Here’s a startling number: the average consumer sees at least 5,000 ads a day. That doesn’t include the multitude of other customer touch points that are inundating consumers and making a marketer’s job even harder. Unless your marketing touch points are a continuation of one core message, guiding prospects through a logical progression up to the purchase, your marketing campaigns will be overpowered by competitors with more unified messaging.
In the hopes of standing out, more marketers are exploring the possibility of cross-channel marketing to unify their marketing efforts across channels and better motivate buyers. While this approach has the potential to increase engagement and convert sales, a key factor of your success is the quality and structure of your underlying data. Here’s how to harness cross-channel marketing and the data strategy you’ll need to achieve the best results.
What’s Cross-Channel Marketing and How Does It Work?
Before we dive into how a data strategy can benefit your cross-channel marketing, let’s take a closer look at the capabilities this marketing technique offers. The defining feature of cross-channel marketing is that all channels are leveraged together to motivate your target audience. This differs drastically multi-channel marketing, which recognizes your need to address customers where they’re at, but isn’t as concerned with the cohesiveness of your big-picture messaging. Cross-channel’s holistic approach makes it easier for teams to elevate their message above the competition, gaining recognition through repetition.
Consider this situation: a customer first interacts with your brand by reading your latest blog. Depending on your business, maybe they want help with lawn maintenance, beauty regimens, or managing their own IT services. Cross-channel marketing works across any industry, for any range of products. Using demographic data, Google Analytics, and marketing campaign data, you can implement a cascading series of events to propel your customer deeper into the sales funnel.
If you have prospect or customer contact information, you can send a targeted email with video testimonials or case studies to get them to consider your brand. Through remarketing ads, when they visit their favorite websites, your ads can keep your product or service front of mind. Any touch point you’re leveraging to motivate customers can be synchronized this way, guiding your target audience right where you want them.
The good news is that your organization does not need to develop a hodgepodge of different programs and systems to achieve your cross-channel marketing goals. Tools such as MessageGears simplify the process, empowering marketers to orchestrate cross-channel campaigns for various segments before analyzing the results. Their platform integrates with customer and content data sources, and can even provide real-time analytics as you persuade customers to take the final step with in-store or online purchases.
One MessageGears case study provides a glimpse at the possible results of cross-channel marketing. Chick-fil-A wanted to implement this strategy within their organization, to amplify the results of their newsletter with personalized messaging. By implementing a complex set of rules to satisfy Chick-fil-A’s needs and goals, the cross-channel marketing campaign increased their newsletter membership by 500% and their conversion rate by over 20%.
The Problem of Bad Data – And How to Fix It
There is a precondition for your cross-channel marketing to work effectively: a cohesive and high quality data infrastructure. You cannot have a unified message across channels when your data is stored in disparate sources or intentionally soiled. Moreover, data that is incomplete, inaccurate, or filled with duplicates will limit the effectiveness of your strategies, by sending customers ineffective messages or outright alienating them.
Successful cross-channel marketing efforts depend on your ability to track interactions across marketing channels and effectively respond to actions. Gut instinct alone can lead you astray. Data-driven marketing delivers the best results, so you need to start with the right foundation. In specific, there are three elementary steps that will improve your data to support cross-channel marketing campaign:
Create a Unified Platform
Consolidating your sources into a single source of truth is the first step to allow marketers to track a customer across every channel. This requires conducting a current state assessment to determine the total amount of data sources and any potential compatibility issues during implementation. The end result should enable you to compare and evaluate a range of different touch points from social media interactions to email or ad interactions, unveiling insight that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Focus on Data Quality Improvement
During the same step as your unification process, focus on implementing business rules to standardize information and eliminate duplicates. Moreover, you need to take a deep look at organizational data practices, cultivating a culture where everyone from the CMO to front-line team members know the conventions and habits necessary to maintain a healthy data infrastructure.
Identify Unique Customers and Cater to Them
As you combine your data sources and standardize your data practices, you’ll begin laying the groundwork for identifying unique customers across channels. Pulling information from your CRM, social media platforms, ecommerce platforms, and other sources will help better grasp the full customer journey.From there,, implement business rules and a data model to track each buyer’s journey across sources and combine this information. You can then send out consistent emails, remarketing ads, and follow-up campaigns to motivate buyers to take action using the same overarching messaging.
Effective cross-channel marketing enables increased prospect and customer engagement, improved ROI calculation, and enhanced customer loyalty. But your best laid plans will fall short without a comprehensive data strategy that unifies all sources and implements quality data practices.
At Aptitive, we help marketing teams implement data strategies that support marketing efforts, boosts cross-channel campaigns, and can provide better insights across the board. Are you ready to improve your cross-channel marketing?
Faith Hemingway is a Data Management and Analytics Consultant at Aptitive. In her role, Faith enables companies to discover insights and access the information held by their data.