By Ken Magill
So, last-click attribution fails to give email it’s proper credit for the sales it drives. So what? Why should anyone care? The sales are still happening.
Well, if email is driving more sales than it’s getting credit for, then folks across all of marketing and sales should be interested in rectifying the issue.
Why? Because proper attribution clarifies how the various sales and marketing channels support one another.
For example, suppose for an offline/online retailer, email drives more bricks-and-mortar purchases than it is given credit for. Hint: It pretty much always does. Once store and district managers learn how email is helping them meet their numbers, they will enthusiastically support the company’s email program by, among other things, working harder to feed quality addresses into the system.
They also won’t grouse when the email program gets periodic upgrades because they know it will benefit them.
Also, once given closer-to-proper credit, the email team or person will be pulled into the strategy process much sooner than is currently the case at most organizations.
Too often the email team is notified of a new marketing push days before it happens and has little time to put together proper creative and strategy.
If C-level executives are made aware of the email program’s true ability to drive sales, they will take it more seriously, sink more resources into it and the result will be that email helps the other channels even more than it does in its current mostly afterthought state.
One way to demonstrate how email marketing drives sales for which it doesn’t get credit is to suppress a segment of the file and compare sales across all channels between the sent file and the suppressed file. Good luck getting management to go along with that scheme, though.
Another more palatable way to better assess email’s overall effect on sales is to simply compare sales across all channels on low-volume email days to sales across channels on high-volume days.
Very few organizations have days in which they send no email. They have high-volume days when their main campaigns go out. And they have non-campaign days when confirmation emails and triggered messages such as abandoned-cart and welcome emails still go out, but most of the file doesn’t get email. So there is always some email going out, just not as much on some days as others.
Simply get the sales figures across the organization on high-volume email days and compare them to overall sales on low-volume email days. The results will most certainly show that sales across all channels are significantly higher on high-volume email days than low-volume email days. It’s a dead-simple process that can be done with financial reports that already exist.
The trick is deciding what constitutes a low-volume email day versus a high-volume one. The difference should be significant enough that the results will be obvious, say, 20 percent versus 80 percent.
Dela Quist, CEO of email agency Alchemy Worx, uses this technique when first engaging with new clients or assisting existing clients with budget setting and has seen some eye-popping results.
“In a very recent case we looked at average day sales across non email channels when the client mailed to pretty much their whole list to average day sales on days when they sent to less than 20 percent of their list and there was a huge difference between those two numbers,” he said.
“The difference in non-email revenue between a day when everyone gets email and a day when almost nobody gets email is more than they used to attribute to email altogether,” he added.
How much more?
That’s nearly $200,000 a day more than the total daily sales for which email was getting credit. String a few of those days together and pretty soon we’re talking real money.
The next question is what to do with the information gleaned from this simple test.
We’ll tackle that in part three.