Op-Ed: How Phone Numbers Can Transform Your Marketing Attribution Efforts

marketingThe following is a guest contributed post from Bayan Towfiq, CEO & Founder of Flowroute.

The rise of digital marketing provides troves of data for marketers, yet brands and agencies are still struggling with campaign attribution. As marketers experiment with the numerous platforms available today, the process of assigning conversions to one touchpoint over another across multi-channel campaigns becomes increasingly crucial to measuring campaign success. Yet, television, radio and direct mail remain metaphorical “black boxes” for brands in terms of attribution.

Today, thanks to advanced IP communication technologies, marketers can track where calls are coming from, and control where they’re going to, all by using their existing VoIP platform. By buying and assigning different phone numbers for each of their television, radio, and direct mail ads or campaigns, marketers can measure concrete results from each medium and better understand the customer’s path to purchase.

Phone number attribution isn’t a new category in marketing or advertising, but a new wave of innovation in IP telecom presents a significant— and relatively untapped—opportunity for marketers. VoIP and session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking services account for more than $3.5B in annual revenue in North America, according to Frost & Sullivan. While the cost savings is often a factor in adopting VoIP services, businesses are increasingly leveraging the control and flexibility afforded by VoIP in new and creative ways.

By utilizing the IP communications network to aid in attribution efforts, marketers can glean deeper insights into their campaigns. This provides a more accurate and holistic look at campaign effectiveness and success.

Accurate campaign attribution

When you see an ad online, on television, or at a bus stop, there is typically a phone number provided for interested parties to receive more information. Marketers can purchase and assign specific phone numbers to each campaign, delivery channel or geographic region to better measure ad effectiveness.

For example, real estate agents can assign a unique number for each listing, allowing interested buyers to connect directly with the assigned agent, as opposed to going through slower, common practices such as web forms or email. By re-provisioning the phone number for each listing as they move on and off the market, real estate agents can glean a more comprehensive understanding of which listings are driving inbound leads.

Unique phone numbers can also be assigned to specific promotions and offers – for example, using one number for a “BOGO” (buy one/get one) offer and another for a free shipping promotion. Hyper-localized campaign collateral can be created and managed, including a unique contact phone number for each piece so that marketers can know precisely which ones are proving most effective.

This visibility allows companies to evaluate campaigns accurately and determine what worked—and what didn’t—for future efforts.

Phone numbers also offer the opportunity to better track lead generation. For example, businesses can direct inbound calls to different departments or extensions, and track where sales leads are being derived. VoIP and SIP trunking technologies can route calls more contextually and track which numbers are being called most, based on location and time. Teams can learn from this data and adjust selling strategies, giving them a competitive edge.

Additionally, this process of re-routing and re-provisioning numbers via an IP-based system can be done in seconds, versus having to re-program numbers at the switch level, as would be in the case with a traditional wireline carrier.

Empowering Businesses with a New Model

Marketers can, and should, utilize phone numbers and other IP communication technologies to measure campaign effectiveness, better understand the customer path to purchase, and more efficiently track lead generation. IP-based phone attribution offers marketers troves of actionable data—making future campaigns better informed and targeted, resulting in greater ROI.

Indeed, IP telephony has the potential to create a new model for not just marketers but businesses as a whole, empowering organizations with control and transparency to essentially “be their own carrier,” enabling them to purchase, assign and provision telecom resources like phone numbers without continuing the historical dependency on traditional telecom providers.