Have you ever walked into a store, grabbed your desired products, and happily handed the cashier the coupon that had incentivized you to shop there in the first place—only to be informed that the discount is an “online only” promotion? This probably negatively impacted your view of the company, as it is easy to feel angry and deceived at this. However, it was probably not a deceptive bait and switch tactic to get you into the store; it was more likely a result of poor unity in the company’s multichannel marketing plan.

To avoid consumer goodwill and brand loyalty damaging mistakes such as this, your multichannel marketing plan needs to evolve into a cross-channel one.

What Is the Difference?

Many marketers assume that “cross-channel” and “multichannel” marketing are similar, if not identical in nature. This is a huge mistake; this line of thinking is like believing that all rectangles and squares are the same. Cross-channel marketing includes all the components of multichannel marketing (using multiple platforms to communicate with consumers). Cross-channel marketing takes things a step further by ensuring that all your channels seamlessly integrate to create an enhanced marketing experience for the customer. This improved interaction greatly improves the consumer’s perception of a brand and prevents catastrophes like the one I just described. Here are a few questions that you should ask to determine if your company is moving in a cross-channel marketing direction.

Are You Using the Right Marketing Channels?

Digital technology has presented us with so many ways to market that it is easy to feel as though you need to start dumping resources into every channel possible in order to receive the desired effect. However, this is probably not a good idea because your target market likely interacts with a relatively narrow set of channels most often. Focusing on these channels instead of all of them will enhance your ability to implement a cross-channel marketing plan.

Do You Know Your Customers?

When answering this question, you should think beyond what types of products or services the customer likes. You will also need to consider how they like to receive information related to those products or services. This will allow you to more easily identify the marketing channels that will work best for you.

Is There a Consistent Message across All Marketing Channels?

Having multiple departments or teams working with different marketing channels can fracture the message that your company is trying to convey and result in situations such as the one I described earlier. Make sure that your teams/departments are not delivering conflicting messages.

Are Your Technology Solutions Working For or Against Each Other?

Although technology has given us unprecedented access, it is not always compatible; this can cause conflicts with customer interaction. Any messages that get mixed up due to conflicting technologies will only serve to confuse and frustrate customers. Remember that many of them use as many channels as you—if not more.

Answering these questions positively means that you are on the right track toward evolving your multichannel marketing plan into a cross-channel one. If not, then now is the time to realign your marketing approach.

What about you? We’d love to hear about your implementation of a cross-channel strategy. Do not hesitate to share your views or ask me any questions in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to answer them.