Mark Brownlow, posting for Dave Chaffey's SmartInsights, recently examined the challenges of multi-channel and cross-channel marketing and listed some traps which you should do your best to avoid. Allow me to share his wisdom and add some analysis of my own.
There's so much pressure from "experts" and evangelists pushing the latest and greatest marketing channel, that it can be overwhelming. It's hard not to be tempted to bite on the lure of great success stories they offer, but is their way the best way for you? Mark's right when he suggests that being inspired by these ideas is good, but what might be right for some may not align with your needs.
It's not just about where your customers are, but where they actually want to be. It's also about where they want you to be and they may not always want you to be in the same place.
A multi-channel strategy is definitely something you should have in place or be working on, but you should also be developing a profile of just who your customers are, where they are and where they want to connect. As well, on each channel, people will have preferences as to how they want to connect.
There are differences in how you should be interacting depending on the channel that interaction takes place on.
Conversion and value
There's a lot of numbers being tossed around as success metrics regarding different channels and that can be misleading and a time waster. Followers on Twitter, people liking you on Facebook and the number of opens your e-mails get are all glossy big stats people love to talk about. However, the only number which really counts is conversion -- that is a measure of success which is not up for any discussion and is ultimately what our integrated interactive marketing tools help marketers to achieve. It is in our logo for a reason.
Mark also observes correctly that these channels have positive results which may not easily be evaluated using the traditional metrics. For example, e-mail inspired Google searches or driving traffic to your brick and mortar shop.
Don't assume you have a warm snuggly relationship with people online. Be it in e-mail or social marketing, you are only as valuable as the content/information/value/meaning you provide. Mark suggests you consider (for example) what value a Twitter follower has compared to an e-mail subscriber or Facebook like. And of course, keep in mind that what and how people want to hear from you is influenced by the channel they choose to use.
Being everywhere and the marketing automation advantage
You can not be everywhere all the time and nothing is more negative than a neglected online presence. If you are going to start blogging or tweeting then establish a consistency and stick with it. Keep it simple in regards to maintaining these channels and don't over complicate your efforts.
I would also suggest that you consider automating some of these processes and channels. Mark is absolutely right when he suggests that you can not be everywhere all the time. And yet, customers do expect just that.
The cost effective way to be successful in this cross-channel world is to have an automated solution which provides an optimized cross-channel experience for your customers, while reducing the drain on your resources.
If the customers want it, then why wait?
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.