Integrated marketing yields ROI, according to Aberdeen survey

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Streamlining multiple marketing channels can yield significant returns on investment, according to a study published by the Aberdeen Group. “Restocking the Marketer's Toolbox in the Digital Age,” found a correlation between customer retention and efforts to align marketing efforts across all channels.

The report, which surveyed 145 retailers, divided respondents into “Best-in-Class,” “Industry Average,” and “Laggard” depending on their return on marketing investment (74% for Best-in-Class, 22% for Laggards) and year-over-year customer retention rate (20% increase for Best-in-Class, 3% decrease for Laggards).

Best-in-Class companies proved better at integrating and monitoring their cross-channel marketing. For example, while 62% of top companies said they align seasonal marketing offers, only 38% of other organizations did the same. Though 42% of Best-in-Class organizations said they collaborate across departments on customer retention, just 28% of all other companies did the same. Half of leading retailers said that they are able to measure the channel preference of their customers, allowing them to deliver the right message through the right channel, but only 25% of all other companies report doing the same.

“It goes back to the old adage that you need to know who the customer is,” said Dale Dwyer, vice president of Carol Ann Marketing, a multi-channel marketing consultancy. Dwyer says his top clients use direct mail to gather customers, then add those names to their e-mail marketing list to keep in touch with them online. They also reach out through social media outlets, all  under a centralized marketing plan. “How you target the customer varies, depending on whether it's a customer or a prospect, male or female, age, and everything, but it should all be consistent.”

The report advises marketers to take steps to better connect their disparate channels, developing a unified marketing plan for all their platforms, and creating a company-wide CRM system to integrate customer data, to better target customers. Aberdeen also advocates using email marketing as a less expensive and more trackable means of reaching customers, as well as a mobile channel to allow for location-based promotions and social media applications.

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