Digital disruption is all around us, and marketers are making it a priority to keep pace with advancements. But they shouldn’t forget about offline channels—in particular, one that has been around since the late 1800s.
According to a new Marchex-commissioned report by Forrester Consulting, which surveyed over 200 marketing decision makers, phone customers—those who initiate a phone call to a business—convert faster, spend more, and have a higher retention rate than customers who contact brands via other channels. More specifically, marketers said that people who initiated inbound calls converted an average of 30% faster and spend 28% more. Callers had 28% higher retention rates than non-callers, and ads that prompted people to call a business received higher engagement.
“The act of calling someone is very personal, and it's a very proactive action,” said Guy Weismantel, EVP of marketing at Marchex. “It's very easy to click on an online ad. But the act of picking up the phone and wanting to connect to someone is a proactive action, and so that inherently creates some intent on the part of the caller. They’ve mentally committed to the next step in the process, whether that’s to learn more about a product, to get pricing, or to set up an appointment.”
While 70% of the marketers surveyed said their companies currently use inbound phone calls to market to customers, levels of sophistication varied. The study suggests marketers ought to prioritize inbound callers and leverage phone data to optimize marketing campaigns.
In addition, the number of phone calls are on the rise, the study also found. Also of note: Marketers need to pay attention to how these calls are initiated to guide their strategies. While search ads with click-to-call functionality are currently all the rage, voice search is on the rise. So is adoption of voice tech platforms, including Apple’s Siri, and Amazon Alexa. Data shows that how they search is different for each one.
“Digital marketers talk about getting the full picture of the customer journey and a lot of times that’s not just digital—that’s online and offline,” Weismantel said. “By including offline channels in the online media plan, marketers can actually tie revenue to marketing activity.”