There was a time when that was sufficient, but that’s not now. Today’s consumers are cross-channel to the core, moving seamlessly and simultaneously across all channels to engage with brands. Consumers don’t think or care about which channel they’re on. They care about -- and expect -- convenience and a meaningful experience, whether they’re strolling through a flagship store on Fifth Avenue or browsing new arrivals online after receiving an email notification that the winter 2013 line is just in. It’s time for marketers to evolve to the next level, to make providing a meaningful consumer journey across all channels their top priority, using data intelligence to improve the user experience at each step of the way.
Here are three ways that truly integrated cross-channel marketing can improve your marketing efforts and produce better end results:
1. Data. Here’s where it all begins. Cross-channel marketing strategies focus on the data around customer profiles, preferences, interactions and behavior to improve each consumer engagement. When you can connect your customer profile data with online cookies, social data, website data and online and offline transactions, you end up with a single view of the individual that provides the context and insight you need to create meaningful, personalized experiences for customers across channels.
2. Timing. Nothing is more frustrating than receiving an offer for a product or service that you just bought, and it’s even worse if it’s from the brand you just bought it from. This obvious miss is a symptom of a big disconnect between the data that marketing organizations collect from their customer interactions and the timing and content of the messages that they send at different points along the customer journey. True cross-channel marketing requires the ability to store, view and take action on dynamic data sets; the ability to use insights derived from that data to create, edit and proof targeted content; and the ability to orchestrate the timing of customer interactions across multiple channels. A cross-channel approach encourages marketers to focus less on the independent channel logistics required to deliver the content and more on creating consistent, relevant and timely experiences for customers when and where they engage with your brand.
3. Customer alignment. One of the biggest advantages of a cross-channel marketing approach is that it requires marketers to focus on developing individual customer journeys or experience paths that build upon the most recent customer interaction, regardless of the channel it took place on. This enables marketers to respond based on the customer’s last action, at the right time and on the right channel, based on the consumer’s current need. This approach not only builds brand affinity; that level of attention and service ultimately increases customer loyalty.
If cross-channel marketing were easy, we would all already be enjoying its benefits. Unfortunately, we all know there are no silver bullets. Implementing truly integrated cross-channel marketing requires harnessing breadth and depth of customer interaction data to determine consumer context and orchestrate relevant communications across channels. Once you have that, you will be able deliver truly meaningful experiences aligned to the needs and expectations of today’s fast-moving consumers.