Is your orga­ni­za­tion orga­nized around the cus­tomer? In today’s me-centric, dig­i­tal world, it cer­tainly should be.

In a pre­vi­ous blog, I explained how the inter­sec­tion of mar­ket­ing, tech­nol­ogy, and data is forc­ing struc­tural analy­sis and change within orga­ni­za­tions. Today I will expound upon this con­cept by look­ing at some of those key struc­tural changes. We will explore the ques­tions that I first posed in that article:

Should mar­ket­ing teams be divided by chan­nels or should they be orga­nized around prod­uct or spe­cific goals (brand ver­sus demand)? Where do tech­nol­ogy and mar­ket­ing over­lap, and how can they be more effec­tively man­aged to improve ROI or other intended outcomes?

 If the drum­beat and the goal of mar­ket­ing is an “inte­grated mes­sage, cre­ative, and offer,” then how do orga­ni­za­tions attain this? Most orga­ni­za­tions have siloed or par­tially siloed mar­ket­ing and IT teams as well as bud­getary con­straints that hin­der invest­ments in tech­no­log­i­cal tools or per­son­nel that could facil­i­tate the process of inte­gra­tion. How­ever, in a few years mul­ti­chan­nel mar­ket­ing (or being present and active in mul­ti­ple, yet siloed, chan­nels) will be extinct, as will the orga­ni­za­tions that per­sist on that trajectory.

Today, the lead­ing orga­ni­za­tions are break­ing down silos cre­ated by chan­nels and find­ing cre­ative ways to attain con­sis­tency across chan­nels. The more sophis­ti­cated orga­ni­za­tions have mar­ket­ing teams that are cross-channel in their approach: “Cross-channel means being con­sis­tent and coor­di­nated across chan­nels.” These orga­ni­za­tions are com­mu­ni­cat­ing con­sis­tent mes­sages in all chan­nels. They know who their cus­tomers are on social media, on mobile apps, on their web­site, and in their brick-and-mortar store. These orga­ni­za­tions have put the me-centric con­sumer at the cen­ter of their cross-channel approach, and it’s pay­ing off.

Here’s how your orga­ni­za­tion can reor­ga­nize so that the cus­tomer sits at the cen­ter of your efforts.

Step 1 | Know Who’s Sit­ting at the Cen­ter of Your Chan­nels: The Per­pet­u­ally Con­nected Customer

As Exper­ian points out, the cus­tomer doesn’t think about the chan­nel, but the mar­keter must. The mar­keter must be con­tin­u­ally aware of the per­pet­u­ally con­nected con­sumer who has an iPhone, iPad, lap­top, desk­top, TV, and more. Remem­ber that this con­sumer is on mul­ti­ple devices through­out the day and some­times at once, mak­ing it even more essen­tial that the con­sumer receive an “inte­grated mes­sage, cre­ative, and offer.”

In “The Acci­den­tal Nar­cis­sist And the Future Of [Con­nected] Cus­tomer Engage­ment” Brian Solis, dig­i­tal ana­lyst, soci­ol­o­gist, and futur­ist, clev­erly explains this demo­graphic in this way:

It’s all about you and me … but mostly me … You live a dig­i­tal lifestyle and with­out real­iz­ing it, you and oth­ers like you, are grad­u­ally exhibit­ing sliv­ers of nar­cis­sism … These net­works prompt you to share your world, your way, all day, every day. And each time we do, we con­tribute to our “egosys­tem,” where we are the cen­ter of our own dig­i­tal uni­verse. Expe­ri­ences and engage­ment rep­re­sent the orbits that bring us together.

If “expe­ri­ences and engage­ment” are the orbits in which your cus­tomers move, how can your orga­ni­za­tion move toward inte­grated, cross-channel mar­ket­ing in order to reach them?

Step 2 | Become Cus­tomer Obsessed (Mar­ket­ing Ethos)

As a first step, you need to think through your mar­ket­ing ethos. Is your mar­ket­ing team cus­tomer obsessed?

To attain the ideal state of customer-centricity, it is imper­a­tive for orga­ni­za­tions to move toward cross-channel inte­gra­tion. In “The 2013 Dig­i­tal Mar­keter: Life is the Chan­nel” report, Exper­ian warns, “Mar­keters shouldn’t expect cus­tomers to change plat­forms; they should be truly cus­tomer obsessed and opti­mize the brand expe­ri­ence around the customer.”

TV One, a rapidly grow­ing cable net­work present in 57 mil­lion US homes, pro­vides a great exam­ple of an orga­ni­za­tion that has recently reor­ga­nized in order to achieve cross-channel suc­cess. When TV One rebranded its iden­tity and launched a new real­ity series, they decided to trans­form their Web pres­ence and imple­ment tech­no­log­i­cal solu­tions that would bet­ter sup­port their “TV every­where” strat­egy. They wanted to bet­ter engage audi­ences “across a range of pop­u­lar dig­i­tal devices.” Customer-centricity was at the heart of their strat­egy. Their goals were specif­i­cally to 1) dis­tin­guish brand pres­ence, 2) boost audi­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion across screens, and 3) “more deeply engage view­ers with video, orig­i­nal con­tent, and social interactions.”

Were they suc­cess­ful with their new cross-channel approach? Yes. Here are their results: page views jumped by 53 per­cent, unique page views increased by 45 per­cent, and the aver­age time spent on their web­site increased by 6 per­cent (ful­fill­ing a key per­for­mance indi­ca­tor of dri­ving greater audi­ence engage­ment). Addi­tion­ally, bounce rates decreased sig­nif­i­cantly, while mobile and tablet use has increased.

Like TV One, liv­ing in light of the per­pet­u­ally con­nected con­sumer and their inter­ac­tion on two to three devices through­out the day, it is truly time for your orga­ni­za­tion to move toward chan­nel inte­gra­tion or face orga­ni­za­tional extinction.

Step 3 | Fig­ure Out Who’s Say­ing What (Response Attri­bu­tion + Iden­tity Resolution)

Unfor­tu­nately, mar­keters often don’t know who they’re com­mu­ni­cat­ing with as they move from chan­nel to chan­nel. “The 2013 Dig­i­tal Mar­keter” urges that the issue of cus­tomer iden­tity must be resolved by work­ing on “response attri­bu­tion and cam­paign coor­di­na­tion” as a first step. From there, cross-channel opti­miza­tion may even­tu­ally be achieved, but it should be noted that that ideal state it is at the end of the orga­ni­za­tional change process.

Step 4 | Iden­tify Poten­tial Big Data Solutions

It’s imper­a­tive that today’s mar­keters rely on data-driven insights. For­tu­nately, this is made pos­si­ble by tech­no­log­i­cal tools and plat­forms for audi­ence man­age­ment. For more infor­ma­tion on this, see my five-part series on Big Data solu­tions to audi­ence management.

Orga­nize Around the Cus­tomer, Not the Channel

In the end, the orga­ni­za­tions that can man­age to reor­ga­nize around the cus­tomer, instead of the chan­nel, will be the orga­ni­za­tions with the best bot­tom lines and the great­est cus­tomer engage­ment. Where will your orga­ni­za­tion be when the time of mul­ti­chan­nel mar­ket­ing finally becomes extinct?