Cross-Channel Marketing Lacks Maturity, Consistency

Cross-channel marketing remains in its infancy, despite the adoption of multiple media channels in marketing campaigns. Most lack proper integration and consistency. A global research study suggests that consumers are like college students. They only want to hear from brands when the message rings true for them.

Experian Marketing Services commissioned Forrester Consulting in June 2014 to evaluate the attitudes of digital marketers, their experience and challenges with cross-channel marketing. The study surveyed 428 digital marketers globally. Forrester developed a hypothesis that tested the assertion that email marketers have core competencies that other digital marketing channels can build on for more integrated, relevant campaigns.

Limited integration between channels remains the biggest obstacle. The study asked marketers about the integration between various channels comprising their marketing programs. Even mature, effective channels such as email had limited integration, and only 54% of respondents said email was integrated with search retargeting -- and that was the most of any channel. On average, any two channels are integrated by only 45% of respondents. 

Only 50% of respondents said online customization was integrated with search retargeting, followed by targeted display ads integrated with search retargeting at 48%, email marketing and messaging in mobile apps at 48%, and Facebook updates and email marketing.

Cross-channel marketing requires effective use of data to be successful. Some 60% of marketers use data in the two least mature ways, and 24% said they use contextual data and customer data for a real-time view across channels.

China demonstrated the most mature use of customer data at 47%, followed by APAC region at 36%. North America came in last at only 13%, with 4% of U.S. respondents admitting they only apply customer data to individual, discrete channels.

The global research study, The Road to Cross-Channel Maturity, found that email can act as the foundation of cross-channel marketing campaigns. As noted, the study found that most companies now use digital channels as part of their marketing programs, but cross-channel marketing remains a work in progress. Despite the adoption of multiple channels, integration and coordination do not occur consistently, but email marketers have the skills to lead.


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