What is cross channel marketing?

What is Cross Channel Marketing?

Higher performing marketing teams are 35 times more likely to use cross-channel marketing. The learning curve is steep. Their poorer performing competitors are still struggling to work out how to do it.

How can you communicate with your target consumer across many touchpoints? Why do you need to? Read on to learn the answer to these questions and more in this insight into cross channel marketing.

What is Cross Channel Marketing?

The terms “cross channel” and “multichannel” can be confusing.

Multichannel marketing is an approach to customers that recognizes that they experience brands in a complex way. A customer may hear about a product through Twitter. They may research it further by reading a blog and then check availability, prices and then buy it on a web site.

The delivery of that product may come from a fulfillment center that delivers to the customer’s home address. The customer may return the product to a store location where they exchange it for a different size. This is the world of multichannel.

How does cross channel marketing differ from this? The key difference is that cross channel marketing seeks to create a seamless consumer experience of a brand.

A customer’s visit to a web site can prompt an intelligently targeted email. The customer may also receive personalized direct mail and notifications. These may be about promotions and product launches that reflect their interests.

The email and other communication are consistent with the customer’s web research. It’s presented in a form that reflects their preferences.

1. Maximizing Customer Visibility

A major benefit of cross channel marketing is that it maximizes the visibility of the brand. It does this in a subtle way which is consistent with how the human mind handles information.

Availability bias is a phenomenon that is well understood by psychologists. A person is much more likely to recognize something in their environment if there are other factors which make it stand out from all the other information that is coming their way.

Take an example from everyday life. If you are considering buying a specific model of car, that model of car seems to appear with increased frequency throughout your day.

There’s not been an increase in the number of those cars in your surroundings. You are experiencing an availability bias.

Blanket marketing communication across all marketing channels can get lost. There’s a mass of communication activity.

Targeted marketing communication, prompted by a customer search, will tap into their availability bias. A social media advertisement that is consistent with a web search made by that customer is much more likely to register and elicit a response.

Unlike multichannel marketing that engages with customers at various stages in the purchasing journey, cross channel maximizes visibility because it tunes into the way the customer thinks and behaves. Tracking the customer’s journey will reveal insights that you can use to better serve their needs. An email may prompt a purchase but if not, it can be followed by a nudge using a push notification.

2. Mirroring Your Customer’s Lives

Customers are consuming media across a range of devices all through their day. One moment they are reading email on a computer screen, the next they pick up messages on WhatsApp on their smartphone. It’s also getting very common for people to consult a smartphone while in-store.

Cross-channel marketing recognizes this phenomenon and works with it. Messaging to customers about promotions or events can reflect the customer’s preferred media. This builds customer engagement and builds loyalty.

Customers can’t be expected to orient their use of media and marketing channels around brand preferences. They will follow their own lifestyle choices.

Successful cross channel marketing will pursue customers wherever they go. It mirrors their lives and behavior.

3. Optimizing Your Marketing

Cross channel marketing provides visibility of the customer’s experience of the brand but that’s not enough. Visibility can help you respond when opportunities to make a sale present themselves. But there’s more.

Your marketing strategy depends on investing your marketing dollars and effort in the right places. Cross channel marketing insights help you do that.

Knowing your customers is key. What web pages do they prefer and what services and products do they buy? What prompts a purchase?

This information helps you optimize your marketing. Rather than spread your marketing far and wide, you can target it precisely where it will get a return. Capturing data about your customers across all channels will help you do that.

This holy grail of marketing, real customer insight, means it’s personal. Each customer is being understood, communicated with and served personally.

Integrating Your Martech Tools

Understanding why you need cross channel marketing is one thing. Doing cross channel marketing is quite another. The main obstacle lies in the many technologies in your stack of marketing tools.

You may be benefiting from customer relationship management, content management and various ways of handling data. Dashboards and automation have been the flavor of the month and developments are often ad hoc and discontinuous.

True cross channel marketing needs integration across marketing technologies. For example, content management that is integrated with other data about customers can enable personalized communication with customers. It can present your customer with information about products and services they care about and make it easy for them to engage and buy.

Tracking the success or otherwise of marketing activity is vital. It’s only with an understanding of the whole customer experience of your brand that you can fully understand the effectiveness of your marketing. Did the social media campaign you ran six months ago, experienced by a particular customer, result in a web search and subsequent online purchase?

Next Steps

How do you take the next steps towards an integrated cross channel marketing approach?  You may see many obstacles but what are the opportunities? The successful marketing teams have already made their move.

Learn more by talking to the people who connect marketing tech.

David York
david@sureshot.io

David York has spent the last 15 years at the forefront of the martech revolution, and is an expert on its past, present and future.