Isn’t it exciting to think of the opportunities we have as digital marketers these days? We’ve got opportunities to connect with customers across email, Web, search, mobile and social. So many touch points!
Yet with all this “marketing noise,” you’re inevitably faced with fierce competition for your customer’s top-of-mind awareness. The marketing ecosystem offers over 100 independent channels through which we can make an impression. Today it’s critical to measure your impact quickly and guide your strategy to fit your customer’s behavior. It’s like the stand-up comedian. You’ve got the audience right there telling you if what you’re doing is working. (It’s no wonder comedy is such a tough racket.) From the feedback you’re given—laughter or silence—you adjust your routine to leverage hits and write off misses.
Retailers Use Omni-Channel
Retail giants are pushing the envelope when it comes to creating a harmonious digital and physical buying experience. Some retailers have adopted omni-channel strategies where integration of digital ordering and physical pick-up occurs. Consumers will be shopping at a digital storefront in the brick-and-mortar mall, choosing whether to retrieve their purchase at another location within the mall or request home delivery. That’s one way to make an impression.
What I am talking about is a similar endeavor in marketing where marketers create personal, relevant messages that inform and drive activity so that the consumer gets a highly enriched experience with your brand through a cross-channel mix. How should we reach our customers? For digital marketers to be successful at creating meaningful impressions, we must narrow options to those that enable fruitful two-way engagement and allow us to really discover our customers. (But we can’t get caught in the trap of creating silos out of your marketing channels. We’ve got to mix it up, my friends.)
Cross-Channel Marketing Is the Pinnacle
Let me put it this way: One channel marketing reminds me of the nights I spend strumming my acoustic guitar. The music’s impression is connected to the sound of the single instrument as I play it. While satisfying, the experience remains a one “channel” impression. Single channel marketing, in a similar way, creates a single, typically unifying message delivered via one channel using a single database source.
Multichannel marketing, on the other hand, delivers a (hopefully) consistent message through multiple channels to the end “listener” (customer). This tactic, much like the times when I would follow along with a recording I’d made earlier, could sound great but if I am out of sync with the recording the collective sound is marred. It could be a more enriched experience with sounds from multiple sources, so long as everything is in sync and in tune.
Cross-channel marketing is seen as the pinnacle of campaign best practices. Much like the times I’ve played with a band—when the contribution of the various instruments provides a complete rendition of a song—cross-channel marketing establishes a unified message. In this case, a content mix distributing consistent messaging through myriad channels (mobile, social, Web, call centers, and print) is deployed to each consumer for a highly personalized, individual message. We are leveraging enterprise data with the digital interactions of our customer to deliver that personal, relevant message. This is the way to create your impression.
Push Through The Noise
Today, we are able to deliver that enriched experience based on the data we have at our disposal. Our mantra is “Achieve optimal experience through a cohesive digital marketing strategy delivered through a cross-channel experience!” We have the capability of creating a much stronger relationship with our customers than we’ve ever had before. Sure, it’s crowded. But marketing leaders use their ability to push through the noise by creating contextualized experiences through a cross-channel approach. When we’ve successfully converted a shopper to a buyer, that buyer has connected, and we’ve made a strong impression that can lead to a fruitful relationship.
Now that we have a sense of our capacity to create “stickiness” in our marketing campaigns, let’s move the discussion to how we must revolutionize digital marketing and begin to reinvent ourselves as marketers. In my next post, we’ll take up the ways we can shape the digital consumer experience.