Are you still reaching out to your customers through a single channel? How is it going? With a plethora of platforms and communication channels available to businesses, reaching customers can now become quantifiable, systematic and easy. We’re not just saying different communications across different channels. We are saying a unified experience for each customer through their digital journey and at every touch point, every day. It’s called Cross channel marketing! So what is cross channel marketing? How does cross channel marketing work? And how do you make your cross channel social media marketing work? Let’s get into it then!
What is Cross-Channel marketing?
Simply put, cross channel marketing is identifying your customer and creating a seamless journey of communication across various digital touch points and platforms. This essentially means creating a marketing or sales funnel interconnected through platforms to guide your customer into taking the final action. You can further simply put this as nurturing a lead across platforms with a unified experience. Understand that your customer is viewing content and browsing through several platforms. It could be over a website, social media, emails and more. Thus, identifying your customer and defining a customer avatar becomes crucial.
Isn’t this the same as Omni-channel marketing or multi-channel marketing?
No, it isn’t!
With Omni-channel or multi-channel marketing, you create content for each platform with set objectives that each channel needs to attain. So, you are communicating with your customer on each platform but differently, with different messages on each channel. For example, with summer season on the onset, marketers would probably advertise sale on air conditioners on TV or on their website. The same message is posted on social media as a singular post along with several other AC posts. An email blast would go to all customers about the sale. In this case, your marketing strategy is reaching customers on individual channels, whose response will be measured independently. Emailers, SMS campaigns, social media strategy continue as scheduled working in silos, but delivering brand communication. In this case creating a winning social media strategy becomes vital during peak season time.
Whereas in cross-channel marketing, customer would be guided through a process to make purchase decisions by creating links between platforms. With cross channel marketing, customers don’t get scattered promotional messages; it leverages each medium to deliver a transition to the next.
For example, a cross-channel marketing strategy wouldn’t immediately start with an email or SMS blast or engage in generic social media advertising. Under this process, marketers identify target customers looking to buy an AC and address their common concerns about AC buying. Using Facebook ads or Google Ads the customer is acquired and leads to a website blog that explains parameters for buying ACs. The customer is then given information on what kind of AC’s the brand has and the sale available. Through emailers, the customer learns about AC maintenance, its importance, which also acts as a reminder on the sale. The emailer can also guide a customer to a YouTube product review video on why summer is a good time to buy an AC. Cross-channel marketing creates a customer shopping experience, where users switch between platforms seamlessly, consuming content and making guided purchase decisions.
Do brands need cross-channel marketing strategies?
Yes! If each lead in your business can be tracked across platforms and you’d like to see tangible ROI on marketing efforts, your brand needs a cross channel marketing strategy.
Imagine being able to have a purposeful conversation at each level to nurture a lead. Staying connected with your customers with the right message based on what they’re looking for and at the right time. And imagine the brand you would build with these conversations. The possibilities of good marketing are endless. Cross-channel marketing strategies ensure that you are always speaking to the relevant customer at the right time. Since all marketing efforts focus on creating customer-centric consistent communication, your brand stands out among the clutter of promotional messages and creates good recall.
1) Brands enjoy better engagement
With cross channel marketing, each customer is taken through a meaningful sales funnel with personalized content. This means a consumer will always receive communication that will take him one step further to engage with the brand. A consumer is more likely to interact with the why and how of AC’s in an email than regular messaging of AC’s available at your store. Personalized content means brands will keep content relevant across each platform to encourage engagement.
2) Brands enjoy better recall and loyalty
With personalized content and reaching the consumer through each channel, brands can ensure they always have something interesting to share. If a prospective customer benefited from reading how an AC helps, chances are he would want to know how to maintain his AC. This will then bring him back to your brand website or blog or social media, where you can share details about annual maintenance contracts for AC’s. Now you’re building more business for both verticals and ensuring your customer remembers you and always come back to you for solutions.
3) Brands enjoy a better understanding of customer behaviour and marketing ROI
Like we’ve mentioned earlier too, cross channel marketing strategies measure ROI across all communication channels as a whole process. So, you can track what communication the customer engaged with and at what level did he make a purchase. Take for example a cross channel social media marketing strategy. You can easily track how many customers visited your Instagram handle through your mailer, saw your Instagram stories on AC’s and then followed through to your website.
Whereas in multi-channel strategies, you would only track how many people viewed your story and check website click metrics. With cross channel marketing strategies, you can evaluate which channel works best to motivate your customer to make a purchase, thus garnering accurate ROI for marketing efforts.
How to implement cross channel marketing strategy?
CUSTOMER DATA IS EVERYTHING in CROSS CHANNEL MARKETING!
1) Collate Customer Data
Collecting customer data at every level becomes imperative if you want to implement cross channel marketing strategy. Without customer data, there is no way to understand how each customer interacts with the brand. Yes, you can implement cross-channel marketing strategies only once you have a sufficient database of customers. Details like product purchased, name, number, email address, and location help understand the buying process. This also helps with creating more lookalike audiences when you’re executing Facebook ad campaigns.
2) Invest in CRM
To collate data, you would definitely need a good CRM process and customer support. A CRM system will let you collect data efficiently while customer support becomes essential in reaching out to customers post sale. Customer support would also help reach out to customers who have dropped off at some point and understand the cause of it. This helps you plan your next leg of communication strategies and decide the channels accordingly.
Seems like a lot of time and investment, doesn’t it? Like we said cross channel marketing strategies are like creating sales funnels, to help you generate and nurture the lead until sale.
3) Invest in CMS and CDP
All that data needs to go somewhere, especially if you plan to scale operations and expand! You need to unify that data and your customer’s online activity into a Customer Data Platform (CDP). CDP allows you to integrate customer information and customer behaviour using analytics across channels and your CRM system. CRM systems can collect data and track purchase behaviour offline and on e-commerce, whereas your CDP can unify customer actions and engagement.
So, get your systems ready to track browser cookies and analytics on which emailers and PPC campaigns they’ve interacted with. You’d also get a good insight into social media campaigns that work, track the DM’s and get customer support to connect with the customer on their queries.
4) Define Target Audience
Working off an existing customer base is great. Nevertheless, you must define your target audience. Are you selling AC’s in the midrange category or a high-tech AC or an all-season AC? The customer for each category would overlap as well as be distinct. And so, will be the channel and communications.
Thus, define the customer. Create a customer avatar that lists out demographics, lifestyle, buying behaviours and habits and typical channels of communication. For example, a customer who would want an AC could be defined as:
- An income group of 10 LPA onwards
- Male or Female, married
- Lives in an urban metro city
- Accesses information on the mobile
- Brand conscious reads tech reviews will research the product/brand
- A social media enthusiast and enjoys entertaining guests. This list can go on to identify even exact buying phases, their source of information, and what encourages the buying behavior.
Creating a detailed customer avatar facilitates better content creation, improved UX/UI experience on the website and an overall personalized shopping experience.
5) Define Customer Segments
Can’t go chasing each and every customer individually! So, grouping customers based on similar buying traits and defining customer segments is important. Some customers respond better with an emailer, website, and social media channels. Some may engage more on Instagram and prefer to directly move from there to buying on your website. The CDP system should be able to classify customers into each segment. Keep a close eye on the analytics and data that shows up to track which marketing campaign works better for which segment of customers.
6) Identify channels that reach each customer segment
Pick the right channels of communication. First test with certain groups to see where the most traffic is coming from. Communication across every single channel is not essential. Cross-channel marketing requires the strategy to optimize the best channels that work, in turn saving money and effort. Brands can pick an exclusive cross-channel social media marketing strategy that creates links across posts, taking them to IGTV and then leading them to the website for more. Or maybe transition customers from social media to brand app and purchase. For example, a customer looking for sunglasses may check out options on Google. Here a brand could reach him through a blog – ‘How to select sunglasses for your face.’ The customer would then check out brand reviews on YouTube or Instagram, which then motivates him to buy the product on the website or at the store!
7) Create Relevant Content and Communication
We cannot stress this enough – Content is King! Right communication and relevant content at each touch point in cross channel marketing strategy is key. While you define your cross channel social media marketing goals, incorporate them in such a way that each campaign takes the customer on a communication journey. Your communication must resonate with the buyer’s journey. This means if a customer came to the website to buy the sunglasses and dropped off from cart they could be redirected to make the purchase with an 10% offer. This communication could go as an emailer or as a Facebook ad. Whereas post purchase, send customers Thank you emailers, SMS and encourage them with referral codes to bring more customers to shop. Always ensure you are creating content that serves each customer segment across each channel.
Cross channel marketing sounds fascinating but requires great planning and excellent databases to execute. From consistent messaging on each platform to tracking customer journeys; cross channel marketing strategy needs complete involvement of marketers. And it can be made possible with a robust team of social media marketing managers, content creators, an involved sales team, an efficient customer support team and good CRM, CDP processes. How about you start with your cross channel social media marketing strategy? Speak to the Mindstorm team of experts. Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.