Learn to ‘Cross-Inform’ for Better Multi-Channel Marketing

By Courtney Morrill

Nowadays, the smart marketers are all talking about “multi-channel marketing.” If you’re new to this term, it means marketing using more than one channel, usually combining traditional and digital marketing channels.  In the context of online marketing, multi-channel marketing means marketing through a combination of online channels, like email, social media, mobile and search.

But how do you effectively market across multiple online channels? A recent column by Shelly Alavarez at MarketingLand.com sheds some light on this. Alvarez suggests that marketers can’t expect to be successful across multiple channels if their customers aren’t ‘cross-informed’. In short, if you want to achieve multi-channel marketing success, start sharing common messages to your consumers across the board, as opposed to different messages for each platform.

Why is it so important to cross-inform? Alvarez emphasizes, “First of all, consumers are demanding it…cross-informed marketing efforts lead to deeper relevance, customer value, and faster, more accurate optimization. The ‘why’ isn’t hard; it’s the ‘how’ that takes some work.”

You’re probably wondering, how is this possible? Every channel has its own rules and its own forms of messaging, how can I cross-inform across completely different channels? Alvarez asserts, “It all starts with a better understanding of what consumers want. Consumers now expect to be able to interact with brands whenever and wherever it suits their lifestyle — and they want brands to be smart enough to recognize this fact and keep up.”

So what’s stopping everyone? Most likely it has something to do with companies employing a different marketing vendor for each and every platform; from mobile to SMS to social media. With different marketing vendors you get different objectives and results. How do we overcome such a hurdle? Alvarez suggests taking it one step at a time, “Focus on actionable, achievable steps.”

Here are her 5 steps towards cross-informing like a pro:

  • Work with your technology team, customer intelligence team, and external partners to build a unified view of a customer across touch points.
  • Map out an ideal, successful customer journey.
  • Evaluate the tools you have on hand. Do you need integrated data support? Can you consolidate your point solutions?
  • Baby steps: Add one new channel to your messaging plans at a time.
  • Develop metrics that gauge the integration of channels with each other.

The author concludes, “Once your messaging is consistent across channels you can tell a more complete story and begin unlocking customer insights that will help inform and optimize your marketing efforts.”

Any ideas to share on how to market better across multiple online channels?  Share your thoughts below.

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