Why you should adopt a cross-channel marketing strategy
With today’s audiences being more connected than ever before, seamlessly switching between marketing channel and device, multiple times a day is now considered the norm. Throw in the rise of voice search over the past couple of years into the mix and catering for ever changing consumer preferences and behaviour becomes that bit more challenging.
Most companies will be implementing a multi-channel marketing strategy, however what elevates a good marketing strategy to a great marketing strategy is the implementation of cross-channel marketing (sometimes referred to as omni-channel marketing).
Although cross-channel marketing is not exactly a new phenomenon, evolving consumer behaviour is continually putting a greater emphasis on brands needing to nail this area of marketing strategy.
What’s the difference between multi-channel and cross-channel marketing?
Two marketing strategies that can be easily confused, multi-channel marketing is the implementation of marketing activity across more than one channel, typically with no synergy and cohesion between the channels, and owning their own set of KPI’s to determine success.
Cross channel marketing on the other hand, is very much the coordination and cohesion of consumer touchpoints across multiple marketing channels, switching the focus from ‘how do we make each marketing channel work?’ to ‘how do we interact with each user?’, regardless of the marketing channel.
No longer do consumers expect to be shown irrelevant marketing messages, and with personalisation at the heart of their expectations, what better way to build brand advocacy than to continue building your relationship with consumers by continually adding value.
Examples of cross-channel marketing could be as simple as an email campaign aimed at consumers who have abandoned their shopping basket with an incentive to complete the purchase or implementing a retargeting display campaign to users who have viewed particular commercial pages on your website.
Check out these 5 examples of global brands finding success implementing cross-channel marketing campaigns.
What are the long-term benefits of cross channel marketing?
A key benefit of cross-channel marketing is the increase in potential engagement levels gained when compared to multi-channel marketing. Being able to target consumers based on their stage in the purchasing cycle is a priceless advantage, that not only eliminates the risk of irrelevant advertising, but increases the chance of nurturing that consumer further down the sales funnel.
It is widely recognised that word of mouth advertising is one of the most powerful marketing tools when it comes to influencing consumer purchases, with driving loyalty and brand advocacy the first step in achieving this form of marketing.
The more consumers have a positive experience when engaging with a brand, the stronger the relationship becomes, increasing the chances of endorsing the brand to their community.
What are the barriers to overcome?
Whilst implementing cross-channel marketing feels like a no-brainer, the reality is there are still barriers to overcome in order for this to be effective.
The creation of a single customer view (SCV)
When implementing a multi-channel marketing campaign, a by-product of this is typically resulting in siloed data. This is where large amounts of customer data has been gathered and segmented by channel behaviour as opposed to more useful insights such as stage in the buying process.
Without a SCV, irrelevant and fractured marketing messaging can appear, having a detrimental impact on driving brand loyalty and engagement.
Experian does a great job at explaining the benefits of SCV and is definitely worth checking out (Remember to download the PDF at the end for future reference).
Breaking down silos
As mentioned above, siloed marketing channels leads to siloed marketing data which limits the value that can be gathered from it. Working towards a set of KPIs to determine success focused on the user journey as opposed to the marketing channel is a good first step to take.
This change in strategy should lead to a wider discussion around campaign measurement and channel attribution. Focusing on the consumer journey should lead to more analysis on various touchpoints and a greater understanding of the role each channel plays in a conversion (micro and macro). For more information on marketing attribution models why not check this article out.
Take a look at our 4-step approach to implementing your cross-channel marketing strategy:
1. Analyse your customer data
An effective cross-channel strategy has customer data at the heart of it. Too much guesswork exists when it comes to analysing customer behaviour, when in fact the smart play is to build systems around what your customers actually do.
How valuable would it be to answer:
- Which consumers are using which devices to interact with the brand?
- How far along the buying process do certain channels become more effective?
- Which channels move a user through the buying process most effectively?
- What messaging on each channel drives the best engagement?
- What channels drive the most meaningful engagement?
Understanding your customer’s habits and behaviours is achieved by analysing customer data.
2. Integrate your marketing channels
The Data & Marketing Association define ‘Integrated Marketing’ as;
“Integrated Marketing is an approach to creating a unified and seamless experience for consumers to interact with the brand/enterprise; it attempts to meld all aspects of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, public relations, direct marketing, and social media, through their respective mix of tactics, methods, channels, media, and activities, so that all work together as a unified force. It is a process designed to ensure that all messaging and communications strategies are consistent across all channels and are centered on the customer”
Granted, it’s a bit wordy, however I couldn’t write it better myself and highlights the one thing that is imperative to a successful cross-channel strategy… the consumer. Ever seen a promotion ad incentivising you to click on it, with the expectation of being able to take advantage of the promotion, to only find out the promotion has ended? Integrating your marketing channels ensures this doesn’t happen. Consumers fed irrelevant and inaccurate messaging is frankly the exact opposite of what a consumer’s expectations represent in 2018. Successful channel integration should seamlessly direct a consumer down the sales funnel making it easier to drive revenue.
3. Personalise your cross-channel campaigns
With today’s consumers bombarded daily by multiple brand messages across multiple platforms 24/7 365, standing out in the crowd is no easy feat. With an on-demand mentality now adopted generation-wide, consumers do not want to be shown standardised, generic messaging that is somehow meant to persuade them enough to take immediate action. Personalisation is one of the few ways to separate your business from the competition. You want to offer a different experience that benefits the consumer and adds value they don’t get elsewhere.
“Cross-channel marketing is about building meaningful experiences and using fine-grain personalization to deliver the right message, at the right time, across the right channel, and to the right individual. It’s also important to stress the concept of delivering messages at the right time, which may not necessarily equate to real time,” states Stephanie Maziol, senior product marketing manager at Adobe.
5 key types of marketing personalisation that most brand are implementing in one way or another are;
- Using customer details
- Behavioural triggered emails
- Product recommendations on the website
- Personalised call-to-actions
- Customer profiling
4. Measure & Optimise Performance
“Customers who interact with more than one marketing channel have a 30% higher Lifetime Value than those who shop on only one” (2015 study by IDC)
Just how would we know this? Through measuring the behaviour of our consumers and continually optimising the campaigns that’s how. Simply creating a cross-channel strategy is not the end of the line but using the performance data and making insightful observations, and using those observations to make strategic decisions is where the real continual value is found.
In order to measure correctly it is important to set out a list of KPIs that will determine of your objective has been met. This also ties into the barriers of cross-channel marketing mentioned previously. Breaking down silo departments, normally split by marketing channel with their own set of KPIs is a requirement to ensure all departments are singing off the same hymn sheet when it comes to determining success and failure.
Following this process can help ensure that all marketing channels are not only pulling in the right direction but has the consumer at the heart of all decision making which is imperative to a successful marketing strategy.
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