Cross-Channel Marketing: What is it and why do you need it?

Posted by David Buckle

We are living in a world that is more connected than ever. With today’s consumers constantly switched on: constantly checking emails, social media and even interacting online with voice technology, it can be a challenge as a brand to cut through the noise.

This is why you need omnichannel or cross-channel marketing, an approach that allows brands to seamlessly communicate with consumers across multiple touchpoints. And it makes sense, right? None of us exist in just one sphere, a holistic and connected approach to our marketing keeps our messaging seamless and our branding consistent.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is the process of using multiple platforms, such as apps, email, social media or blog content, to give your audience a seamless and consistent multi-channel experience.

It is almost impossible to get the maximum ROI on your content marketing if you’re not using an omnichannel approach to distribute your content. In a world saturated with content, you need a cross-channel approach to ensure your content actually gets seen.

What are the benefits of a cross-channel marketing approach?

Traditionally, brands have focused on a single digital channel at a time, however, nothing exists in a vacuum. By using multiple channels together and creating a cross-channel advertising approach, you have a bigger opportunity to target more users at various stages of the marketing journey and it allows you to seriously elevate your paid ads performance.

Increased engagement

Communicating with consumers on a single marketing channel might generate some success but it also means that you are reliant on a certain type of user behaviour. For example, email marketing might rely upon someone checking their email first thing in the morning. However, by using multiple channels, you are able to reach consumers at different times of the day as well as at different points of the sales journey. For example, an email might drive click-through, but an email combined with a delayed push notification might be enough of a nudge to remind a consumer to follow through and buy.

Improve loyalty

As customers engage with your brand on a more regular basis, the chances of them becoming and staying loyal to that brand also increases. This is mainly due to the consistency in message, one of the key features of cross-channel marketing. Regardless of where a customer is in their day, a cross-channel approach ensures that customers will have the same experience across their interactions with your marketing. This is likely to result in increased satisfaction, leading to repeat interaction and engagements.

Alignment with consumer behaviour

Are you one of the 53% of UK adults who media multi-task on a weekly basis? According to a study by MediaOcean, these users are spending an average of seven hours a day consuming media across multiple screens. We’ve all browsed social media whilst watching television, right?

This multi-screen approach to consuming content, plus the growth in ‘webrooming’ and ‘showrooming’, where consumers research on a mobile device before shopping in-store (or vice-versa), proves that user behaviour, and their attention space, is more fractured than ever before.

Therefore, by adopting a cross-channel marketing approach with cohesion across their online and offline marketing, you are effectively engaging with your audience at multiple points. This works even better when it’s personalised and tailored.

Proven ROI

By combining your efforts into a cross-channel marketing approach, it will help you to break down the silos that disturb the metrics and don’t always accurately represent the success of your marketing campaign.

Not only will you be combining your marketing, you’ll have a unified idea of your goals. For example, in a single marketing approach, your email marketing team might be focused on the open rate or the CTR, whilst your social team is focused on engagement through impressions or likes. At the same time, your content team are just looking at the views on the latest blog. When a sale is made, each of these channels want to take the credit for that win through a ‘last interaction’ metric. However, by integrating your channels and looking at your efforts across your whole marketing approach, you’ll be able to clearly map out your customer’s touchpoints. Creating a clearer roadmap for refining your marketing approach and getting more out of your investments, as well as helping to avoid vanity metrics.

How to Get Started with Cross-Channel Marketing

Step 1: Get to know your audience

Before you do anything, make sure you know your audience and their likes, their pain points and challenges and their behaviours. If you don’t already have clearly defined customer personas, map these out before starting a cross-channel marketing approach.

Step 2: Unify your data

Any successful marketing campaign is going to be date-driven, cross-channel marketing is no different. The backbone of any successful cross-channel strategy is knowing having a unified customer data platform (CDP). Often, your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform will be able to manage this data for you, so you’ll be able to get started using the tools that you already have. Regardless of the CDP software that you use, you need to make sure that you have the analytical data that captures each of your customer’s touch points available.

This data should be able to show you which emails a customer has been sent and how they’ve interacted with them, which social campaigns made an impression on them, the blogs that they read, the PPC campaigns they clicked and any conversations they might have had with your sales or customer services team. Your CDP needs to be able to show you the
data for whatever channels that you use (or will use) for your marketing campaigns.

Stay informed about your customer traffic through your website by signing up for Google Analytics which can usually tell you which channel your customer used to reach your website.

The only way to gauge the effectiveness of your multi-channel approach is to track your customer responses, although this is slightly easier said than done. Whilst most channels have extensive analytics available: Facebook and twitter can track customer interaction; Google Analytics can track the movement of every customer through your site. Unfortunately, these individual data sets do not always integrate easily.

A comprehensive CRM system can counter this challenge for you. Most CRM software services integrate all customer date from social media channels to website views. By having a complete overview of your customer behaviour across your channels, you can make adjustments to your marketing.

Step 3: Analyse your customer data

Although it can be hard to know which channel or interaction convinced your customer to make a sale, experimenting will allow you to test your data and behaviour insights so you can learn more about your customers.

Take a look across all of your data from Google Analytics to your Facebook Pixel tracking and look at all of your touch points and assess if there are any clear trends of successes or failures that you can identify. For example, leads that have converted into customers will have something in common, whether that’s a number of interactions, average time spent interacting or a specific campaign that had great conversion rates. Data driven insights are the best for allowing you to really get to know your customers and their behaviours.

By analysing your data and creating a clear picture of the segments within your customer database, you’ll be able to make insightful decisions on which channels to prioritise and the type of content that performs best across your channels.

Step 4: Unify your interactions

Now that you know your customers inside and out and you’ve analysed and segmented them based upon their interactions, the next step is to customise your content so that it matches each viewer’s need.

The most direct way to do this is to use smart content that says: ‘if a viewer has done x, show them y.’ But you’ll only be able to do this if you have all of your customer interaction data unified in your CDP system. Because you’ll be able to clearly see what your view has done and how they’ve interacted with your brand so far, you’ll be able to build your future interactions based upon established touch points.

Step 5: Repurpose your content

The best way to unify your content is to adapt one piece of content for different platforms. Create an in-depth blog post that discusses a subject of interest, you can then publish this blog on your website. You can then repurpose the blog as a script and create a YouTube video summarising the main ideas of the blog, whilst developing more on practical parts such as the tips or steps to take next. Once the video is live on YouTube, you can crop it into short teaser clips to announce your new video. Once that is done, you can once again repurpose the blog or video, creating a carousel post on Instagram that offers top tips or a
Facebook advert.

Content is king in this digital world. It can easily be repurposed, but you need to keep in mind that sharing the exact same format on each channel will not help you with your marketing strategy. Customers love personalisation and that includes personalising the content to fit the different channels and being responsive to your customers behaviours on those platforms.

Step 6: Test, Review and Optimise

As with any strategy, it’s important to audit and review your efforts regularly. Make sure that you’re running experiments such as A/B split tests in your email marketing campaigns. Adjust the demographic of your target audience on your Facebook adverts, or review the placement of your calls-to-action.

Make sure you’re analysing and reviewing how your marketing strategies affect the different channels. As you prepare to implement cross-channel marketing campaigns, you’ll be able to improve on each step with the new data that you’ve accrued.

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