Cross-Channel Marketing: 3 Must-Haves
Text by BRADY EVAN WALKER
Cross-channel marketing isn’t just a no-brainer, it’s a requirement. But it’s not just as simple as opening social channels, gathering an email list, and paying for ads. Well, it can be that simple if you’re not really interested in doing it all that well.
Below are three tactics of which you must be aware when setting sail cross-channel.
The Key to Cross-Channel KPI’s
Understand that your myriad channels are not a sheath of arrows. They’re more like chess pieces or players on a football field, each with distinctive sub-goals that serve the Big Goal. Every now and then your Defensive Tackle might swoop the ball into the in-zone, but most of the time, he focuses on doing his job.
Your Display and Social ads might be a low CPA (cost per acquisition), but your blog and other content marketing efforts shouldn’t be beholden to that KPI, rather focusing on visits, bounce rates, or engagement, et al. Higher up the chain, you should be tracking traffic sources and learning what, if any, unique engagement type occurs when someone clicks over from Twitter versus a banner ad or organic search.
More important than knowing if each channel is doing its job, however, is knowing that the job assigned to it serves your primary KPI, whether it be Customer Lifetime Value or low CPA or what-have-you. You can tell your Defensive End to twerk, and he may twerk incredibly well, but twerking does not a touchdown make.
Which Channel Gets All the Credit?
The practice of giving proportional credit to each touchpoint toward a customer’s desired action is known as cross-channel attribution. Doing this well lets you determine the relative ROI of all marketing ad-spend.
But “the last click” attribution model does you no good. Understanding the concept of effective frequency demonstrates how thorny a patch cross-channel attribution is. Effective frequency theorizes how many times a person must see or hear an advertising message before taking action. The most popular theories range from three to 20 but were all formulated before the internet, so…s’hard to say?
User preferences for purchases are highly variable, and if you advertise on TV, radio, and print and/or have brick-and-mortars, it’s even tougher. Add cross-device attribution (mobile versus desktop versus…Virtual Reality? Augmented Reality? The Matrix?), and the situation seems quite nauseous.
This is where a narrow-AI platform will help tremendously, at least with digital and cross-device, but on your end, you have to be sure to feed the algorithm lots of good data.
Lots of data is the easy part that makes the whole affair so hard.
But take a step back and you make everything easier by ensuring the data will be good. First, make sure that clicks and impressions are tracked by a single ad server for display, search, social, email, and affiliates. This gives your whole marketing team a homebase.
Second, decide what reporting categories your team needs and uniformly measure those dimensions across channels. You can’t coordinate if you use a dozen maps with different orientations. For instance, you might group results by tactics to see how retargeting or prospecting efforts are working across the board.
With lots of good data, the right cross-channel attribution solution will show you clearly how your media mix is working and how to make it better.
Coordinate, Strategize, Repeat
If you’ve integrated your channels into a team diverse in effort but united in ultimate purpose, you’ve won a major battle in the war. If you’ve synched measurement and analysis of channel performance, then whoa, buddy. But the struggle is never over. You cycle back around to where you began in hopes of having an always better next go-round.
By providing multiple points of contact and finding new customer segments through diverse channeling, you learn what access points your audience prefers. This, among other things, will give big red-flag-style clues as to how to recalibrate.
With data integrated across channels, marketers gain new opportunities for personalization, even using digital interaction data to segment and customize mailers or television ads. Call centers can coordinate with abandoned cart data to reach out to uncommitted would-be customers. Customer data could be used for inbound calls, making the interactions more personalized.
There’s no end of creative and engaging uses for the insight provided by clean, multi-sourced data. The trick is getting started and doing it right.
Just as chess is not merely moving tiny figurines on a checkered board, cross-channel marketing is not merely setting up multiple customer touchpoints. The key iis goal setting, measuring performance in a continuous feedback loop, and re-adjusting your approach to improve a little bit every day.