The first thing to understand about cross channel marketing is that the term isn’t interchangeable with multi-channel marketing. The latter simply refers to marketers’ attempts to drive customers through more than one channel (e.g. a blog, a Web site, TV and radio ads, direct mail, Facebook, email, telemarketing, pay per click ads). Cross channel marketing, on the other hand, implies some form of integration. Ideally, the integrated campaign is:
• consistent in its messaging
• effective (specifically, cost-effective)
• supported by an informed team (e.g. customer service reps, managers, vendors, Web site support technicians, franchise owners, etc.)
Although no one expects your first cross channel marketing campaign to be perfect, there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. They include:
• Create and maintain an up-to-date database of your customers’ responses (e.g. used a coupon code for free shipping) or lack of response (e.g. doesn’t open SMS offers), purchases, interests, returns and habits (e.g. checks in via Foursquare upon entering your bricks and mortar store).
• Retain a consistent message across channels. Consider your cross channel marketing efforts to be a single campaign. As much as possible, use the same photos, logos, content, voice, videos and offers.
• Make sure your team understands ALL the components of your cross channel marketing campaign in advance (online customers will sometimes call local stores with questions). When does the campaign begin and end? What codes are valid online? In stores? Are rainchecks available for out of stock items? What about substitutions? Is there a limit to the number of times a discount can be used? Can this promotion be used in conjunction with other offers? Can online purchases be returned to a bricks and mortar store?
• Allow your customers and followers sharing capabilities on blog content, discounts, upcoming sales and new products.
• Ensure that your links for specific products take customers directly to that item on your ecommerce site – not to the homepage, where they’d have to search all over again.
You’re likely doing something wrong (e.g. contacting the customer too frequently or not targeting your offers enough) if your customer:
• opts out of SMS
• unsubscribes from your email list
• blocks your email
• “de-friends” you on Facebook
• “unfollows” you on Twitter
• asks to be removed from your direct mail list
• dumps a full shopping cart due to high shipping costs
• is constantly returning products
• A customer posts about a negative (unresolved) experience with your company.
• Your Web site crashes (during heavy traffic)
• Your coupon code doesn’t work and you’re flooded with complaints – or worse, customers just give up
• Your toll-free number is wrong – or down
• The link to your site (e.g. in your PPC ad) is broken
• Your employees know virtually nothing about the marketing campaign (“Sorry, I don’t know how to input that discount in our register and the manager is at lunch right now.”)
• Customers unsubscribe but are never removed from your contacts list. They report you for SPAM violations. (Ditto with telemarketing.)
No matter what your industry, cross channel marketing is necessary to reach today’s busy, mobile, and often easily distracted customer. Keep your messaging consistent in your campaign, then measure results and adjust your efforts for the next campaign. Marketing without integration, consideration or evaluation will be a waste of your time – and your customer’s time. You’re already fighting for their attention – use it wisely.
How is your business using cross channel marketing? Share your successes here.Tagged: cross channel marketing, Facebook for business, Marketing, marketing campaign, multimedia marketing, social media, social media marketing campaign, Twitter for business