Lessons in e-Commerce: Our Multi-Touch, User-Centric World


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This blog post first appeared on the MITX Bostinno channel on February 8th, 2013

Last Friday I had the opportunity to participate in a panel at the MITX e-Commerce Summit,What’s Next: Not Your Father’s Customer Journey (#MITXECS). My panel, Measuring the Path to Purchase: Metrics that Matter, covered metrics to use when acquiring and moving customers through the purchasing funnel from the perspectives of affiliate, social and email marketing experts. And while I came to the conference to spread Moontoast’s core message of how to enable companies to engage, transact with, and measure the results from social customers, I left with e-commerce and digital marketing insights valuable to any progressive company.

Takeaways from Metrics that Matter: The Importance of a Multi-Touch Approach
As a social marketer, I often find myself in the position of educating more traditional marketers on the ineffectiveness of applying older metrics and tactics to social media efforts. To that end, hearing my fellow panelists Robert Glazer of Acceleration Partners and Andrea Orvis of e-Dialog speak about the ineffectiveness of last-click attribution for affiliate and email marketing was a refreshing change of pace, and confirmed my belief that marketing best practices will continue to place more importance (and better metrics) around a multi-touch customer acquisition strategy.

For social, the multi-touch point, customer-driven path to purchase creates a circular journey rather than a top-down marketing funnel.  Within these splintering touch points, social provides a powerful medium for brands to interact and transact with their customers away from company homepages; we’ve seen companies who use our rich social media advertising applications grow their email base by 79% over the term of a campaign and achieve purchase conversion rates as high as 25%.

While I hope you all consider including (or improving) social marketing in your business, the MITX conference covered all aspects of e-commerce and digital marketing. Presenters provided invaluable insights and statistics to help brands navigate the new digital marketing world, and I’ve collected the most memorable of them below.

Standout advice and insight from e-commerce thought leaders:

Steve Davis, President, Rue La La: “Rather than spending marketing dollars on paid search and other traditional channels, invest in improving the customer experience and making that experience easily shareable.”
Steve succinctly demonstrates what marketing is all about nowadays – pleasing and empowering the customer to become your best brand advocates and salespeople. Rue La La used this strategy to become the invitation-only shopping site of choice.

Jason Caine, Director, CPG and Retail Practice, Compete: “Social is an opportunity to make consumers the star – the consumer now drives the message and creates brand perception.”
I can’t stress this enough! Social media represents an amazing opportunity for brands, but only if they throw their old thinking out the window and actually focus first and foremost on the customer. Jason is spot on, and Compete does great work helping companies analyze online and social behavior.

Andrea Orvis, Principal Planner, e-Dialog: “50% of purchases on site are part of a multi-touch journey.” and “42% lift from multi-touch purchase journeys.”
Multi-touch journeys play a key role across media types, from social, to websites, to email campaigns. Andrea provides hard data on the benefits of embracing a multi-touch consumer journey.

Robert Glazer, Founder & Managing Director, Acceleration Partners: “Marketers that claim ‘metrics-driven results’ and measure entirely based on last-click attribution should be the most doubted.”
Again, Robert’s point hammers home the importance of moving beyond last-click attribution in our multi-touch world.

Nancy Go, Senior Director of Brand Marketing, Wayfair: “Marketing is like oil drilling- when demand is high enough, it’s time to start fracking.”
Wayfair’s Nancy Go succinctly explains why her company uses TV in addition to digital marketing; for companies with very high demand looking to further expand their reach, new channels can help reach previously unknown consumers. It’s important to note that this goes both ways, so companies with a primary focus on traditional media can benefit from reaching new potential customers via social.

Jason Caine, Director, CPG and Retail Practice, Compete: “Social is not a discreet activity that should not be treated as a point in time – it’s constant, on all the time, across all platforms.”
Too many companies treat social as a tool for isolated campaigns, engaging fans for a short time and then leaving their social presence in maintenance mode until the next big campaign. Unfortunately for them, consumers don’t use social on a campaign basis – they’re always on, and always looking to engage with interesting content. To fully benefit from social, you need to have a team dedicated to continuing the conversation between campaigns, maintaining fans’ attention to maximize the impact of your next campaign.

MITX ECS 2013 left us with a day full of great networking, insightful takeaways, and a lot of new planning to do for our 2013 e-commerce strategies. What were your biggest takeaways from the conference? And which plans will you update with this new information?

Feel free to connect with Moontoast on twitter to learn how to use social advertising to maximize your e-commerce results.

Blair Heavey
Blair Heavey is the CEO of Moontoast, a leading social marketing, social commerce and analytics company. Gartner Research has named Moontoast a "Cool Vendor" in Music and eCommerce, and Billboard Magazine called Moontoast a "Top Startup of 2011". Blair has over 20 years of experience in building and leading innovative high-growth technology companies and is responsible for Moontoast's strategic direction and execution. Blair was the CEO of MyPerfectGig and prior to that, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at North Bridge Venture Partners.


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