Classic linear customer journeys are dead and it’s time to move on. We know that today’s customer, regardless of industry, is moving from device to device, moving from online to offline, and often times sharing the love with other members of their network or in their own household. It’s no longer valid to prescribe a one-size-fits all path to success. How do you define success anyway? It’s different to every consumer. As marketers how can we make sense of all these touchpoints? How can we automate and coordinate the experience? What about the data?
Classic batch and blast direct marketing campaigns played the numbers game. Higher volume activity drove a certain portion of clicks, opens, and conversions. More mail in the trash with the hopes for an occasional purchase. What marketers often overlooked was the diminishing impact that activity had on the consumer in the long term. Gaining a short term win for the sake of marketing attribution is not worth the cost of fatiguing a customer and losing them for life. What’s the saying about the cost to acquire versus retain?
Then we entered the multichannel marketing paradigm. We focused on adding email, direct mail, text messaging, mobile apps, Facebook – you name it. We blasted to all of these channels with reasonable amount of efficiency, but again what about the data? Often times these channels had separate databases, data structures, un-coordinated messages, and lots of content. Oh, did I mention lots of data?
Further adding to the complexity, how can we address today’s consumer in a cross-channel marketing world? How can we ensure that all touch points are contextual and relevant, all while driving conversions and delighting the customer? How can we ensure that the data collected from any source is leveraged and orchestrated? Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing?
Here are five quick reasons to consider moving your marketing mindset from mass marketing to cross-channel marketing:
1. Your customers expect it.
Whether or not they even realize it, today’s consumers are connected to 15 billon devices and growing, engage in as many as five channels, and often jump from consideration to purchase lifecycle phases and back again in perpetuating cycles. The experience you deliver to your customer must be orchestrated. It must be consistent. It must be cross-channel. Oh, and it can’t be annoyingly transparent. This comes back to the data. You need to understand customer history and provide them with the right experiences, but you need to do it in such a way that is subtle. Just because you know a lot about a consumer does not mean you should flaunt that insight. With great data insight comes great responsibility.
2. It drives relevance.
I always say content is king and context is queen. Without great data, your content has very little impact. Great data is not just saying you have their address, email address, name, and their preferences. This means you have data from all aspects of the consumer’s journey, whether its unstructured data such as social media and web data or semi-structured data like keywords and metadata. Relevance drives engagement and engagement is the key to generating long term customer loyalty and brand advocates. If you can automate this process with insight from the wisdom of the crowds, you are really ahead of the curve.
3. It further unifies your organization.
Multiple channels mean multiple silos. We all know that many organizations are set up around channels and somehow orchestrating them is an organizational and political hurdle as much as it is a technology challenge. This is a great opportunity to break down the silos, force the cross-company collaboration between website and email, or direct mail and social. This also bridges the divide between Marketing and IT. The role of the Chief Customer Experience Officer (CXO) has increasingly played a role in this paradigm. Of course the technology cannot solve all problems, but the strategy of being cross-channel will further usher your organization toward better alignment and customer centric focus.
4. It centralizes your view of the customer.
None of us wants to hear another “360-degree view of the customer” diatribe. However, there is real value in being able to combine big data, unstructured, semi-structure, and structured data, from any source, together in one place to be leveraged in any channel. This “golden record” does not magically appear out of the sky. This requires your data to be merged, cleansed, de-duped, joined, and keyed. This type of work, if done correctly, can be highly automated and save you and your database marketing brethren huge headaches. By enabling data to go through this process, you can ensure success with the most foundational elements of your customer engagement process, effective targeting and personalization.
5. Your business depends on it.
Research shows that an increasing amount of organizations are investing in cross-channel marketing technology. The payoff can be significant if done well. Major brands like WGBH, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, and numerous others have seen significant lift by being able to orchestrate their campaigns with greater efficiency and effectiveness. By more precisely targeting your customers and leveraging rich data and insights, you can take better action and engage more consistently, driving lights out results.
What are your thoughts? Have you tried to implement cross-channel marketing? What are your successes or failure?