Why Cross Channel isn’t everything, it’s the only thing

If the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the term “cross channel” is either “ferry” or “swimming” then take note: It should be “marketing”!! If your digital marketing strategy does not encompass cross-channel marketing then you could be missing a trick.

So what exactly is cross-channel marketing? We did a blog last summer about multi-channel marketing – i.e. the practice of using different channels to reach different target audiences at different times. Cross-channel marketing is the next step forward in that it is about creating a cohesive and seamless digital marketing strategy that uses various different channels simultaneously.

Cross-channel marketing is certainly a lot more than just the latest jargon. Research by iMashable last year revealed that 72% of consumers prefer an integrated marketing approach. They can use their favourite means of communication to find out the same message, so it needs to be available in a number of different ways. There is also evidence to suggest that multi-channel customers potentially spend three to four times more than single-channel customers.

So, what combinations of channels have been proven to work well together? MediaPost released a report in 2013 showing that the most popular cross-channel combinations for adults age 18-64 were:

  • Computer / Mobile
  • TV / Mobile
  • Computer / TV
  • Radio / Mobile
  • Computer / Radio

They produced a chart (see below) to show trends in these pairings. For example, Computer / Mobile was the most popular pairing during work hours (9am – 5pm), TV / Mobile rises ahead in the evening (5pm – 11pm). Interestingly, the Computer / Mobile pairing hits its lowest point on weekend evenings.

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Back to multi-tasking: another growing and essential trend in cross-channel marketing is to include interactivity to enable consumers to respond immediately. This can be along traditional call to action lines or a more subtle approach via social media.

For the former there are click-to-call and offer extensions to PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, enabling the consumer to call immediately or to print out a coupon there and then that can then be redeemed at their convenience. Social media interaction can be generated by including hashtag overlays to generate discussion on Twitter. This is used a lot on TV shows and advertising but can also be co-opted into various other elements of your digital marketing strategy.

How can you ensure that your cross-channel marketing actually works rather than is just done for the sake of it? We recommend three guiding principles:

  1. Ensure full visibility and transferability of customer information across all channels. Use analytical tools to mine comprehensive and significant data from all channels and streamline marketing processes so that this forms part of a coherent whole;
  2. Always be flexible about which marketing channels you use. As we have seen above, response varies to different combinations of channels for different audiences at different times. It is essential to keep up with these trends so that you stay ahead of the game rather than pouring effort into ineffective combinations;
  3. Create a consistent and positive 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.

At Xcite Digital one of our specialisms is cross-channel marketing. Our Accelerate cross marketing programme is a powerful cross channel marketing programme, designed to reach audiences over multiple channels and convert them through your website. It delivers and optimises PPC, SEO, Social, Content, Email, Creative and UX using cross channel data.

We will feature the Accelerate CMP in a future article. For now, be aware that cross-channel marketing is here to stay, and needs to be at the core of any clever contemporary digital marketing strategy.