Benefits and challenges to implementing the perfect cross-channel campaign

A company’s customer portfolio – all consumers actively engaged with the brand – is its most valuable asset.  Every organization’s relationship with its customers can be characterized as a journey that has numerous inflection points, such as filing an insurance claim or browsing online for a vacation package, that ultimately drive behavior. These points represent critical opportunities to deliver the “right” interaction to the customer.

Delivering this experience requires a systematic, integrated, cross-channel marketing program that delivers consistent messaging and offers across all channels while using the strengths of each medium. Properly implemented, integrated programs tend to perform better than traditional campaigns and bring other benefits as well. Consider these points. First, consumers who receive both e-mail and direct mail pieces generally contribute more per household. Second, the use of the same agency, creative and resources across multiple channels may reduce overhead and increase the bottom line. Third, consistent messaging can lead to an improved customer experience.

Increasingly, many businesses are choosing to explore cross-channel integration, but there are still a few hurdles to overcome. Most organizations do not have a clear goal, strategy or metrics for contacting customers and measuring performance across multiple vehicles. The culture, philosophy and structure of a company, as well as the level of support (or non-support) from the C-suite, may impede development of an integrated cross-channel customer management program. Available technology can delay the integration of a campaign on multiple levels, from integrating data to updating the campaign management system and content libraries.

Creation of an effective cross-channel marketing campaign starts with a solid foundation that includes comprehensive strategy, organizational alignment, data integration and well-planned technology and analytics processes. The organization must clearly identify its targeted customer and also set quantifiable and clearly defined goals for its marketing programs.

While there are many challenges to starting a fully integrated campaign, if a company creates a roadmap, acknowledges the hard work required, plans for challenges and secures executive buy-in, the potential success and positive cost-benefit ratio will make the effort worthwhile.  Companies should start small by testing integrated programs across two media to build success stories that can be leveraged to drive more fundamental change.

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