Response Rates and Conversion Rates represent two of the direct marketers and professional communicators most revered data metrics and are largely considered the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for measuring successful marketing campaigns. The shear velocity of the digital revolution coupled with advanced digital tracking technologies has armed marketers with powerful data they can use to measure campaign effectiveness and provide some basis for calculating ROI or justify marketing spends.
Clearly we have more verifiable activity based marketing data available to us today than we did as little as five years ago. But do we really know what it means or how to use it effectively?
Unfortunately, I believe a good number of marketers have become statistical spin doctors using Response Rates, Conversion Rates, marketing data, surveys and analytics to either persuade prospective clients into contractual agreements or positively support the amazing performance of the campaigns they have implemented. Strategically, this approach is similar to the CFO’s of publically traded corporations preparing financials for Wall Street to influence stock prices.
As marketers and communicators, shouldn’t we focus our attention on what influenced consumer behavior and caused the response or no response? I don’t have a PHD in behavioral science, but I am a practicing consumer and have been included in many marketers’ efforts to increase client response rates, conversion rates, SEO, opt-ins, click through and the like. And from my personal perspective, the data collection process and corresponding analytics do not represent what influenced my behavior.
Let me explain. Like most men, I am an avid researcher and buyer of gadgets, audio equipment, autos and new technologies. On the other hand my wife is an avid researcher and buyer of most anything as long as it is of high quality. We represent different and distinct consumer segments and clearly our behavior is influenced differently. Yet neither of us responds to surveys, telemarketing, email solicitation or spend little or no time on social media sites. Consequently, little meaningful data is ever collected on what influences our purchases or searches. Even more disturbing, little consideration is given as to why we have not opted-in.
Are we, as well as other important consumer segments inadvertently left out of important response data or analytics? Even more importantly, will our collective absences provide a basis for a new strategic marketing direction or product redevelopment? In some instances, it will depend upon who spins the data and how it is spun.
Dr. Aubrey Daniels, a world renowned behaviorists and personal friend of mine have discussed this very issue at length. We agreed that some of the most critical information needed to predict behavior, reinforcing behavior and building customer loyalty is held by the people who do not respond.
Unfortunately, in most cases, the first step in data analytics is to discard records of those who did not respond and focus on those who did respond. Why? Simple – it’s easier. Most marketers and communicators don’t understand what influences behavior nor do they understand how to influence the non-responders into becoming responders. They are not behaviorists nor are they qualified to evaluate marketing data in this context.
As professional marketers and communicators, I believe we not only have a responsibility to generate high performance marketing campaigns, but we also have a responsibility to understand what influences one’s behavior and compels them to respond or not respond. If we don’t, it will be extremely difficult for us to sustain the amazing Response Rates and Conversion Rates.
I’ve known Dr. Daniels for quite some time and can assure you that the science of behavior is complex and requires a good bit of formal education and experience before it can be effectively applied. It is however, a critical aspect of effective data analytics and cannot be overlooked. Know what you don’t know and team up with a behaviorist to optimize long term marketing results for your customers.