Cross Channel Delays!

As any self-respecting marketer is aware, cross channel marketing is an essential core of any effective digital marketing strategy in these technologically-obsessed times. Beth Kindig – of Business 2 Community website – even went as far as likening it to “managing a Formula 1 racing team. Real-time data from a variety of sources pours in every second and the difference between winning or losing lies in optimizing every single parameter in harmony with each other.”

Cross channel marketing is the ability to communicate intuitively with your audience over different channels such as PPC, Email, Social, etc. Read our recent interview with Robert Walker – MD of Xcite Digital – to learn more about how we are using it to help clients to market their business by finding the right customers and getting in front of them with a personalised message.

A report called “Trends in Integrated Marketing” – published in 2013 by Econsultancy and Adobe – found that only 12% of in-company business respondents said that their organisations took an integrated approach to all campaigns across all channels and that few companies regard themselves as ‘capable’ in this area. However, since things have moved on dramatically since then in terms of the variety of channels that feature in a typical customer journey one would assume that most companies have improved their cross channel marketing accordingly ….. NOT so!!

A follow on report – “Multichannel Reality Report” – published by Econsultancy and Adobe report in summer 2015 provided an insightful update about the use of cross channel marketing based on a global survey of 1,945 digital marketers and ecommerce professionals. Its findings are startling:

  • since 2013 there has been only marginal decrease (from 52% to 50%) in use of separate, non-connected technologies managing data for different channels;
  • Only 17% of responding organisations have current capability to analyse their customers’ journeys;
  • 67% of respondents saying they lack the systems to effectively map the mobile customer journey;
  • Only 21% of respondents claim a strong understanding of the retention phase but 42% think that email plays a ‘central role’ here;
  • Only around a quarter of companies use a cross channel campaign management tool.

The overall conclusion is that many businesses are still not making the most of this golden digital marketing opportunity, even though the research clearly showed that those organisations using cross channel campaign management tools are more likely to hit financial targets. So what needs to be done? More specifically, if you are one of the businesses that is for whatever reason experiencing cross channel delay, how can you go about changing this?

Based on the report, we would assume that most companies are trying to close the gap. For example, whilst only 17% of the responding organisations indicated that they are fully capable of analysing their customers’ journeys most of the other respondents appear to be either planning to have this capability or are working on it already.

This is the main hurdle to overcome in terms of any cultural change – the battle for hearts and minds! If your organisation is already committed to developing cross channel capability then you’re already halfway there. If not, then as a marketer you have serious work to do and need to put together a body of evidence to show the difference that cross channel marketing makes to the bottom line.

Once you have buy in you need to initiate the following actions:

  • Set goals for exactly what you are trying to achieve for each cross channel campaign
  • Decide which channels you are going to focus on. This may vary for different campaigns – different combinations of channels for different audiences at different times.
  • If these channels are not all owned by the same part of the organisation then be clear about who has to do what and also about how the credit (or blame!) for the campaign will be apportioned
  • Create a consistent message, brand and customer experience across all channels. The medium may be different and the message tailored accordingly, but the magic has to happen whatever combination of channels is being utilised.
  • Set up sound tracking processes. These do not have to be complex or expensive. Readily available tools such as Google Analytics may be a good starting point to enable you to perform the level of analysis that you initially need.
  • Respond to your analysis. There is no point doing analytics if you don’t then tweak your usage of different channels as needed.

This would get you off to a flying start and this topic is one that we will come back to in future articles. Our final word from Robert Walker sums up why cross channel marketing is so important:

“Every single interaction with a customer is a marketing touch point, and adds to the impression you make with that customer. It is statistically proven that the more positive engagements you have with customers, the greater the volume of sales, but only if they are consistent. For example, if you present a consistent brand over social, search, email etc then those customers are going to be more attached to your brand than someone who doesn’t. Therefore consistency and volume is the key, i.e. broadcasting regularly and often through social and search, tying everything together, and being able to react quickly to changes.”

Don’t let your business suffer from any further cross channel delays, jump in and start now!!