The Oversell of Call Source Tracking

In theory, call source tracking is designed to allow companies to measure advertising effectiveness, increase sales and enhance customer service.  The customary method is to assign a phone number to each advertising and or marketing piece currently in use.  The premise is that you can better determine the effectiveness of each of your individual campaigns by better defining what made a potential customer contact your place of business.

Why this is all wrong.

Consumer Behavior

What influences you to purchase anything? Consumers are constantly evolving in their buying behavior based on their experiences. Consumer behavior is the process consumers go through when they make purchases and it involves multiple factors that influence their decision and usage.

The 5 Steps in the Buying Process

You need to understand these steps in order to properly move the consumer to the product and close the sale.  Take note, these steps do not need to occur in a sequential process.

Need Recognition

The very first step in the process is when consumers realize that they have a need for something. A need can be generated internally (I’m hungry and want food now) or externally (Your neighbor just got a new car, so you “need” a new car).

When consumers recognize an unfulfilled need and that a product will satisfy it, they have created a want.

There are three ways that consumers recognize unfulfilled wants.

  1. A a consumer becomes frustrated with the fact that a product he or she has is not performing properly. (the consumers own ears and hearing loss fall into this category).
  2. A consumer runs out of the product.
  3. A consumer becomes aware of a product that is better than their current product.
Information Search

After the consumer has developed a want or a need, he or she needs to start an information search about the different alternative selections that they can purchase to satisfy their need. The consumer will look both internally and externally for his information to help him make a decision. An internal information search consists of utilizing information from memory, such as past experiences with the product.

An external information search is the process of seeking information in the outside environment. They ask their friends and family about their experiences, what they purchased and where they made their purchase. They can also research public sources, such as consumer reports for information about a product.

Another external information source for the consumer are would be marketing-controlled sources, such as radio, television ads, brochures, etc. The amount of time dedicated to this step usually depends on the consumer’s past experience with buying the product, the risk involved and the level of interest.

Evaluation Of Alternatives And Purchase

After consumers have recognized a need, conducted information research and created a final set of choices, they then must make a decision.

In order to make the final decision, consumers usually decide on one product attribute that is the most important. It could be quality, price, store location, etc.  The role of marketing is communicate away any potential obstacles.

Our current economy is definitely a factor.  Economic issues have really affected the purchase outcome due to the recession. According to (a national demographic and trend survey company), only six percent of consumers have increased their spending since the recession hit in 2007. In fact, 62% of Americans said in the survey that they have curtailed their consumer spending amounts. In the survey, the respondents were quizzed about their future spending patterns once the economy improves; 31% say that they will spend less in the next few years.

Post-Purchase Behavior

After a consumer makes a decision to buy a product, they expect satisfaction to occur from the purchase. If the product does not meet their requirements, then dissatisfaction can occur and the consumer will talk poorly about the product publicly, return the product and also possibly not be a repeat buyer. A smart marketer will make sure that their consumer is completely satisfied and does not develop any negative post-purchase feelings. There is a difference between failed expectations and “buyer’s remorse” be aware of and understand how to address both.

What Should You Take Away From All This?

The big problem with call source tracking.  It’s an easy way to for you and the staff to check off the “how did you hear about us” box without worrying if the response is an accurate assessment of path the patient took to end up at your office.

Call source tracking identifies the method that the consumer used to make the call.  But in no way shape or form does it identify the path that the consumer took to arrive at that juncture.  Quite possibly, they read a few of your blogs, saw a few of your ads, or attended a consumer seminar you gave 6 months ago.  Eliminate any of those methods and quite possibly the same patient would’ve ended up in your competitors office.

Track your marketing results the right way…ask questions.  “How did you hear about us?”,   “Have you attended any of our seminars?”, “Did you see us online?”  Probe a little for a reponse, guaranteed you’ll be surprised at the answers you get.

Or create a checklist that includes all of your marketing activities and request that they check all that apply.  Leave a blank line for them to fill in.  If want to better understand the final catalyst then by all means use call source tracking.  Just don’t rely on it to when it comes to planning your marketing.




About The Author

Robbie Bright-Poole

Robbie Ann Bright-Poole is currently the President and one of the founders of Oracle Hearing Group. Mrs. Poole opened her Audiology practice, Bright Hearing Center, in 1989. The success of her practice afforded her the opportunity to mentor others seeking a similar measure of success. She sold her practice and decided to make mentoring others in the field of Audiology a full-time business. Oracle Hearing Group obtained its first client in 2004. In addition to overseeing the day to day running of the Oracle she is the primarily responsible for the creation of the enormous amount of content that is at the disposal of each Oracle client.

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