Thursday, October 30, 2008

The real multichannel marketing challenge

I attended the Direct Marketing Association Conference and presented at the associated Direct Marketing Educator's Research Summit in early October. It seems that marketing practitioners are struggling with the entire multichannel concept. The fact is, analyzing customer responses across channels to figure out the best way to communicate with them (how many touches, over what time frame and over what channel) to drive response is not an easy task. In the first place, most firms still don't have their data from various marketing programs in one place. In the second place, the level of sophistication of data analysis needed to solve these problems is considerable. Although there are software firms out solving this problem, to a large extent the marketer must rely on response models and statistical techniques unique to the firm and requiring a comfort level with statistics that most marketers do not possess. I think this trend just reinforces the fact that marketing is becoming a more technical discipline. In terms of the educational field, I think the recent students from University programs, particularly those who have taken courses like the database course I teach, will be better prepared to meet the multichannel marketing challenge.
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