Creating a consistent experience across marketing channels is far from easy. A successful cross-channel marketing strategy requires a clear vision, reliable and up-to-date customer data, and a good way to manage it all.
Yet, if done right, it can transform your campaigns with relevant, revenue-driving messaging that reaches your target customers at just the right time.
Here’s a deeper dive into all things cross-channel marketing, including strategies, benefits, and how to optimize your approach.
What is cross-channel marketing?
Cross-channel marketing is a comprehensive approach to connecting with customers on multiple channels—such as social media, email, SMS, search, and display advertising. The objective is to deliver unified messaging throughout the entire customer journey. By understanding customer preferences and goals, brands can create seamless, personalized user experiences across multiple platforms.
Why is cross-channel marketing important?
Cross-channel marketing allows B2C businesses to gain valuable insights into customer behavior that help them reach the maximum number of potential customers. Brands can deliver more relevant, personalized experiences that lead to increased customer engagement and loyalty.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
With a cross-channel approach, businesses can track customer journeys across multiple channels, gaining insight into where customers are engaging with their brand. This data is used to improve the overall buyer journey and to inform future marketing campaigns.
Example of cross-channel marketing for B2C businesses
Let’s get a better picture of how cross-channel marketing works.
Imagine a footwear brand wants to promote their new seasonal product line. They reach out to customers online with promotions, targeted ads, and engaging activities such as surveys and giveaways.
They also have a strong presence on social media, posting content daily to keep their audience engaged on various social platforms. They find the Stories feature on Instagram is the perfect place to display their latest sneakers.
With audience segmentation, the brand is able to target Facebook ads and email campaigns to the customers most likely to buy.
Online channels direct back to the company’s website, where customers can find more information about the latest products and promotions and ultimately make their purchases.
Offline, promotion continues with direct mail advertising. Additionally, the business deploys mobile marketing campaigns, such as text messages (SMS) and push notifications, to keep customers engaged.
With a cross-channel approach to marketing, the business increases customer engagement through an integrated experience. They gain a better understanding of customer behavior and preferences, and use that to create a continuous cycle of selling to their most loyal customers.
How is cross-channel marketing different from multichannel marketing?
Cross-channel and multichannel marketing are similar in that they both involve engaging customers on multiple channels.
However, multichannel marketing tends to take a more fragmented approach, focusing on optimizing individual platforms. This is often executed with separate data sets.
Cross-channel marketing takes a more holistic approach, focusing on creating a consistent, personalized customer experience across all channels.
Cross-channel marketing involves working from a unified data set. Customer behavior—like website visits, add-to-carts, or link clicks—is tracked across multiple channels. Ideally, all this data is gathered into a customer data platform (CDP) to create unified customer profiles.
This enables marketers to uncover relevant insights and learn how to better meet customers where they’re at.
How to create a cross-channel marketing strategy
Before jumping into a cross-channel campaign, it’s critical to have a strategy in place. This strategy should be supported by relevant customer data, the right tools, and solutions to ensure your resources and efforts aren’t wasted.
Here’s a step-by-step overview of how to create a cross-channel campaign that gets results:
1. Understand your target customer
It’s important to define who your target customer is and what interests and motivations drive them. Understanding your customer by obtaining a single customer view is the foundation for executing an effective cross-channel campaign.
To do that, you need an increasingly detailed customer persona. This means identifying and segmenting your audience based on different attributes, such as lifestyle, location, or purchase history.
Collect data about customer demographics, interests, behaviors, needs, and goals. Once all of this information is gathered, organize the data and create a profile for each customer segment.
Using these profiles, you can tailor your approach and target each segment with more personalized content and organic experiences.
2. Define your goals
In order to launch a fruitful cross-channel marketing campaign and measure its success, it’s essential to define your goals in advance:
- Identify your main goal. Who is your target audience? What do you want them to do?
- Identify which channels you will use. The channels you choose to reach your customer base—such as email, social media, or paid advertising—will largely depend on customer demographics and behaviors.
- Set specific objectives for each channel. Define key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be used to track progress and measure the effectiveness of your campaign.
- Decide on a timeline for each objective. From there you can work backwards to schedule out your campaign to-dos, including evaluating the results and iterating as needed.
Defining your goals with clear parameters will set the framework to keep your campaign focused and on track.
3. Identify customer touchpoints
Customer touchpoints are any points of contact that customers have with your brand and messaging.
By segmenting customers according to their interests, behaviors, demographics, and other criteria, you can determine which channels are most effective for each segment. Different channels will be more or less relevant depending on which segment you are trying to reach.
Examine which customer touchpoints are associated with each channel, and use this data to design your marketing strategy.
4. Develop creative assets
This is where you’ll want to tap into your team’s content marketing expertise. Developing creative assets for a cross-channel marketing campaign requires planning and research. Brands need to understand the many channels their target audience uses and create content that is tailored for each.
For example, content created for Instagram may not translate well to TikTok because of the different formatting requirements and user preferences of each platform.
Once you’ve decided which channels you will use, develop content that is appropriate for each one. Use video, images, and copy to create different versions of the same message, ensuring consistency in your messaging across channels.
Without a winning set of creative assets, even the most optimized customer segmentation and lifecycle marketing efforts can fall flat. If content creation isn’t your strong suit, hire an experienced content marketer to craft your messaging and align it with your brand voice.
5. Set up tracking mechanisms
Implement tracking methods to measure the performance of each channel and identify areas for improvement. This is where a robust customer data platform is a game changer.
Not only does a CDP centralize all the data you need to launch a cross-channel campaign, it also offers features to help you create accurate customer profiles and uncover insights from your customer data.
The right CDP will allow your marketing team to use tags, website tracking, and integration capabilities to ensure you always know your numbers. With rule-based workflows, you can easily track historical campaign results. And automation will enable you to conduct A/B testing, track customer interactions as they happen, and adjust your campaigns in real time.
6. Measure, analyze, and iterate
It’s important not to overlook this final step.
Once your campaign is underway, begin to analyze the data. Find out which channels and messages are the most successful, what types of customers are engaging, and where there’s opportunity for improvement.
Make adjustments as necessary. Then repeat the process—gather and analyze the new data, then iterate again. Data analysis tools make it easier to examine the results of your campaigns and make adjustments.
As you figure out what does and doesn’t work, keep this data on hand for planning future campaigns.
Benefits of cross-channel marketing
There’s a reason cross-channel marketing exists. When done right, it is an indispensable part of a larger marketing strategy.
Here are some of the benefits you can count on:
Reaching the maximum number of customers
By engaging customers on multiple channels, businesses can reach a wider audience. Maximizing your reach means more sales opportunities—and more data to base future campaigns on.
Creating a unified customer experience
Cross-channel marketing allows brands to create a seamless, consistent customer experience across platforms. This increases both brand awareness and engagement. Potential customers learn to know, like, and trust your brand, which increases the chances that they’ll purchase from you.
Improving customer engagement and loyalty
The more personalized touchpoints you create, the stronger the bond between you and your customers, because you’re staying at the top of their minds. Nurturing these relationships turns one-time customers into repeat customers, and repeat customers into brand evangelists.
Measuring the customer journey for increased ROI
As you track customer journeys across multiple channels, you will gain insights into where customers are engaging with your brand and how to improve the customer experience. Once you know the where and how, it’s simply a matter of doubling down and investing your resources where you’re getting the most ROI. This leads to profitable campaigns that earn more than they spend.
How to measure the success of a cross-channel marketing campaign
A key part of any marketing campaign is knowing your numbers. To execute data-driven campaigns, you must have a good way to track that data in the first place.
So how do you track and measure your success? Here are a few metrics to focus on:
1. Website performance
Industry-standard web analytics tools like Google Analytics can be used to measure your website’s performance. Here you’ll find insights such as website visits, page views, time spent on the site, and click-through rates.
More sophisticated platforms may also include IP address mapping tools, which can help you determine which markets show the most potential.
2. Channel traffic
Tracking traffic from each channel, such as email, social media, organic search, and display advertising, can provide you with valuable insights into customer preferences.
Perhaps you think your largest audience is on Facebook, but once you gather the numbers, you discover it’s your email marketing efforts that are delivering the best results.
Specifics like this can’t be known with certainty unless you accurately track and quantify the results. Automating this process will save you substantial time and resources.
3. Customer engagement
Monitoring customer engagement across channels can provide insights into customer loyalty and activity. Did they sign up for your newsletter? Did they leave an abandoned cart?
Monitoring customer engagement and how many touchpoints they’ve had with your brand gives you a glimpse into where they are in their buyer’s journey. When you combine this with customer segmentation, it becomes easier to target customers with timely messaging that will lead them toward a purchase.
Tracking conversions across multiple channels can provide insights into which platforms are the most effective at driving sales. Pay attention to specifics like pay-per-click (PPC) conversions and cost per purchase.
By tracking key metrics and analyzing customer data, businesses will uncover first-party data they might not have found otherwise.
Running cross-channel marketing campaigns with Simon CDP
Simon CDP is a comprehensive customer data platform that enables businesses to unify, analyze, and activate customer data from multiple sources.
Simon Data’s powerful automated tools make it a breeze to implement cross-channel campaigns tailored to individual customers. With Simon CDP, businesses can measure the success of their campaigns and gain valuable insights that translate into revenue.
Get a customized demo to learn how to make your cross-channel campaigns a seamless experience with Simon CDP.