Numerator: Changing the Channel to Omnichannel
Consumers no longer think in terms of channels and neither should we, so we’re reorienting our company with regards to how we solve business issues. We’re committing to delivering a full market view, including both path and purchase across online and offline sales, to enable clients to better connect with consumers and grow their business. And we’re changing our name to Numerator.
There’s a lot to unpack in that paragraph but let me give it a try.
I’m old enough to remember when channels were a thing – TV channels, that is.
First there were four channels – ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS. Five, if you counted the local independent that was only on the air a few hours a day, and that we could only watch if I stood and held the antenna in exactly the right spot.
Now, I’m not even sure that channels are a thing. I can’t remember the last time someone in my household said, “Hey, could you please change the channel” (though there are plenty of complaints about what I choose to watch). I’m pretty certain my kids never know what channel they’re even viewing, and most of the content they consume isn’t even from a traditional network. To find a show, we don’t go to a channel, we just shout loudly into the remote control like we are all crazy people and it automatically finds what we are looking for, whether ABC, A&E or Amazon Prime.
In much the same way that TV channels have expanded and morphed, so have advertising channels. It used to be that companies would purchase advertising on the aforementioned TV networks, or choose from an equally constrained number of print (and let’s not forget circulars when discussing print) or out-of-home options. Brands were in control of their messaging and where that messaging appeared.
Brands now have so many additional ways to communicate with consumers that attention has become arguably the scarcest resource. Studies show that the average person is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages per day, and switch between screens up to 21 times per hour.
If the volume of messaging is overwhelming to consumers, the number of marketing channels available is equally immense and increasing seemingly daily. The proliferation of digital and personalized media means that in many ways we’ve evolved from brand-led to consumer-led relationships where each person has set up their own firewall and uses it to tightly control what gets in or out. Companies need to evolve from thinking about how a message is sent to focusing on how a message is received - and the action it drives.
This makes the path to purchase neither linear nor circular, but instead seemingly random. For one product it may involve careful online research followed by multiple store visits prior to purchase; for another product it may take the form of an impulse buy through a social media channel (and back to TV for a moment – maybe the Home Shopping Network was onto something all those years ago). The purchase journey has less to do with the product and more to do with the consumer and his or her needs and preferences.
Likewise, the retailers and shopping channels themselves compete for our attention. Amazon, Walmart, Target. Kroger, Aldi, Dollar Store. Google, Facebook, Instagram. It’s unclear where “channel” ends and where “retailer” begins. It used to be that people preferred one shopping channel or another; now, they prefer whatever’s best for them at a given moment. Over a relatively short time span, it’s not inconceivable that someone could purchase a simple household product via three or more of these retailers / channels, based on whether the purchase was brought on by a discounted price, running out of the product, or an unseen usage occasion. And channel selection can have a domino effect on the purchasing of other products, for the good or bad depending on your perspective.
Which brings us back to the question of why we’ve chosen to consolidate Market Track, InfoScout, FeatureVision, Competitrack, 360pi and all the other previously acquired companies under the new name Numerator.
It reflects our commitment to bringing together omnichannel marketing, merchandising and sales data to make pursuing new possibilities simple for brand, retail and agency clients.
It demonstrates our progress in delivering a comprehensive marketplace view that enables clients to better connect with consumers and grow their business. Numerator literally is the top line – the number above the line in a fraction.
It considers the fact that almost everyone now carries a device for consuming media, for viewing advertising, for comparing prices, for searching for discounts, and for making purchases…right in their pocket.
Because consumers no longer think in terms of channels, and neither should we. Yes, it’s still important to be able to isolate a given channel and go deep to address specific business questions or adjust tactics; but long-term it’s even more important to view the market the same way consumers do, thinking more broadly to truly understand choice and how to influence it.
That’s our renewed promise to clients, to take the strength in numbers delivered by our data and our teams and turn them into insights that allow our clients to surface new opportunities, illuminate next steps and ultimately make it easy to act.
We can’t wait to show you all that Numerator can do.