are already doing. If you're not sure how to leverage location data, integrate data from different sources or create a better system for entity resolution—a single customer view—reach out to us today to get started.
Written by Clarity Insights
Clarity Insights is the largest consulting company in the US that focuses exclusively on data strategy, engineering, science and visualization.