In a world where marketers constantly search for the best means to promote their products and meet customer demands, the present boost in technology is a dream-come-true. The goal, however, is to maximize the plethora of digital channels available. This goal is where cross-channel marketing becomes useful: exposing your brand while creating a wholesome shopping experience for customers.
Marketing in the past was very linear, with performance assessed based on one channel. However, with the evolution of digital tools and broadcasts today, it is possible to connect different channels that provide a synergistic effect as they guide customers on the path to purchase.
With the world becoming a global village, there’s an increasing need for marketing efforts to be unified. Cross-channel marketing uses various platforms to drive sales and give customers the best experience. These platforms range from verbal recommendations to social media campaigns, websites, emails, blog post, and mobile apps.
What is Cross-Channel Marketing?
Cross-channel marketing is a customer-focused strategy combining different channels to communicate effectively to customers. This combination ensures customers advance smoothly from one stage of the buyer journey to the next, thus creating a more cohesive customer journey. The goal is to present a similar brand story to customers across an array of channels, bearing in mind the peculiarities of each channel.
Businesses that use this approach take advantage of strategies like push notifications, promotional emails, bulk SMS, and personalized marketing messages using Facebook messenger. These methods are used together and complement each other to increase their impact.
In other words, cross-channel marketing is the term used to describe a consistent brand message across multiple channels. The channels could be paid, owned, or earned media.
Paid media refers to any marketing where you pay for placement, for example, TV commercials, radio ads, and magazine placements. Owned media are the platforms your company owns or controls, such as your website, blog post, or social media accounts. In contrast, earned media is free publicity like word-of-mouth referrals and online reviews.
Cross-channel marketing can be defined as using various platforms to drive sales and give customers the best experience. The main idea is to have a unified message that will appear on different channels to create awareness about a product/service.
Some common examples could be a company promoting their products on Instagram and Facebook simultaneously or using TV commercials to drive sales for their website.
Cross-channel is very effective if done right. The first thing one should do before implementing a strategy is to ensure that all your channels have the same message. For example, it would not make sense to sell a product on Instagram with a specific message, then use a completely different message when advertising on Facebook. That would confuse your potential customers.
Once you have a unified message, the next step is to figure out what medium works best for each channel.
For example, using visuals such as photos and videos work great on Instagram and Facebook. In contrast, TV commercials tend to be more effective for website sales since they can reach a larger audience simultaneously.
Here are a few good examples of brands that use cross-channel strategies to reach more customers and boost sales:
One of the best examples of cross-channel marketing is Adidas’ “Create Your Own Game” campaign. The brand released a new line of products and was looking to generate awareness around the launch. The main idea was to use multiple channels such as digital and traditional media, physical store, and social media.
In addition to creating several TV commercials that promoted the new collection, Adidas also launched a website where people could create their custom shoe designs. These shoes were then made available in Adidas stores.
Nike is one of the most popular athletic brands in the world, and its marketing strategy reflects that. They use a mix of online, print, television, and events to reach their target audience. For example, they run targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram to engage with younger audiences and sponsor major sporting events like the Olympics to connect with older audiences.
Apple is another brand that uses multiple channels for marketing purposes. They have a solid online presence with website ads and social media posts from influencers who promote their products. In addition, they also use more traditional methods such as print ads in magazines and billboards in high-traffic areas.
An example is how you can receive an email showing products you may be interested in after purchasing from a store. Also, you may notice that online advertisements tend to tilt towards products you’ve purchased.
What are the Benefits of this Type of Marketing?
You may be wondering if it’s worth switching from your traditional marketing to a cross-channel marketing strategy. Here is why you should go for it:
Reach a wider audience
By using multiple marketing channels, companies can reach more people. In addition, cross channel marketing approach can be helpful for businesses that need to reach a specific demographic. For example, the Baby Boomer generation primarily uses television and radio ads. In contrast, Gen Xers and Millennials are more likely to respond to mobile and social media advertisements (we’ve talked about cross-channel advertising here)
Increase brand awareness and recognition
Repeating messages across different channels can help increase brand awareness and recall. In addition, cross-channel strategies can help companies create a stronger brand image by portraying consistent messages across different platforms. A strong brand image can help companies gain long-term customers and increase sales.
Build customer relationships
This strategy allows companies to interact with their customers on multiple platforms, which can help build strong relationships over time. This interaction is critical because customers expect companies to provide a consistent experience across different channels. Cross-channel marketing can help companies stay in touch with their customers and deliver the right messages at the right time.
Increase conversion rates
By delivering consistent messages across different platforms, marketers can increase brand awareness, customer experience, and customer engagement, leading to higher conversion rates. Marketers can also use cross-channel messages to remind customers about their purchases and encourage them to complete their transactions.
Generate leads and sales
Ultimately, the goal of any marketing campaign is to generate leads and sales. By delivering consistent messages across channels, marketers can keep their brand top-of-mind and encourage potential customers to take the next step in their purchase journey.
Create a seamless customer experience
By using multiple marketing channels, companies can reach more potential customers and convert them into paying customers.
This strategy can be cost-effective because it allows companies to reuse content across different platforms. Reusing content can help businesses save money on development, production, and promotion costs. This way, companies can get the most out of their marketing efforts.
Easily measure results
By measuring marketing performance, marketers can evaluate which channel is working best and which one needs to be improved. Thus, content can be repurposed and used differently to reach more people without incurring additional costs.
With the right strategy, cross-channel marketing can lead to a higher return on investment (ROI).
Overall, this marketing strategy benefits brands because it helps them reach more potential customers, create a seamless customer experience, and be cost-effective.
And what are the disadvantages?
Just like everything else, cross-channel marketing has its drawbacks. The reason is simple. This strategy goes beyond the essential customer journey, converting it to something more complex.
To have a deeper understanding, here are a few of the negatives for your consideration.
Requires more time and effort
Creating a strategy across channels requires more time and effort than traditional marketing. This is because you must create separate campaigns for each channel and track results across all channels.
Can be challenging to implement
Because it has so many moving parts, if you’re not using the right tools or strategies, it can be tricky. However, without careful planning, it can lead to lower conversion rates and costs.
Can alienate some customers
Some customers may find it annoying or intrusive if done poorly. Campaign emails sent to their inboxes from brands they follow on social media (or vice versa) could come off as spam.
It can be time-consuming, especially if you manage everything yourself. From creating content for each channel to monitoring results across all platforms, it takes a lot of effort to keep up with your campaign. This is where having the right marketing team or partners comes in handy.
How to Create Your Cross-Channel Strategy
A solid marketing strategy across channels can enhance your brand awareness and, at the same time, leave a lasting positive impression on your customers. Here’s how to create one.
1. Create Buyer Personas
It is essential to understand your customers before creating a marketing strategy for them. Therefore, the buyer persona should be extensive and contain information on what buyers want, when they want it, how they want it, their preferred mode of communication, the most convenient channels, and even the issues encountered. These are crucial in the process of developing a buyer persona.
There are ways to get this information. For example, you can use social listening if you have a large social media following. You can also observe buyers closely to monitor how they make purchases and the channel with the most traffic. This way, it is easy to get into people’s minds and understand them better. The more you know the needs of people, the better you will be at meeting their demands.
Investing time to create a rich buyer persona cannot be over-emphasized. You have to think beyond the usual customer buying habits and behavior to develop a diverse range of buyer profiles that reach out to all customers, allowing each of them to have a personalized experience.
There’s no better way to do this than to walk in their shoes. Creating a rich buyer persona doesn’t stop at knowing the needs of people. Instead, it entails journeying through the buyer experience from start to finish. Beginning from the point of contact to the point of payment. This way, you can figure out the strength and weaknesses of the business and then identify the areas that are ripe for modification or improvement toward effective marketing.
2. Use Channels that Complement Each Other
It is important to be intuitive while selecting platforms. You have to choose channels that work best together.
For example, retail stores and mobiles, TV and mobiles, radio and computer and TV, and the list go on. While selecting, try to include the channels the customers interact the most with your brand.
3. Analyze Your Marketing Strategy
This can be done using different groups of users who do not receive ads from your marketing campaigns. It is relevant as it can be used to assess the effectiveness and impact of the marketing strategies to decipher what needs to be optimized or removed. It also tells the marketer to refrain from using a specific campaign strategy band for which section of customers.
It is possible to check the strength of marketing campaigns before introducing them to the customer population.
4. Consolidate the Results of Your Research
Integrating your findings is paramount in creating a powerful cross-channel strategy. However, making an impact goes beyond using the strategy alone, and analyzing the customer data insights can completely change your marketing game.
It is therefore essential to answer these questions: which social media platform is better? Does your social media platform support web strategy? Does your campaign pass the same message across all channels? Are you targeting a suitable customer base? Do all the channels work in harmony?
When your strategy answers these questions, you can create a better experience for customers. Furthermore, customers will always choose brands they have confidence in since they know what to expect.
5. Take Advantage of Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms have become the norm, linking billions of people worldwide to create a social community. There’s no easier way to reach out to thousands of people. Therefore, having a solid social media presence cannot be over-emphasized.
People work better with directions that are illustrated or pictorial. Social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other numerous ones out there leverage visuals to attract and keep the attention of customers and, at the same time, make it possible to communicate quickly and directly with customers. This can hardly happen with other channels.
Furthermore, social media platforms can direct customers to other channels where they come in contact with your products. This can help you increase your product awareness and expand your brand.
6. Design Buyer-Specific Content
Each buyer has a different journey. Every customer’s behavior and buying habits are unique and should be treated differently. Your content strategy must be consistent with each customer’s journey.
For example, you can send appreciation text messages to customers who have just purchased a product or offer a discount to customers who have abandoned their cart.
Personalization can improve your sales as customers are more likely to engage in customer-inclined content.
Invest in Customer Service
To keep your customers, you must ensure customer support is always available. In addition, you must always try to attend to customer needs and rectify their issues as soon as possible to keep them from shifting to other brands. You must invest in your customer support and make additions such as live chats that help customers feel valued and improve their satisfaction.
Finally, ensure a smooth transition in your customer service across all channels.
The goal is to improve and provide exceptional services, and this can, in turn, enhance customer loyalty and recommendation.
Customers engage with varying channels to meet their needs. As a result, the most successful brands keep their customers satisfied while expanding their awareness and making sales through various channels.
This strategy is precisely what cross-channel marketing offers.
Effective cross-channel strategies will lead you to shoppers at the right time and turn them into customers. However, it requires the right technology and mode of work for practical impact across all channels.
Furthermore, execution involves customer engagement and various areas of marketing. However, it is worth all the effort.
Multichannel marketing refers to the practice of using multiple channels to reach and engage customers. This might include a brand’s social media presence, website, brick-and-mortar stores, email campaigns, etc.
Cross-channel marketing takes things one step further by ensuring customers a consistent message and experience no matter which channel they interact with. So if someone were to see an ad for your product on Facebook and then come to your website, they should have a similar experience in terms of messaging, branding, etc.
This helps create a cohesive brand experience for potential customers and makes them more likely to remember your company when they are ready to purchase.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The best cross-channel strategy will vary depending on your company’s products or services, target audience, and budget.
However, some tips on creating a successful cross-channel marketing strategy include:
Define your goals – What do you want to achieve with your campaign? Ensure that each channel you use supports these goals and that your overall strategy is cohesive.
Research your audience – Whom are you trying to reach with your message? Each channel has different demographics, so it’s crucial to use the proper channels to reach your target audience.
Plan & execute carefully – An omnichannel marketing strategy can be complex, so plan it out carefully and execute it flawlessly.
Measure & optimize – Use analytics data to track your results and optimize your strategy.
This multipronged approach increases the chances that your target audience will see at least one of the messages a business is trying to communicate. Additionally, a good cross-channel marketing campaign can increase brand awareness and customer loyalty/retention.