Identifying Sources of Marketing Growth: Call Tracking

As marketers, we are challenged to find which vehicles will deliver the most leads, conversions, and sales. The large amount of channels available to us can help us reach customers, but many times we struggle with attribution, especially to offline channels. How can we determine which targeted segments are providing the biggest return, and use that to shape our future strategy?

The Challenge

With digital channels such as email, social media and pay-per-click (PPC) ads, campaign results are relatively easy to track. But with offline channels – out of home, direct mail, TV, radio – where the call-to-action often includes a phone number, it isn’t always easy to discern which channel is producing which customers and sales. Depending on customer service agents to determine that information leaves the process open to human error. Recognizing the need for scientific data to optimize marketing budgets and evaluate the profitability of specific market segments, increasing numbers of businesses are using call tracking as a way to measure campaign performance and customer acquisition.

Start Small and Do Your Research

Available as a SaaS (software as a service) product, call tracking allows businesses to install a simple script that assigns a unique phone number to each marketing channel – billboards, PPC ads, website landing page, radio ads – and then marketers can see to which channel each call can be attributed. Erika Rollins, marketing director at Call Tracking Metrics, notes that “the beauty of call tracking is that is easy to implement” and recommends starting slowly. Basic plans usually cost around $20-$25 per month, with more intermediate, “agency-level” plans at about $100/month, and enterprise level plans at a higher amount, usually offered as a bundle deal. “Start small, identify your initial goals, begin with the basic platform and build from there,” Rollins advises.

“You can get as broad or as granular as you want,” says Rollins, noting that call tracking can be integrated with CRM systems such as Salesforce as well as marketing automation platforms. When call center agents enter notes from the call and customer contact info, the data can then populate in the CRM. Custom fields can be created in marketing automation platforms to store customer and product IDs and tracking data, allowing marketers to use call data to score leads and evaluate the success of particular promotions or ads.

Utilize Customer Insights

Call tracking can provide rich caller profile data, such as gender, educational level, and household income. Using enhanced caller ID that can pull data from other sources, such as browser history and cookies, even down to the search term level, to report on both the source of the lead and what market segment the potential customer represents. This allows businesses to not only measure campaign results but also improve the customer experience, routing calls to a particular agent who is most prepared to serve them and minimizing the need for the customer to be transferred to another agent during their call.

Rollins recommends that businesses considering purchasing a call tracking platform “do research first, have internal conversations and think about how you will use the data and how your various systems will work together.” As a vendor, she has observed that companies face challenges when they “jump in and don’t think about their goals and what they want to do with the data.” While businesses across all verticals are exploring and adopting call tracking as a measurement and decision-making tool, Rollins says call tracking is most popular with marketing agencies, franchises and health care organizations (tracking systems are HIPAA-compliant).

For marketers who face challenges identifying the most profitable marketing channels and measuring which customers and segments represent the largest source of their company’s growth, call tracking may be an effective tool. Integrating caller data with existing CRM and automation platforms can provide a richer understanding of campaign results and the leads and conversions produced. Particularly for companies that do a large amount of offline marketing and who receive inquiries via phone, call tracking provides a way to measure results objectively and make sound decisions on future campaign budgets and strategies.

This post is part of a series on “The 7 Big Problems in the Marketing Industry.” To learn more about the series, read our initial post here.