New insight into online marketing has found firms in travel as well as other sectors are flying blind when it comes to attributing value to offline sales, in particular business done over the phone.
Analytics specialist ResponseTap estimates that offline channels like phone play a role in £582 million of Britain’s weekly online spend.
The ‘Off The Grid’ report, conducted by independent research companies, is based on responses from a sample of over 2,000 UK consumers and interviews with 250 marketing managers.
- 72% of marketing managers said their companies make more than a quarter of their sales over the phone, and 46% make more than half
- One of ResponseTap’s travel clients reports that the majority of sales (some 95%) are made over the phone
- One in three online shoppers say they prefer to talk to someone on the phone before buying – equating to £186m of weekly online spend in the UK
- More than half (52%) of marketers say they don’t have a complete view of how their on and offline marketing activity is driving phone sales
The proportion of shoppers who say they would rather talk to someone on the phone rises to 41% for those aged over 55.
In addition 57% of respondents said they trust retailers and service providers more when they make it easy to contact them by phone, and 56% said they are more likely to return to a retailer to buy again if they know they can talk to them on the phone.
The research found 72% of marketing managers said their companies make more than a quarter of their sales over the phone, and 46% make more than half.
Some 82% of marketers said it is important to link online marketing to offline sales, but only 78% actually link phone calls to marketing activity at the most basic campaign level.
Ross Fobian, chief executive officer at ResponseTap, said the report showed how much activity is being either not tracked or misattributed.
For example, at least twice as many sales are made when conversions made over the phone, but influenced by online marketing, are included.
“The idea that tracking only online activity gives you a complete picture of your customers is clearly a myth.
“Our analysis shows that phone calls still play a vital role in how we shop online, yet the second a customer picks up the phone they are ‘off the grid’ for most companies.
“Marketers have to understand more about who is calling them, and when and why they are calling them, if they are to accurately attribute sales and make informed decisions about their marketing spend.”
The report suggests part of the problem stems from the fact that marketing teams are often working in silos and most don’t have visibility or responsibility for phone calls.
Just 16% said their marketing team has primary responsibility for tracking phone calls. 39% of respondents said their call centre or customer service team has primary responsibility for tracking and analysing phone calls but 59% said that they’re not integrated with these teams.
Fobian added: “We’d urge marketers to think about how they can access phone call data and integrate it into their analysis of customer journeys. Those that do this will find they can better target campaigns and ultimately increase revenues.”