For many, cross-channel marketing seems like an unobtainable vision or a perpetual five-year plan. But marketing across myriad channels is only as complicated as you make it. Here are my top five recommendations for creating an effective cross-channel marketing program.
1. Choose Your Channels
You don’t have to jump into every channel at once. Instead, build your way into different channels as they become useful to your campaigns. Start with what you know. What channels are you using right now? What about them works? Consider the channels you’re interested in trying and ask how they can complement the ones you are already using.
2. Stay on Message
Messaging is extremely important. The channels you deploy in your cross-channel practices are only as good as your message. Sometimes when we talk about cross-channel, we talk about it in a channel-agnostic way. Since your customers think in terms of a single brand, it shouldn’t really matter what channel you’re using as long as the message is consistent and relevant.
3. Look at the Data
Data should be at the center of any cross-channel initiative. Customer data sharpens your messaging. If you see a certain email isn’t getting opened while another is getting good engagement, you should be able to easily compare the results and use those learnings right away.
4. Start Internally
Cross-channel marketing starts with setting internal processes and objectives. There has to be an understanding of who owns certain data and what needs to happen to complete what you don’t have. Massaging out any kinks in your data management, sales, marketing and other functions before setting out on your cross-channel campaigns will save you aches down the line.
5. Take Risks
Your cross-channel marketing team has to have at least a minor appetite for exploration, particularly when trying to create a truly integrated environment. If you’re going to be cross-channel, you’ll have to be “cross-organizational” (some prefer the term “cross-functional”). Marketing will have to work with sales, sales will have to relay feedback to product development, and so on. This kind of organization won’t be without growing pains, but learn from your mistakes and keep at it.
Your cross-channel marketing practices will be considered successful if they bring in sales, yes, but you’ll find other benefits to taking on this challenge in a measured, practical way. Choose your channels wisely, look closely at the data, and be willing to take some risks. Your marketing will be better for it.
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