“CallSource® Reflections” is a blog series by CallSource’s® co-founder and President, Elliot Leiboff. Elliot co-founded CallSource® alongside the late Jerry Feldman in 1992. Over the years, Elliot has developed a small call tracking company to a full service lead generation performance organization. CallSource® invented call tracking. Elliot has witnessed a myriad of inventions, tried different strategies, invested in technologies and basically seen it all.
CallSource® is a classic American tale of an idea that turned into a business that has thrived through grit and determination. “CallSource® Reflections” is Elliot’s blog series on lessons learned as a business owner before the era of startups and VC funding.
Elliot’s monthly blog contributions take the reader on the journey of how our solutions have evolved.
As the consumer journey to purchase changes, so must marketing.
Nearly 25 years ago, when CallSource first invented call tracking, the “consumer journey” almost always began as a response to a print, mail, or broadcast ad. Consumer research relied upon printed publications like “Consumer Reports,” a telephone call, or visit to the seller’s location.
With the ascendancy of the Internet, the nature of marketing and consumer research – and the course of the consumer journey – has changed. You could say the balance of power has shifted from the seller to the consumer, as seemingly infinite product and pricing information have become readily available.
To the surprise of many experts, online marketing has increased, not decreased, the prevalence and importance of telephone leads. This is largely due to the merger of computer and telephone into Smartphones. While consumer calls remain highly valued, along with consumer marketing, the consumer journey may now begin with a keyword search, response to an email or social media campaign or an online ad. The consumer now has Web form, chat and text as alternate means of communication.
What do these changes in consumer behavior mean to business? So far, it has meant a major shift away from “traditional media” into online marketing and advertising. An informative and easily navigated website is a basic necessity. Searchability, both organic and paid, is increasingly important. Well-executed social media campaigns are producing significant traffic. Marketers need new skill sets.
The many new avenues that exist between business and consumer have meant an explosion of data for businesses to track and analyze. The complexity of establishing and managing Google Analytics and other online analytics often forces businesses to rely upon reporting from the very same companies that manage their online optimization and/or marketing. This can be seen as the fox guarding the virtual henhouse. Even when the fox is on good behavior, online analytics can’t actually track the complete consumer journey. All they see is the last website the consumer visited before arriving at yours.
But independent, automatic, easy-to-understand web analytics do exist. Unlike other systems, Digital AIsm by AutoID can track a specific consumer across domains, accurately attributing the source that generated the lead, along with those that nurtured it on the way to your website. A real-time dashboard can report your calls, chats, and web forms. When a prospect visits a competitor’s website, you receive an alert.
For auto dealers, Digital AI also reveals which vehicles a visitor views – on your site and competitors’. Digital AI identifies hot prospects among recent visitors to your website, based on their current and historical activity. It also helps predict ideal inventory by identifying the most-viewed models and trim in your market and charting your advertised price vs. your competitors. When used in conjunction with CallSource call tracking, Digital AI can automatically assign and manage up to three dynamic numbers (sales, service & parts) on your website.
So, don’t stop working to improve your availability to consumers and your lead conversion skills, both online (via web and chat) and offline (via telephone). Track and analyze every form of marketing you use, both online and offline. Take advantage of service providers with experience and expertise in today’s marketing, lead tracking, analytics, coaching and training. Give the consumer every conceivable route to your business and be ready to greet him or her at your physical or virtual place of business.