How to Build a Cross-Channel Marketing Strategy the Right Way

Alex Danchenko

Some say that the modern consumer is difficult to catch since there are so many touchpoints. We say that consumers can be reached and engaged with in more ways than ever. Marketers can gain deeper insights by using a systematic approach that considers every channel. 

In this article, you’ll discover what cross-channel marketing is, why your business needs it, how to build a strong marketing strategy, and what challenges you should be aware of.

What is Cross-Channel Marketing?

Cross-channel marketing is a strategy used by businesses to interact with consumers across a few marketing channels, like push notifications, email, ads, SMS, etc., in a way that makes a natural flow for your target market to move from one stage to the next throughout their customers’ journeys.

Cross-channel communications can be used at many points in the customer experience, from lead generation to client retention. It enables you to maintain the dialogue so clients may get in touch with you whenever and wherever they require your services.

Omnichannel vs. Cross Channel: What’s the Difference?

Omnichannel marketing and cross-channel marketing campaigns are slightly different. The omnichannel approach provides a seamless shopping experience with connected touchpoints pursuing the same objective, which uses consistent and personalized messaging campaigns across multiple channels, offline and online.

Customers frequently use two channels at once. Before buying a product, for instance, they can use their mobile device to check costs or read reviews at a store. Another illustration: a customer who visits a bookstore with a specific requirement they cannot locate, so they ask a salesperson to check on one of the store's computers. The book is, therefore, no longer on the shelf, but the salesperson assures the customer that he may get it online right now. The customer provides his information, verifies his address, makes a payment, and the book is sent to his home. No matter the channel used, omnichannel strategies enable clients to obtain real-time information whenever and wherever they choose.

With cross-channel marketing, customers might use various channels. A brand's channels should be mixed to improve the customer experience. For example, a customer who visits a store and tries on some clothing likes it but isn't sure about the purchase. Later, after giving it some thought at home, he orders the clothing online.

When and Why to Use Cross-Channel Messaging

We at Reteno know that cross-channel marketing enables businesses to interact with consumers on their preferred platforms and provide customized offers that are useful to them specifically. With that, other benefits kick in.

  • Increased engagement and conversions

Customers receive the content most pertinent to their needs across a range of channels, as opposed to being presented with disconnected messages about all the wonderful things you can do or the products you sell. Cross-channel marketing develops more meaningful and tailored customer experiences. It increases customer engagement as they find precisely what they want with a pleasant offer. 

  • Coherent overall ROI

Since each component of the marketing experience is connected with the others, it is simpler to evaluate your marketing efforts as a whole, which makes it easier to calculate and comprehend marketing ROI. Brands may more effectively track customer touchpoints and marketing ROI with cross-channel marketing campaigns. 

Marketers can identify which channels aren't generating conversions by studying client data. Using this data, your brand can enhance its channels to retain clients after recognizing weak points.

  • Enforced brand voice 

Cross-channel communications spread a brand's messages throughout various media, which helps to create a recognizable brand identity and the desired consumer awareness of your business. A company's name, logo, fonts, messaging, and colors are tangible aspects that help define its identity.

Businesses can use consumer data analysis to establish a consistent brand identity that appeals to their target market. Consumers become comfortable with your brand's voice and products when it is consistent across all channels. This favorable brand reputation can then result in devoted customers.

9 Steps to Create a Cross-Channel Marketing Strategy

Cross-channel campaigns are a serious deal; take the same serious approach when working on the strategy to make everything right.

  1. Set a measurable plan

To determine the effectiveness of your efforts, benchmarking performance indicators should be at the center of your process.

Set targets for your plan's engagement, conversion, and retention benchmarks in addition to constant monitoring performance metrics.

  1. Create buyer personas

Develop user personas to understand the behavior of different audiences. Usually, it’s around four user personas that represent a variety of targeted clients. It helps identify the products and messaging that will appeal to your audiences on each channel.

Create demographic, psychographic, geographic, and behavioral customer segmentation for your target audience. It will enable you to precisely grasp each segment of your client's needs and cater your messaging and product offerings to them.

  1. Think of the buyer’s journey

After you've established your consumer categories, learn more about their behavior. You will interact with your clients more strategically if you know who they are and their paths before making decisions. 

Analyze the interactions between cohorts with comparable demographics and interests on crucial digital marketing platforms. Visualize customer journey maps so the marketing team will have a customer-focused illustration of your audience's thought processes.

  1. Create content strategy

Consumers are more likely to purchase products from companies that provide personalization and give needed recommendations. Crafting a well-executed digital content strategy that incorporates personalized recommendations can foster stronger brand loyalty and drive sales. Businesses can provide this appealing content with the aid of a strong cross-channel marketing plan.

Here are cross-channel marketing examples for a personalized experience:

  • Send out offers customized to a particular customer's journey (new customer, loyal customer, etc.).
  • Deliver remarketing notifications regarding recently-viewed products or items they’ve abandoned in their shopping cart.
  • Make location-based marketing communications, for example, for a city your store is in.
  1. Choose channels that complement one another

After determining what your customers desire, you need to think about the communication channels that would deliver specific messages for specific goals with a logical link. For instance, social media marketing and search marketing are complementary: you see an ad on Instagram, search for the brand on Google, or get a printed ad with QR for a website when walking to the office. You look more into it at home. 

Here are some starting points you should consider: SEO, social media marketing, websites, PPC, display advertising, retargeting, email marketing, push notifications, live chats, and print advertisements.

  1. Find one place to store your data

Improve data quality to understand customers better and increase engagement across all channels. Using an all-in-one marketing solution, which offers a wealth of data points and aids in creating a unified view of your consumer as they move between platforms and leave tracks, is an essential part of a good strategy.

  1. Do A/B testing

The market can drastically change in a week, so you must constantly adapt your campaigns based on data-driven decisions. How? Run A/B testing to make sure your cross-channel marketing strategy is successful.

When conducting A/B tests, include appropriate control groups that haven't yet seen your campaign. This control group establishes a standard that assesses your strategies' effectiveness more precisely. 

  1. Monitor and analyze performance

Utilize metrics and data analytics programs like Google Analytics to evaluate and keep track of the success of your marketing activities. You'll learn what works and what doesn't and get helpful information for working on your current campaigns or other upcoming marketing initiatives.

  1. Use insights and improve strategy

It's critical to keep in mind that developing a cross-channel marketing plan requires ongoing effort. You must continually adjust your strategy as you analyze client data to keep users interested across channels. 

Common Challenges to Implement a Cross-Channel Approach

Thinking of all the benefits, you shouldn't forget that cross-channel campaigns can be tricky. You should be ready for a couple of issues on this path. 

Lack of data

You can execute working cross-channel marketing only when you have a complete 360-degree perspective of each customer. You must gather client information from various sources (such as your website, email, social media, offline store, mobile apps, or whatever you have) and transform it into valuable insights to accomplish the goals.

Lack of needed tools

To deliver integrated experiences, a brand typically needs six to ten different cross-channel marketing solutions. Most of them are either with a basic set of features or pricey. You should establish your objectives, spending plan, strategy, and similar elements early on to determine your required tools and budget.

Lack of expertise

A marketer who used to work with a single- or multi-channel approach might need a lot of time to learn and test hypotheses before the strategy starts working. You require experts who are familiar with the game's rules.

Cross-Channel Marketing Use Cases

Below, you’ll find a couple of cross-channel marketing examples for your inspiration and some ideas to start.

Starbucks: Gift Card Campaign 

During the holiday shopping season in 2021, Starbucks sold more than 55 million gift cards in the U.S., including both physical and digital cards. In the 2022 holiday shopping season, approximately $3 billion was loaded onto Starbucks Cards.

With all the buzz around Starbucks coffee, a gift card is a good idea for a small present. Here, a customer purchases a gift card either offline (printed) or online (website, the Starbucks app, Apple iMessage and Microsoft Teams) and gifts it to another person. This person registers online to use this card. Then goes offline to get those coffees and get hooked on all the unusual tastes. Starbucks sends push notifications like ‘We’ve missed you; come visit us and get a discount’ or ‘Taste our new Frappuccino.’ It is an excellent example of connecting one idea with different channels. 

Under Armour: Communications via the app

Under Armour, a fitness brand, works well to develop a cross-channel customer experience by analyzing its users' behavior. Along with its Connected Fitness community, it increases interactive engagement with its "UA Shop" — lifestyle-based personalized purchasing app.

The app gives users a customized experience based on information about them, such as their favorite athletes, exercise routines, and past purchases. For instance, its collaboration with several apps enables the delivery of information about users' fitness activities based on connected fitness trackers. With this data, Under Armour can build relevant offers to each buyer persona group, perform accurate marketing campaigns, and drive more customers. Read our article on tips and tricks to learn more about in-app messaging.

Final Thoughts

Throughout the customer lifecycle, cross-channel marketing enables firms to connect with consumers on the most proper and preferred channels. Contact us if you need help putting a cross-channel strategy into action, and we'll devise the best course of action together.

The Reteno vs Customer.io comparison shows that you may have difficulties with adapting certain channels. Thus, adapt the CDP that will give you freedom of choice.

Reteno

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September 16, 2022

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