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?

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