Today’s buyer journey is rarely linear, and customers will interact with your brand across channels from web to phone to social media and voice assistants. This presents a vexing challenge for data-driven marketers: how can you profitably acquire customers and drive lifetime value if you can’t piece all these touchpoints together? In order to bridge the online-offline divide that occurs when customers jump from the digital realm to the phone, marketers often find themselves shopping call tracking and call intelligence solutions.

On the surface, call intelligence may seem a lot like traditional call tracking with a fancy name, but there are some critical differences that marketers need to be aware of before choosing a solution.

Why Analyzing Phone Calls is Critical for Digital Marketers

Before we jump into the difference between call tracking and call intelligence, let’s look at why would you need one of these solutions in the first place.

Over the last several years, we’ve poured money into technologies that create marketing intelligence by unifying digital touchpoints, often with great results. However, for brands in which phone calls represent a major part of their customer journey, online-to-offline intelligence was previously inaccessible.

Marketers who care about inbound calls need more context. They want to see all the touchpoints that led to a call, and what happened during the call so they know what action to take after the call.

Call intelligence offers the type of data and metrics from phone calls that you’ve become accustomed to getting from digital touchpoints. Just like you track clicks from an email campaign, call intelligence provides data from inbound calls like call outcomes, duration, call volume, customer demographics and, of course, keyword attribution that allow marketers to precisely target advertising that drives phone calls.  

As you dive into marketing technology that provides call data, you will find that it comes in a couple of basic flavors: call tracking and call intelligence. Here’s what you need to know before making a decision.

Call tracking may only provide part of the picture

Chances are that marketers who care about phone calls have considered tackling the online-to-offline challenge with a traditional call tracking solution. Call tracking can provide marketers with valuable call data like call volume, call times and duration, caller information, and some level of digital campaign attribution. However, legacy call tracking solutions have some major limitations for marketers who want to leverage call data to inform their marketing in real time.

Traditional call tracking:

    • Ignores the larger customer journey, providing (at best) a snapshot of the last touchpoint before a call
    • Does not provide important context about the nature of the call, such as call drivers, call outcomes, and other conversation analytics
    • Fails to provide a rich profile of the caller, for example, identifying existing customers vs new customers
    • Lacks the deep integrations with other marketing platforms that marketers need to orchestrate the overall customer journey
    • Cannot provide adequate data to automate next-step marketing processes like retargeting and suppression

Imagine a website analytics solution that counted webpage visits, but couldn’t track referrals, report bounce rates, failed to provide any consumer data, couldn’t fire custom events, and didn’t integrate with any other systems. That’s how you should look at call tracking: valuable to a degree, but woefully lacking in delivering anything but the most basic analytics.

Adopting call tracking represents a solid first step for digital marketers who want to begin understanding how their marketing efforts are driving inbound calls. After all, having the ability to correlate phone calls to online campaigns is better than nothing! But to begin harnessing the power of call data, you’ll need a solution that offers more robust capabilities.

How call intelligence bridges the online-offline data gap

Call intelligence picks up where call tracking leaves off by unearthing rich data about the call, attributing the call to the entire digital journey, and providing the data required to automate marketing actions after the call like retargeting and suppression. True call intelligence provides the kind of data and flexibility that you would expect from online analytics and marketing automation tools.

Call intelligence platforms like Invoca provide the following capabilities in a single platform:

      1. Track calls and attribute them to pre-call consumer touchpoints like paid search, social, display, or email
      2. Unify data across multiple sources including web, CRM, or other offline data to create a rich caller profile
      3. Analyze phone conversations with tools like Invoca Signal AI to derive insight around call drivers, behaviors, and outcomes  
      4. Push this newly created intelligence out to the rest of the marketing stack for marketing automation, analysis, optimization, personalization, and audience expansion

What marketers can do with call intelligence

Armed with the powerful capabilities that call intelligence offers, digital marketers can optimize marketing performance, personalize the caller experience, enhance the end-to-end customer journey, and expand audience reach. Let’s break down each of these applications.

Optimize marketing performance. Most marketers find immediate bang-for-the-buck by applying newly discovered call insights to optimize their marketing programs and media spend. With AI-powered call outcome predictions, insights into call quality, and granular reporting, not only do marketers get credit for the conversions that they’ve been driving all along, but they can maximize marketing ROI because they can finally understand what’s really working to drive inbound calls and what isn’t. And because this data can be pushed into your preferred marketing application (e.g. AdWords, Adobe Analytics, DoubleClick, Google Analytics, and Salesforce) you can take the “set-it-and-forget-it” approach and leverage real-time call conversion reporting to automate your marketing optimization.

Personalize the caller experience. Call intelligence offers a lot than more than just improved visibility and data. It also provides you the tools to automate and personalize the caller experience. With call intelligence, you can qualify and route calls based on custom rules and logic based on factors like geolocation, time of call, product interest, page context, shopping cart activity, and more. By intelligently routing calls based on pre-call data, marketers can improve conversion rates, enhance the customer experience, and ensure that call center agents are focusing on revenue-driving calls. You can even pass caller insights to agents before the call is connected to arm them with vital contextual information so they can tailor their approach and deliver a more personalized experience.

Enhance the entire customer journey. The customer journey doesn’t end after a phone call. Like any touchpoint, it’s only a single step in an overall customer relationship with a brand. Like digital data, call data can (and should) be used to enhance the overall customer journey. Each phone call provides tons of new information about a caller, including demographic data, product interest, buying stage, customer type, and more. By pushing data into platforms like a CRM or marketing automation system, marketers can orchestrate the next action, be it a personalized follow-up email, a more relevant retargeting ad, or a personalized website experience.

Expand audience reach. Finally, call intelligence can enhance your other marketing tools to expand reach and target likely buyers. Integrations with platforms like Facebook, AdWords, and DMPs like Adobe Audience Manager make it possible to model look-alike audiences from a seed dataset resembling customers who have called and converted.

Knowing that a phone call occurred is only half the battle. With call intelligence, you can get granular campaign attribution to understand why customers are calling, gain real-time intelligence about who’s calling, and analyze what’s being said in conversations.

Simply put, call intelligence is a vital piece of the martech stack for marketers that care about inbound phone calls. With it, you finally have access to the type of actionable data you’ve come to expect from digital marketing analytics to gain insight from phone calls.

Schedule a demo to learn more about the Invoca call intelligence platform.

 

Ian Dailey

Posted by Ian Dailey

Ian Dailey leads product marketing at Invoca. In this role, Ian brings to market new call intelligence technologies that help modern marketers understand who's calling, what's happening in the conversation, and how they can best leverage these new data to improve ROI. Prior to this role, Ian led product marketing for the Rocket Fuel DSP — a pioneering buy-side programmatic media platform — where he launched a number of solutions including cross-device optimization, hyperlocal mobile targeting, and online-to-offline attribution. Ian holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California.

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