It’s easy to be overwhelmed by choices as a modern marketer. Whether it’s deciding between advertising on TV or YouTube or contemplating Twitter promoted tweets versus Facebook ads, the options and number of combinations are endless. With new advertising options popping up almost daily, it can be difficult to execute an integrated campaign properly.
The key to modern marketing is to eliminate siloes and ensure your marketing campaigns are working together to create a cohesive and seamless brand experience for the customer. Equally important in today’s fast-moving market is the ability to measure the impact of this experience in the form of business results such as sales, revenue, new customer acquisition, etc., and move quickly to optimize results across all channels and platforms holistically.
Defining Cross-Channel and Cross-Platform
Cross-channel marketing is the act of creating an integrated multi-channel campaign that spans various channels such as TV, social, search or print. The idea is to ensure that a customer who sees a Facebook ad is having a similar – and additive – experience to the one they had when they saw the TV ad.
Successful cross-channel marketing involves message crossover and visual symmetry that creates a cohesive brand identity while optimizing ads for the specific channel through which they’re being delivered. Some channels, such as TV and social, may tend to play more of an early-funnel brand awareness role, while others, such as search, retargeting or direct mail, serve as later-funnel touchpoints nearing the point where a consumer is ready to buy.
Getting Started and Ensuring Success
Implementing a unified cross-channel and cross-platform strategy can be a daunting task. That said, here are a few things that marketing professionals must do to ensure cross-channel and cross-platform success:
- Set Clear Goals – It’s important to understand the role of each particular channel and platform. For example, are you considering mobile, and therefore Facebook, in order to more successfully reach a certain audience or demographic? Or, are you considering certain channels to play an awareness-driving role or lower-funnel, direct acquisition role? This may influence both your decision to invest, as well as messaging or creative assets. Setting clear expectations will come in handy when it comes time to measure the performance of each channel or platform.
- Dedicate Yourself to Testing – Many companies budget for the whole year in December of the previous year, leaving very little wiggle room for changing strategies or even allowing room to test new approaches. This is a recipe for inflexibility, which in a rapidly changing market, may spell demise – or at least significant negative pressure. A recommended approach instead would be to allot 70% of your budget and efforts to your mainstream approaches – things you already know work. Then, allot 20% of your budget and resources to confirming and scaling past successful tests, with the remaining 10% set aside for true greenfield testing. This ratio allows you to succeed in your current timeframe while setting yourself up for future growth and innovation, all while providing enough flexibility to react, respond and manage your way through highly dynamic market and competitive environments.
- Enforce Consistency Across Touchpoints – The person responsible for online advertising is likely not the same person that’s responsible for print ads. Make sure that everyone on the marketing or advertising team is on the same page when it comes to creative direction, messaging, customer journey and end-goal. This can be a challenge, especially if you are also working with multiple agencies by channel, but there needs to be designated time (and roles) to pay attention to this. Too often the CMO’s expectations are not communicated to the associate-level marketers or channel-specific experts, putting the company at risk of disjointed campaigns and decreased brand equity.
- Invest in Technology – There are so many technologies out there to help marketers understand the value of their campaigns and determine which channels and platforms are achieving optimum return on investment and those that are not. The best of these technologies can even tell you how one channel or platform is impacting the others, allowing you full insight into the effectiveness of your entire marketing funnel. Remember to choose a solution whose measurement abilities encompass all devices and channels – online plus offline, one that works across devices both digital and analog. Remember that with a cross-channel and cross-platform strategy, you are investing for success across the board, so a limited measurement capability will blind and hamper your execution, and ultimately your success.
The importance of cross-channel and cross-platform strategies cannot be overstated. We live in a world dominated by consumer choice, and must flex to meet our customers on their terms. Successful marketers will need to understand this constantly evolving landscape and have the agility to master it, in order to win.
Matt Voda is the Chief Marketing Officer at OptiMine Software, Inc., where he is responsible for marketing, product management, and inside sales initiatives. He has more than 20 years experience that spans both Fortune® 100 companies, such as UnitedHealth Group and Digital River, as well as successful emerging enterprises. He is an expert in ROI measurement, direct and database marketing, consumer engagement strategies, SaaS, and product management. Voda graduated from University of Minnesota with a BS in Business and Marketing.