The ways that customers engage with products and brands have changed. They may interact with your business in multiple places at multiple times before making a purchasing decision.
If you don’t meet customers with exactly what they need at every touchpoint, you will miss out on opportunities to create a better customer experience and nurture them through the sales funnel.
When adopting cross-channel marketing, you take the time to learn which platforms your target audience is using and when. Then, you optimize your marketing strategy so that you can be present in every stage of the marketing journey with personalized messages.
What Is Cross-Channel Marketing?
Cross-channel marketing involves using a combination of marketing channels to reach customers with relevant messaging and information during the buying process. By developing a strategy that encompasses the various channels, marketing teams can create a sense of cohesiveness in their messaging.
From the customer’s perspective, they are met with precisely the engagement they need at that particular point.
What Is an Example of Cross-Channel Marketing?
Imagine a company that sells high-end kitchen appliances. To adopt cross-channel marketing, it would first gain an understanding of how its customers approach the buying process.
The company would identify the various platforms used to engage and the specific information being sought from each one. This includes customer interactions in physical store locations. Then, they would use that information to create pinpoint-accurate marketing content, which could involve multiple approaches:
- Investing in Google Ads and local television and radio advertising
- Improving product pages with demo videos
- Reaching out to customers who watch videos with an email drip campaign
- Uploading product comparison and troubleshooting videos to YouTube
- Creating an app that contains features for shopping online or in-store
- Sharing customer testimonials via sponsored posts on Facebook
- Sending an SMS notification with a discount code
The specific content and channels will vary by industry and company. However, the idea is the same: Understand where prospects engage with your brand at every point in the sales funnel — awareness, consideration, decision-making, and purchasing. Then, implement the right strategy and content.
What Are the Benefits of Cross-Channel Marketing?
It isn’t easy to implement a cross-channel marketing strategy that works, but it is worth the effort. With this strategy, marketing teams will not only create opportunities to impress prospective customers but also gain insights into customer behaviors and preferences.
Create More Engagement
Customers who engage with you across multiple channels are more likely to make regular purchases. Additionally, frequent interactions between brands and consumers create emotional connections. This is often the factor that determines whether someone develops a sense of brand loyalty.
Keep in mind that you cannot achieve this level of engagement passively. You have to know where customers are and reach out to them. Be proactive. Ask followers to share your posts. Use branded hashtags. These steps and others will encourage your target audience to interact with your brand.
Improve the Customer Journey
Cross-channel marketing requires a holistic approach and a better understanding of the customer journey. With this approach, brands can better identify the specific marketing techniques that motivate customers to take action.
This improved accuracy allows brands to invest more in marketing that will bring a higher ROI. Cross-channel marketing also addresses the fact that customers aren’t just interacting with brands on different platforms; they are also making purchases on different channels.
Remember that your customers will engage with both online and offline channels — and that a customer’s buying journey is not always linear.
All of this means more opportunities to reach your target audience. However, you must develop consistency and connection from one channel to another. Marketing teams that can do this well will see more engagement and conversions. They will also improve the customer journey.
Strengthen Branding and Visibility
Keeping your company in front of people on multiple channels increases your visibility and offers you more opportunities to present a stronger brand identity. This can increase customer loyalty and brand recall.
A company that has adopted cross-channel marketing might have all of the following:
- A company website
- An app
- Brick-and-mortar stores
- A presence across multiple social media sites
- Online advertising
- TV commercials
If the company maintains the same messaging and visual branding across these channels, prospective customers are more likely to gain familiarity with its brand. Customers who have already entered the sales funnel will gain trust as they see that consistency throughout their customer journey.
Strategies for Successful Cross-Channel Marketing
When you create a cross-channel marketing campaign, you want to build engaging, relevant customer experiences along the way. Use these strategies to get the best possible results.
Use All Available Data to Refine Your Customer Personas
When you develop strong customer personas using individual and aggregate data, you will better understand your customers’ motivations and the paths they will take through the customer journey. You will also learn where they are already engaging.
Additionally, if you use both personal and aggregate data, you are in a good position to identify patterns of behaviors and similarities between different customer groups.
You can use these insights to develop a cross-channel marketing strategy with messaging that works and earns consistent results.
Cross-channel marketing works best when it’s built on a foundation of data. That’s why it’s imperative to have a suite of marketing tools that includes a reliable analytics platform. In addition to that, marketing automation can be used to take over repetitive tasks and allow more time for creating better strategies.
Here are a few things that marketing technology can do:
- Paid ad campaign management
- Social media post management and timing
- Email campaigns
- SMS automation
- Content planning
The best technology stack will allow you to execute your cross-channel marketing strategy more efficiently and provide the data you need to continue to optimize it.
Use Data to Make Better Decisions
Your campaigns will only succeed if you select the right platforms and deliver the right messages. To do that, you need a clear understanding of your customers, their preferences, and their behaviors.
You must extract and analyze data from various platforms and touchpoints both before and after implementing your cross-channel strategy. This data will provide important context to user behaviors and allow you to see connections between engagement
Optimize Your KPIs
After your campaign runs for some time, you will begin to refine what customer behaviors are most desirable at various touchpoints in the customer journey. As you do, you will need to adjust your KPIs accordingly. This will ensure that you are using the correct metrics to measure the campaign’s performance.
Potential Challenges Encountered in Cross-Channel Marketing
Cross-channel marketing is challenging, especially if you haven’t previously analyzed your customer journey. When you begin, you will have to evaluate multiple channels and adopt some that you may not have worked with before.
You could also find yourself doubling down on your commitment to established channels. This alone can create a significant amount of work for your marketing team. It can also create a few challenges.
Accessing the Best Possible Data
There’s more data available to brands now than ever before. Unfortunately, the quality of that data isn’t always what you need to act on it. This is even more challenging thanks to the loss of third-party cookies. Organizations that used to rely on that information will need to find new information sources.
Select the Ideal Marketing Channels
It is surprisingly difficult to select the right channels for marketing campaigns. You must identify where your audience is spending time, when or if they engage with your business on those platforms, and how valuable each platform is in the customer journey.
For example, you might find that most customers engage with your brand on Facebook. However, most of this engagement comes from prospects at the awareness stage.
At the same time, a smaller number of customers engage with your brand on YouTube. However, this group tends to be much further along in the customer journey, and your analytics show more conversion actions on that platform than on Facebook. In that case, YouTube might be the more valuable channel.
In this example, it may be worthwhile investing more in YouTube. At the same time, it would be a mistake to ignore Facebook entirely as a helpful platform for customers in the early stages of the buying process.
It’s also important to remember that cross-channel marketing isn’t about creating multiple campaigns for multiple channels; it’s about connecting those channels to create better user experiences.
Getting Marketing Attribution Right
Proper attribution is always a challenge for marketing teams. When you are coordinating multiple platforms, attributing actions back to the right channel can be even more challenging.
Some companies simply choose not to use any sort of an attribution model. The problem with that is that marketing teams have difficulty determining where they are getting the best ROI on their advertising and marketing budgets.
Another challenge is that not all conversions can be tied back to the precise metric that influenced that action. For example, a customer might not click on a sponsored Instagram post, but the content could still motivate them to make a future purchase.
Adding Text and Email Channels
As you create your cross-channel strategy, don’t forget about outbound channels like text and SMS. Contact Consumers can guide you through developing these campaigns and ensuring they integrate seamlessly with your overall marketing efforts.