Tell me you’ve had this problem. You wake up and stand in your closet, staring at all the different outfits to choose from and wondering which one is going to make just the right impression for whatever you have going on that day. Maybe you want to look authoritative and put-together for a client, be the cool parent to your kids’ friends, or be sexy to catch the attention of your objective's affection. Whatever the occasion, sometimes the wealth of options can be overwhelming and you end up panicking and trying to do too much or too little. And the next thing you know, that dream combo you had in your mind’s eye is out the window.

I can tell you that CMOs have this problem all of the time, though I can’t speak for their sartorial challenges. They’re wrestling with the myriad channels, devices, and touchpoints that consumers use — online and offline — throughout their path to purchase. And trying to figure out how to use the right ones to make that winning impression on your target audience, particularly as those shoppers explore all of the different options available to meet their needs, is not always easy. To help in the quest of the getting that mix just right, Forrester today introduces our touchpoint-impact framework (T-I), a methodology that identifies the channels or interaction points that have the biggest impact on consumers’ spend as a percentage above the average price for a given category — the so-called price premium (subscription required). My colleague Gina Sverdlov introduces the framework in her blog post, and those with a subscription can read the report, "Assess The Impact Of Touchpoints Along The Consumer Path-To-Purchase."

To employ this tool successfully, CMOs must:

  1. Map consumer segments’ touchpoint usage along all four phases of the customer life cycle to reveal how behavior changes based on the objectives in each phase.
  2. Use the T-I framework to identify the channels your consumers use to do their product and brand research.
  3. Allocate budgets and resources to those channels with the strongest impact on price premium.

The T-I framework will help CMOs make better use of the customer life cycle to create targeted, optimized plans for consumer engagement, building better relationships with consumers for long-term business health while driving sales to satisfy shorter-term objectives. For example, 55% of consumer electronics buyers used a retailer email or website as part of their research, but doing so had a relatively weak impact on price premium. Marketers should use the high penetration of email and web for research to build awareness of and drive people to the touchpoints that have a stronger impact on spend.

Check out the report and Gina's blog, and sign up for the webinar Gina and I are giving on April 29th. If you want to talk about what this means for your business — or to commiserate about how hard getting dressed can be sometimes — just leave a comment below or shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!