Case Study: Online Indicators Demonstrate Offline Success (via Google Reader)

In a world where companies are questioning the ROI of their digital marketing efforts, Tippingpoint Labs proves digital analysis can show ROI of a wide variety of marketing efforts — online and off.

Traditional Publisher Turns to Digital Agency to Gauge the Impact of Their Magazine

The Meredith Corporation, one of the nation’s leading media and marketing companies, came to Tippingpoint labs with a quandary.

They wanted to measure the impact of one of their client’s custom printed publication on in-store sales. For almost a decade, the Meredith team had suspected that the magazine, delivered to households nationwide, increased sell-through at retail, but they’d never been able to prove it.

The Meredith team asked Tippingpoint Labs to prove the inherent value of the magazine and its overall effect on the existing digital campaign. They asked a strategy agency focused on the digital world to demonstrate that a digital approach isn’t always best – using digital data.

Awareness transcends media

The initial challenge was how to tie retail revenue to the engaging experience of reading a magazine. To overcome this, Tippingpoint Labs used digital sources like Google Insights for Search to measure the client’s brand awareness trend over time, looking at search volume, website traffic, and social media mentions.

The goal of this analysis was to determine if and how the distribution of the print publication affected digital awareness. Tracking the online world gave the Tippingpoint Strategy team a good idea of how retail channels should react after the drop of the magazine. Tracking the brand name alone was unsuccessful. However, product  awareness spiked at and after the publication date of the print magazine – a direct correlation.

Print Publication and Online Interest

Print Publication and Online Interest

Additionally, the more a product was featured in print, the greater the bump in awareness, search volume, and web traffic the product received. This initial discovery showed, anecdotally, that the print publication, in concert with related ongoing digital messaging outreach, was highly valuable to the brand.

The bottom line

But proving this success took some further steps. There needed to be  similar correlation to actual revenue. The challenge then became to bucket the brand’s audiences and track their brand spend for the time periods immediately following print publication.

According to Tippingpoint Labs Chief Strategy Officer Andrew Davis:

“Comparing consumer spends in these periods — between subscribers and non-subscribers — would indicate whether or not the magazine had any real affect on dollars spent on featured products. We showed that highly-featured products were purchased in greater quantities right after the magazine arrived in mailboxes.”

The magazine clearly drove revenue.

Revenue now and in the future

The exercise also proved something beyond the revenue correlation – larger lessons. It established a conclusive link between:

  • Shopping habits
  • Offline publication
  • Online habits
  • Offline interaction
  • Content best practices

With Meredith in possession of this data, they were in a position to abstract the content values that were successful and recommend ways to use them to drive more revenue. These values could drive  the content strategy for the campaign, online and off. The combination of print and digital analysis could actually steer both revenue and the editorial process towards growth.

This report proved that publishers can more strongly target their audiences and push customers towards both sales and  greater awareness.

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