You hear it bandied around the office on a daily basis; you spend meetings name dropping it to sound cool; it’s been sitting at the top of your to-do list for six months.
Cross-channel marketing: what is it, and why is it so important?
In this blog post, we’ll start by looking at its current definition—touching on its multifarious benefits—before rolling out our crystal ball to predict what’s in store for the future.
Simply put, cross-channel marketing puts the customer first—it draws on all of the data and marketing channels available to communicate with customers and prospective customers in a way that offers them the best customer experience, and encourages loyalty.
For a brand to implement cross-channel marketing, marketers first need to establish a single customer view (SCV) – to recap, a single customer view involves collating all of a customer’s data—from demographic details to their interactions with your site to their purchase history and more—and consolidating it into a single record.
By having a SCV, marketers are able to track and analyse all of a customer’s touch points with a brand, be it online or offline, and consequently implement the best cross-channel strategy possible.
Another key component to cross-channel marketing is the customer lifecycle—using what you know about each unique customer to develop campaigns that nurture them through their journey.
Which brings us to the “cross-channel” part. As the name suggests, cross-channel marketing incorporates all of the different touch points in the customer journey and treats them as a whole, rather than separate entities. This enables you to reach out to customers across multiple touchpoints, including:
This holistic approach to the above touchpoints, combined with a detailed view of who a customer is and where they are in the customer lifecycle, enables a marketer to deliver a consistent message across each channel and therefore offer a truly integrated experience.
There are a number of obvious and not-so-obvious benefits to cross-channel marketing, spanning short term success to long-term ROI.
That said, on the road to reaching the above benefits, marketers will inevitably have to overcome a few stumbling blocks.
To help you visualise what cross-channel marketing (can) look like, here’s a recent example from French brand Nina Ricci (Parfums).
Social media promotion of competition 〰️ website submission 〰️ email follow up 〰️ direct mail
To mark Valentine’s Day 2017, French brand Nina Ricci (Parfums) ran a campaign entitled #MyBestValentine celebrating the friendship found between best friends.
The campaign, heavily promoted on social media (particularly Instagram) invited followers of the brand to get involved by submitting a picture of themselves with their best friend on the brand’s website to create a cool gif, decorated with emojis by illustrator Ana Strumpf.
This gif was then followed up by an email (shown below, in French as we used a French account), asking recipients to submit their mailing address to receive their bespoke gif in the form of a patch via post.
And here are a few hypothetical examples of cross-channel in action to get your creative juices flowing:
…the list goes on!
When it comes to cross-channel marketing, long-term retention is key. The overall goal is to keep a customer close and guide them through every step of their journey with your brand.
Looking to the future, AI promises to optimise and eventually transform cross-channel marketing—with technology automatically deciding which channel to target customers on, and at what time, in order to secure a purchase.
This will enable marketers to always stay on top of changing consumer behaviours, and cater to their needs accordingly.
Take the first step toward smarter customer marketing