Creating A Cross-Informed Customer In A Multi-Channel World
Marketers’ direct messaging options have proliferated, expanding from traditional mail and telemarketing efforts to now include a myriad of digital channels such as email, social media, SMS, and mobile applications. Expectations for relevant messages across multiple channels are higher than ever. How do you cope? With data and planning.
Why cross-inform? First of all, consumers are demanding it. Today’s consumers are quick to point out when a business fails to recognize them as a customer or recognize a behavior they have already taken. But more importantly, 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.
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.
Tackling The Biggest Challenge
Easier said than done! According to Forrester Research’s Email Marketing Client Reference survey, conducted in Q4 2011, integrating email with other channels was cited as the biggest challenge facing email marketers over the next two years. This is the trend across the board, and the fact remains that most marketers are not integrating messaging across channels.
Instead, companies are managing marketing efforts through a variety of vendors for email, mobile and SMS and as a result maintain separate marketing plans with separate objectives, goals and results.
It’s time to shift focus to the consumer. And we don’t have two years to do it -– the time is now.
One Step At A Time
Customer-focused integrated messaging organizes data, resources and processes around customers, not channels. So how do you depart from your old ways to build customer-focused messaging? Focus on actionable, achievable steps:
- 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.
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.
Three Concrete Actions
Let’s look at some ways that email marketers can leverage their customer-focused integrated messaging to deliver a better multichannel experience.
Subject Lines: Congratulations! Your optimized subject line delivered outstanding results for your email campaign. Now what? How about using that subject line to drive more relevant tweets and Facebook posts? Or adjusting your SEM, display and SMS campaigns to include subject line content?
Click Patterns: Click patterns within an email can inform the rest of your marketing channels — from social to display. Which pieces of content are resonating? What links and landing pages receive the most activity? Use this data for a more intelligent advertising strategy, SEO, social messaging and highly relevant retargeting initiatives.
And Vice Versa: Cross-informing works in reverse as well. SEM & SEO keyword analysis can be used to drive stronger results as well. Leverage your most successful keywords for content in your emails, SMS and social media.
Multi-channel marketing through digital channels demands an integrated approach. With greater integration comes a better understanding of your customers, a stronger impact on business objectives, and ultimately a loyal and happy customer base. Do it now, and let your competitors take the two years to catch up!
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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