If I asked you to guess, how many times a week would you say you interact with your favorite brands?

The number could be higher than you think. Consider each time you glance at a billboard, open a promotional email, walk past a person in a logo-covered shirt, or chat online with a customer service rep.

In fact, advertisers are expected to spend over $500 billion this year trying to reach consumers through moments like these. All with the goal of creating brand interaction, and turning prospective customers into converted ones.

A huge budget alone won’t necessarily guarantee these results, though. Different people interact with brands in different ways, at different times, and with different expectations. In order to reach users in the best and most cost-effective way, businesses need to have a plan.

Cue a touchpoint strategy.

I sat down with Julie Herbster, Quattro’s Vice President of Digital Strategy, to learn more about touchpoint solutions and strategies, and the number one reason a business should have one.

A touchpoint strategy aims to “seamlessly translate a brand’s promise and intent across a complex system of interconnected touchpoints.” Or more simply: create a consistent customer experience through all moments of brand interaction.

Julie explained these moments, or “touchpoints,” could involve any customer (current or prospective), at any time during the customer journey of awareness, consideration, decision-making, or purchase. When you picture a touchpoint solution, think branded content on social media, a promotional email, a company recommendation from a coworker, a customer service call, and more.

Hold on a minute though—

Take a moment to recognize that there is a distinct difference between a touchpoint and a channel. “Online” is a channel, but a website’s online chat tool could be a touchpoint, since it’s a brand-specific experience for the user. Similarly, “direct mail” is a channel, but a follow-up brochure mailed out to a new customer could be a touchpoint.

Based on her experiences with companies from across industries, I asked Julie the number one reason for a business to hone its own touchpoint strategy. Her response? “Simply put, it’s efficiency in marketing dollars.”

A comprehensive touchpoint strategy allows a business to track which touchpoints are effective individually (or only effective when combined with another touchpoint). Having this information makes it easier to decide where to cut/add media for next year’s budget. (Pro tip: Marketing automation tools make this type of attribution tracking simple by pulling data from across initiatives into one place.)

Creating a legitimate touchpoint strategy requires several factors: An accurate understanding of a customer’s journey, as well as cross-department collaboration to identify media lift across distribution channels. Here’s how Julie broke the process down:

1. Define your customer journey (through personas, customer feedback, etc.).

2. Collaborate to understand the touchpoints of different departments in a larger scope.

3. Build out a budget across channels.

4. Use attribution tracking to see which touchpoints/channels perform best, individually or together.

5. Re-allocate budget accordingly.

6. Continue to test and assess touchpoints for relevancy and ROI.

That last step is huge. Even after a touchpoint strategy is developed, businesses still need to assess again and again. Since what customers do and where they go to do it are ever-changing, yearly examinations of a touchpoint strategy will help a business stay relevant among its customers.

Thinking about creating (or at least revamping) your own touchpoint strategy? We can help; just give us a shout on Twitter @QuattroPhilly.