Surviving The Cross-Channel Haunted House

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, October 26, 2015

Today’s cross-channel challenges are comparable to making your way through a haunted house. It seems like every room has a different theme or element that can make marketing downright scary. But following some straightforward practices can help you market in a seamless world while curbing anxiety and possibly saving a few bloodcurdling screams along the way. Here are seven keys to surviving the cross-channel haunted house.

1. Never Go It Alone
It’s pretty clear that none of us would go to a haunted house alone, yet many marketers try to “go it alone” and figure things out by themselves. Advancements in technology, data collection, measurement and channels are moving so fast that no single person can understand it all at an expert level. It’s actually good to be afraid. That way, you’ll be more likely to ask questions and talk through strategies and tactics with your colleagues and vendors/partners so you’re not alone in the cross-channel mansion.



2. Expect Something To Happen
There’s always a room in a haunted house that’s completely dark and you don’t realize there’s anyone else around until they pop out of nowhere. It’s the element of surprise that gets us. In seamless marketing, there’s always something that’s going to pop up and freak out marketers. So expect the unexpected, roll with it and learn from it.

3. Look Up, Down And Sideways. Constantly.
In a haunted house, mirrors often distort reality to the point where you’re disoriented, caught off guard and likely to scream. In today’s cross-channel world, marketing data can act as those mirrors. Layers and layers of data positioned in different ways can alter reality, convincing even the smartest marketer of something that may not be “real.” The best advice here is to continually look up, down and in different directions. Questioning the “reality” of the measurement view increases our ability to stay grounded and not be fooled, no matter how real the data may seem.

4. Don’t Be Last In Line
Conventional thinking would say the last one in line could see what happens to the others in front of them. But that’s not the case because the last in line usually gets scared the most — or worse yet, gets snatched up by a zombie. Resist the urge to lag behind and be last in the marketing line. Many marketers are taking smart bets with test-and-learn mentalities and not waiting for others to go ahead of them. And the result is that they are learning how to better navigate and get through the cross-channel haunted house.

5. First In Line Doesn’t Guarantee Your Safety
Adhering to tip No. 4 doesn’t mean you always have to be first in line, although it can be pretty fun and rewarding to blaze the trail in the dark! Being the first also has its disadvantages and sometimes you may take a wrong turn. Stop for a second and make sure you’re positioned for smart innovation and at the same time not lagging behind.

6. Use All Of Your Senses
Spaghetti disguised as intestines. Cantaloupe rinds feel like brains. And peeled grapes act as eyeballs. All of these tricks work when we’re not able to use all of our senses. Our cross-channel marketing senses include creative, technology, strategy, mediums and measurement. In today’s world, we need to use all of our senses — and not fall for tricks — in order to deliver on seamless marketing. 

7. Beware Of Clowns
Ad blockers are the scary clowns with chainsaws in our cross-channel haunted house. But don’t worry. Although they’re scary as hell, they will not kill you. The topic of ad blockers (chainsaw-carrying clowns) is getting a lot of attention and rightfully so. Perhaps the best analogy about ad blockers and the potential demise of display ads is the same fear we had when DVRs were introduced and the marketing world was scared that TV ads would go away. So don’t let ad blockers scare the bejesus out of you.

Don’t Get Spooked
Although the cross-channel haunted house may be scary and even elicit a few screams, in the end it’s pretty exhilarating and fun. The keys to surviving are making sure you’re with a good group of people, keep looking around, question things and strive to be in the front of the pack. Happy Halloween.

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