By Antony Ngure
In an increasingly convergent world in which recent events have accelerated digitalization and adoption of new marketing and distribution channels, brands need to ensure their channel strategies are being implemented consistently and maximized across markets.
This is why, channel performance measurement has increasingly become an integral part of any business. Whether you are growing an existing product or service in a new area, or launching something completely new, understanding which channels offer the greatest growth potential, and how competitors stack up, is essential.
By measuring the performance of different marketing and distribution channels, businesses can determine where to invest to maximize their return on investment. This makes it easy to effectively allocate resources such as financial, human, and time.
Whether an organization is seeking to organize and make use of available data or gathering new data to act on, there are three essential considerations to consider when measuring and managing your channel performance. These are the size of channel opportunity; the measure of brand delivery in terms of promise and compliance and the activities or interactions that drive sales.
Once a business can handle those three key issues then it can focus efforts to improve; maximizing the channels it is operating in, delivering on product, service, and regulatory demands at the frontline, and understanding fulfilment of the products or services it offers – ultimately improving the experiences of customers and business results.
To begin with, sizing channels effectively enables your organization to set clear targets and establish indicators of success along the way. To understand the size of the prize there are several key factors to consider depending on where you are in the offer life cycle. These are competitive landscape in an existing market, category/brand/product share, and relevant customer segmentation and profiles.
Channel sizing measurement is a complex endeavor, especially in developing markets where desired datasets on which to base calculations are not always readily available. Customized programs may be called upon to drive high levels of accuracy to inform investment-heavy decision making, channel entry, and growth strategies.
The measure of brand delivery on the other hand helps organizations recognize success factors and improvement needs to deliver against brand promise and compliance. The key factors to consider here are Customer Experience and Service Performance.
A customer’s experience of a brand encompasses all the interactions they have, within and across channels – physical, contact center, and digital – as well as the experience of the actual product or service offer, brand communications they see, and beyond. We know that brand messaging matters, but if that brand messaging is not consistently carried through to the experience and delivery of a brand’s offer, the so-called ‘promise delivery gap results in unhappy customers, low customer experience, increased complaints and churn, and a downturn in sales.
Understanding what it is like for a customer to interact with your brand across the end-to-end will ensure you have the right frontline staff, equipped with appropriate training to deliver on your value proposition, act in alignment with brand guidelines, and comply with regulatory demands. When deployed correctly, the right measurement tools can act as an early warning system, helping you address issues before they translate into poor business results.
Measuring the human connection between frontline staff and customers should be included in your organizational metrics. Face-to-face interactions are more important than ever, as they may be less common for some customers who are choosing other channels to interact with your brand.
At the same time, customers moving to ‘new to them’ channels; perhaps live chat, online shopping, contact center calls, etc. present opportunities to connect with customers, but also new places for things to go awry. Furthermore, the handoff between channels, or the expectations and communications set within each, present additional touchpoints, and opportunities to ‘wow’ a customer.
Once the three fundamentals - size of channel, measure of brand delivery and activities/interactions that drive sales - are considered, an organization can focus efforts to improve; maximizing the channels it is operating in, delivering on product, service, and regulatory demands at the frontline, and understanding fulfilment of the products or services it offers – ultimately improving the experiences of your customers and your business results.
At Ipsos in Kenya, we support those charged with measuring and managing the performance of the channels in their organization – physical, contact center, and digital – to understand the fundamental questions that need to be answered, and where to act.
Ipsos’ Channel Performance service is primarily responsible for assessing and optimizing the efficiency of various marketing and distribution channels. Through an array of services including retail audit, retail execution, and shopper insights, we provide clients with a comprehensive understanding of their channel performance. This involves measuring and monitoring key performance indicators, identifying potential avenues for improvement, and generating data-driven strategies to enhance channel effectiveness and profitability.
We assist clients in answering crucial business and Ipsos in Kenya questions to optimize their channel performance. These questions may involve understanding the effectiveness of their existing channels, identifying potential gaps or opportunities in their distribution network, and evaluating their retail execution strategies. We also help them decipher buyer behavior within different channels and offer insights on how to modify their strategies for better alignment with shopper preferences. Furthermore, we facilitate the understanding of competitive positioning within channels, advising on the best practices to stand out and stay ahead amid fierce competition.
Our robust data analysis approach combined with proven industry knowledge equips our clients with actionable insights that positively impact bottom-line results.
We go beyond the numbers, focusing on strategic implications and customized recommendations that cater to each client's unique needs and objectives, thereby fostering long-term growth and profitability.
By using well designed tools – including channel sizing, mystery shopping, execution measurement, we assist organizations to make the most of the data at hand.
***The writer is the Channel Performance Lead at Ipsos in Kenya.