Having spent several years on the agency side working with a variety of large B2B & B2C companies, I can tell you that if Don Draper had access to call tracking in the 1960s, he would have been the king of Madison Avenue. Big pitch meetings showcasing grand market strategies, dapper designs and clever copy still happen. But except for a few ad agencies serving glamour industries, marketers are seldom valued by the strength of their creativity. Their efforts are instead measured by how they impact sales.
Educated clients still understand that there are a variety of intermediary metrics that you need in order to achieve real results. For example, decent web form conversion rates are perhaps the best indication of whether a web landing page is effective, and email open rates are still the best way of judging whether a list—or subject line—is any good. However, in this ROI culture, a marketer’s bread and butter is proving returns.
Lead gen agencies are one of the best examples of how far the needle has moved. The majority of agencies still bill their clients either per lead, or based on a flat monthly retainer that will continue so long as lead production remains relatively strong over time. Other agencies go a step further, actually getting paid on a per-close basis.
In any of these scenarios, agencies that aren’t using call tracking for their clients are leaving a great deal of money on the table. Call tracking is often resisted for two reasons: the first is because it’s an added expense on top of other tools. The second is because it’s often (incorrectly) assumed that phone calls make up a small percentage of sales.
“SEO and SEM drove much more call volume than than we were expecting,” said Ryan Spiegl, SEO Director of evidence-based marketing firm DemandResults. “We also noticed that in some cases, phone calls were more likely to lead to sales than communications that were initiated through web forms. That told us a lot about the value of call analytics.”
That’s exactly the sort of information that can be huge for client retention and even billing. If your client is paying your agency a monthly retainer, you’re only worth the growth you can show on your analytics report. If you’re missing call data, you have no idea how many leads you’re really driving. That’s especially true if your client is selling something expensive, such as healthcare, legal services or cars.
So in case you’re doubting whether Don Draper would love call tracking, the answer is definitely yes. Showy pitch meetings may make for better television, but increased client billings is something a guy like Don Draper would really get behind.