Consumers have been evolving with technology, and now seamlessly move between channels even during the course of the same transaction. What companies need to do is to catch up with the consumers and structure their campaigns for cross channel marketing. Cross channel marketing can provide invaluable insights into customer behavior, which can lead to better campaigns and improved customer experience.
What is cross channel marketing?
Cross channel marketing is understanding how one type of marketing channel can boost the visibility of another type of marketing channel. For example, a banner ad can be placed on a website where it could catch the attention of a visitor to that website. The banner ad prompts the visitor to search for that product or service and ultimately reach a landing page or website where a conversion can happen.
Without the banner ad, the consumer might not have thought to look for that particular product or service, but one led to the other; this is how cross channel marketing works. Companies can better understand how cross channel marketing is working for them by observing every touch point with the customer all the way down the funnel.
How is cross channel marketing different from multi-channel marketing?
There is a very distinct difference between multi-channel marketing and cross channel marketing. Multi-channel marketing is using different media channels to market a product or service. For example, you could send out a promotional email to your mailing list about a special discount on your products. You could also put an ad on social media platforms about the discount. While both these mediums are advertising the same discount, they are two different ad campaigns.
With cross channel marketing, one channel is leading to the next and so on until the sale is made. A Facebook ad, which causes a user to visit a landing page, is an example of cross channel marketing. The social media platform and the landing page are two touchpoints where the same customer has interacted with two different marketing channels with the first one leading to the second. When cross channel marketing is accounted for, the step before the conversion at the landing page is also given importance and shows the correct path in the customer journey.
Why do we need cross channel marketing?
It is very rare that a visitor arrives at a website or landing page by accident and gets converted to a paying customer. The path to the landing page is usually helped along by one or more forms of marketing. The customer searches for a product that they are looking for, could have heard about a service from a friend, or could have been made aware of a brand through social media marketing. This is called the discovery cycle.
When the discovery cycle is better understood, more effort can be put into it to make it more effective. If word of mouth works for some customers, then having strong testimonials from satisfied customers might be a nice touch to ad along the customer journey. These efforts help increase brand awareness, bring in potential new customers, and increase recall.
What are the challenges of cross channel marketing?
Cross channel marketing can be challenging to adopt. It is better for agencies to enter into cross channel marketing being aware of the difficulties that might crop up so that they can be prepared with solutions or countermeasures.
Some of the challenges of cross channel marketing include:
Multiple channels: To begin with, there are so many channels available to marketers that integration and optimization in each channel can be a mammoth task. The fact that these channels are constantly changing and innovating doesnâ€™t make things easier, and marketers constantly have to keep up with new developments.
Disconnect between departments: Many companies have different departments handling different marketing channels. While each department has gotten used to functioning independently, cross channel marketing makes it essential for each department to start working in collaboration with the others. This could take time and effort.
Measuring and reporting: Each channel generates its data, which then has to be measured and analyzed. Copious amounts of data make this difficult within a single channel, but with cross channel marketing, it becomes necessary to collate data from multiple channels and then measure and analyze it. Another problem that comes up is the attribution of revenue. For cross channel marketing to be successful, the right channel needs to receive attribution for generating income and not just the last entry in the funnel.
What are the solutions?
Solutions to the problems faced in implementing cross channel marketing can be found by looking at the whole picture. Every touch point along the revenue-generating stream needs to be examined to know what sequence of actions led to the final sale. When looking at the sales funnel, upper funnel events that lead to clicks need to be observed.
Using the same keywords in offline marketing, like newspapers and TV ads, as well as online display ads, shows an integrated call to action. The next step is then to measure if a television ad or a display ad caused an increase in searches for those keywords. Increase in keyword searches can also be measured after an email has been sent out. The type of channel that causes a surge in keyword searches can give an insight into customer behavior.
Getting the various channels to work together can help marketers test how a new campaign is performing. How less expensive channels can be used to influence searches and drive results can also be explored. At this stage, it becomes important to automate data analyses as well so that data from all channels can be collated and read more holistically.
Cross channel marketing is an effective tool in maximizing the influence of branding or advertising campaign.