The “Year of Mobile” is the marketing industry’s unicorn: fiction. Mobile has been mainstream for a while, but marketers are finally starting to acknowledge it as the core advertising pillar that it truly is. Consumers continue to interact with brands in more ways than ever, while their path to purchase is less linear than ever. Tracking the digital user experience across the various touch points and marketing channels remains a challenge, but one that many marketers think they have already overcome. The scary truth is that many are actually overlooking one of the biggest marketing channels, and in doing so, are abandoning their customers.
Most marketing teams have at least one solution in place to manage the digital map of their customers: marketing automation software and analytics platforms. Solutions like Marketo or Pardot and tools like Google Analytics and Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud are in place to track every step that goes into your ultimate goal: the conversion. Downloading a whitepaper, submitting a Web form, installing an app, completing a shopping cart check-out: Everything is covered. As a smart marketer with smart tools, you know which channels are driving these conversions, and you’re investing your resources in the best possible way to maximize ROI. Except actually, you’re not. Not even close.
Of all the sample conversion examples above, something pretty big is missing. Something major. Something that is growing at a meteoric rate thanks to the proliferation of mobile: the inbound call channel.
Consumers typically research online, but for big ticket purchase items, talk is the most powerful form of interaction. Conversations lead to conversions, as consumers want to speak with a human and have their concerns addressed before they commit their dollars. For large brands that sell big ticket items, highly qualified inbound calls have always been the most valuable lead source.
The widespread adoption of mobile devices has brought big change and opportunity for the call channel, thanks in part to the huge growth in mobile searches that often result in inbound phone calls. This has brought the importance and value of calls to a whole new set of marketers in the local, SMB and B-to-B space. According to Google’s Mobile Playbook, 70% of local mobile searches result in a phone call.
While your existing toolbox likely has a number of solutions and products to track a user’s digital footprint, what happens when a consumer picks up the phone to close the deal? The digital path that led them to make that purchase is crucial in effectively and thoroughly managing your marketing strategy. But it’s equally important, if not more so, to track when they hop off the digital grid to make that call to purchase. Without a smart inbound call strategy, you are abandoning your customers when they are most ready to buy. A 2013 report by Gartner Research, “Cool Vendors in Mobile Marketing 2013,” emphasizes this: “The foundation for any good mobile marketing strategy includes platforms, analytics and the ability of a brand or service provider to tie online and offline worlds via mobile devices.”
With IT spending and marketing tools consuming a larger portion of a CMO’s budget, now is the time for marketers to refresh their mindset. Clicks and downloads are important, but they are just two pieces of the puzzle. Opportunity is calling and you need the right tools and data to manage both the digital and offline footprint of your consumers—or else say goodbye to your most valuable customers.
Eric Holmen joined RingRevenue as CMO in May 2013, after being SVP of marketing and sales at Silverpop and president at SmartReply. His career spans more than 20 years of bringing breakthrough marketing technology to market, fast.