6 Mandates for Multichannel Marketing

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Multichannel marketing requires multiple disciplines—many of which do not come naturally. Here are some pointers from Gartner that direct marketers might want to to keep in mind.

Six Mandates for Multichannel Marketing
Marketers need help finding the right channels.

It's just the way of the digital marketing world. The cart seems always to be positioned before the horse. Technological gurus spend years designing and perfecting technology to navigate a complex, intertwined communication ecosystem, and then marketers are asked to figure it all out in a matter of weeks.

Gartner's recent Magic Quadrant analysis for multichannel campaign management (MCCM) pictures a supplier field nearly as varied as the channels those service companies help marketers explore. Adobe received high marks for digital advertising and content in retail, financial services, and travel verticals. For marketing performance management and usability, irrespective of industry, IBM received Gartner's favor. Marketo won praise for lead generation, SAS for advanced analytics, and Salesforce.com for Saas-only applications.

In the course of their reviews, Gartner analysts discovered six MCCM challenges that demand marketers' ongoing attention:

1.  New and old data are equally important. Transactional data, third-party data, and anonymous customer data all play important roles in the implementation of mulitichannel campaigns. Gartner observes that a significant percentage of marketers still fail to perform value-based segmentation through profitability analysis and needs-based segmentation that takes into account life-stage, search activity, and in-market indicators.

2. It's multichannel, not every channel. Marketers just setting out on their complex journeys in a channel-clogged world often attempt to engage in all of them. Instead, they need to understand how to orchestrate engagement—and fuse inbound and outbound efforts—in just the channels, or segments of channels, that apply to their audience. Customers have little time or interest in an avalanche of uncoordinated messages.

3. So many channels, just one brand. Failing to provide a consistent brand image and experience across all channels risks confusing customers or—worse—stopping them in their tracks on the buying journey.

4. Promote two-way engagement. Customers got the power! If they can find you, they can and will find your competitors. It's imperative, therefore, to use real-time-aware channels like social and mobile to support two-way engagement during the purchase process.

5. I, Marketer. Automation of campaign workings becomes a must for multichannel campaign management. You need to access multiple data sources and analytics models that require quick execution. Automation is critical to get it all done and optimize reach and results.

6. Speed thrills. Users of MCCM programs interviewed by Gartner in its Magic Quadrant analysis all said that speed and ease of use are their key considerations in choosing multichannel campaign technology. Look for applications that can get you up and running in weeks, and then consider your particular needs from there.

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