It is often said that only women are capable of multitasking, performing different tasks simultaneously. The reality is that today we are all supposed to be multitasking. It's clear that people use different media, devices and channels and often - indeed - at the same time: multichannel. This offers huge opportunities but also brings challenges.
While the media tend to look at each (new) individual communication channel and - traditionally - how it threatens another, the marketer - hopefully - knows better. It is not the channel that matters but the people using it and the context within they do. Searching for information, shopping, communicating, conversion paths, the customer journey: everything is multidimensional and multichannel.
Most companies are not ready for the multichannel customer
Are companies ready for these changes? In practice often not. The challenge is not only the integration of different interaction, feedback and data systems. Channel-focused thinking and the inability to build bridges in terms of people - customers and prospects - within the company is a key stumbling block.
Offering consistent multichannel customer service, shopping experiences (multi-channel is a very "hot" topic in retail and e-commerce), conversion "flows" and all other interaction processes is a matter of organization and culture.
A customer-centric company, by definition, looks at the multichannel customer. Social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, mobile and conversion can not be isolated and disconnected from each other. Doing that denies the customer reality and forgets how channels interact in terms of data and interaction "triggers".
Personality and automation: the critical role of data
Regardless of how multi-channel behaviour and a resulting integrated cross-channel marketing mix is a matter of culture and how marketing should be a matter of emotion and relationships: data is more important than ever. Personal interactions give a company an edge but also an integration of data, which should lead to personal, personalized and automated interactions, does so. The trick is to combine all.
Many companies are struggling to gather customer data from different sources and combine findings from multichannel interactions. The result is that they have no single view of their customers and thus can't interact with their customers in an optimal way.
In a recent study by Econsultancy, the great challenge of distilling, aggregating and acting upon multichannel data is confirmed.
The company found that only 22% of companies surveyed have a framework for analyzing the multi-channel "customer journey".
The increase in customer data and loss of the essence
There are two crucial findings:
- The increase in analytics and measuring systems, combined with the explosion of channels, provides business with more data than ever before.
- At the same time, however, the less they learn from these data and are able to act upon them in a cross-channel way.
The report mainly looked at the importance of web analytics data, but you can easily apply similar findings to other data sources businesses use, combined with their marketing campaigns.
A framework, a strategy, processes and the right people and technologies are crucial in working with multichannel data.
What many companies forget to ask themselves, however, is exactly what data they need to do what they should do. And sometimes that's far less than they think, at least as long as one has a multi-channel and customer-focused approach and pays attention to the essence of individual needs and customer behaviour.
We don't measure to know. We measure to improve. And the customer is right in the center of all that.
Today's customer is cross-channel and he/she is at the centre of sales and marketing.
Communication channels depend on the consumer and marketing is about engaging the cross-channel customer and prospect throughout integrated dialogues that are driven by his/her buying journey, preferences, triggers, signals and behaviour.
Discover why your business should move to an integrated marketing approach step by step and how.