Kevin Hillstrom and Multichannel Forensics

Everybody knows Kevin. His name is becoming synonymous with multichannel marketing. Almost anybody who fancies themselves a connoisseur of integrated marketing is reading Kevin’s blog at

Kevin is the author of Hillstrom’s Multichannel Forensics and Hillstrom’s Database Marketing. He is a veteran in the database marketing industry having worked at such companies as Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, and Land’s End.

Everybody loves Kevin’s work. I certainly do.

His Multichannel Forensics method plows through data on customer transactions, channel by channel to shed clarity on trends of cross-channel behavior. Instead of stopping at short term sales analysis of campaigns (e.g. catalogs or website), Multichannel Forensics projects the multi-year impact of one channel on others.


Because, Multichannel Forensics provides clarity without getting sucked into what is probably the most dangerous quicksand in multichannel analytics. Namely, the impact of multiple touch points from various channels over time. Customers zig zag across channels, read a marketing message here, ignore it there, research on one channel, and buy on another. Hillstrom explicitly calls out his conviction that assessing the incremental impact of any one touch point is really difficult in today’s world.

So Multichannel Forensics produces a top-down view from bottom-up data on customer behavior. It creates a map that shows where customers are headed to answer questions such as:

  • Should you reallocate $x from one channel to another?
  • What is the contribution of marketing through one channel on purchases from another?
  • What would happen if you closed down the catalog division?

But there are many more reasons why we love Kevin’s blog:

  • He is a blogger with attitude. You can’t help but notice. His writing commands attention. (Everybody who has actually met him in person though says the nicest things about his character.)
  • Kevin is controversial. The only thing he seems to like better than to shoot down commonly held (but shaky) perceptions is to call out when technology vendors or consultants (“the pundits”) have no clothes on.
  • Kevin is blunt. He calls foul when shortsighted practitioners are kidding themselves, for example by neglecting to use controlled testing when measuring marketing results.

He instills trust by speaking as a practitioner rather than coming from a technology vendor’s background.

Timeless Hillstrom moments are some of the following blog posts:

I was trying to relocate many more older blog posts that were highly memorable. Yet neither the search box on the blog nor Google volunteered them back to me no matter what keywords I tried. Take bookmarks next time! Oh yeah, did I mention how prolific Kevin is?

For these and many other excellent lessons I would like to nominate Kevin Hillstrom as a Master of Multichannel Marketing.

Master of Multichannel Marketing

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