Adopt a Cross-Channel Mindset to Meet Increasing Customer Expectations

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In 2018, marketers can be incredibly flexible and creative in designing captivating and targeted journeys for their customers – almost without limit. Why develop targeted or personalized journeys for your customers? For one, we all know that engagement and conversion will be materially higher than with generic experiences and communications. The question then becomes, on which channels shall I extend the journeys I’m creating? And, why do I need to focus on more than just one at a time?

Customer expectations have changed. Customers want to be engaged on the channels they choose at the time they choose. So, is this email? Probably not. Is this mobile push? Likely not only push. In fact, Forrester Research identifies 19 channels in use by marketers in their new report Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Marketing, Q1 2018. Marketers need to evaluate what combination of channels are needed to deliver exceptional experiences.

And to deliver cross-channel campaigns, marketers need tools that offer a single flowcharting interface on which different channels, especially digital channels, can be leveraged.

Let’s explore three tips for enabling marketers like you to take your cross-channel marketing efforts to the next level.

Cross-channel campaign tip #1: Transform your mindset

Expanding from, say, email to mobile push and SMS is not just a matter of “adding channels.” Delivering experiences across these channels requires marketers to transform how they think about the design of their customer journeys while ensuring consistency. This is not an issue of leveraging an email and somehow making the content available via SMS or mobile push.

By embracing a “cross-channel” mindset, marketers will design journeys that can capture the attention of their customers where and when they expect it. To that point, a consumer will not expect to receive an email-like experience via their mobile app on their mobile device. Marketers understand this and need to design integrated campaigns that offer appropriate messages on each appropriate channel.

Cross-channel campaign tip #2: Leverage location and AI

If you plan to incorporate mobile channels into your customer journeys (which you should! See this blog article on Mobile), you will need a tool that allows you to design, test, and activate integrated, cross-channel campaigns. Marketers will incorporate location into the flow of the experience to ensure maximum personalization.

According to Forrester’s report, 78% of marketers support mobile push or plan to do so in 12 months. This number is also 78% for SMS/MMS. To use these channels effectively, marketers must take location into consideration. This includes known locations such as retail locations with geo-fence boundaries.

This also should include a consumer’s preferred locations, such as their home or work. Only by knowing when a consumer enters or leaves a preferred location can a brand engage with truly personalized content. For example, when Brittany leaves her “home” location on the morning of a flight, an airline could send a push message confirming the status of her flight. This would delight Brittany. The possibilities are endless.

Cross-channel campaign tip #3: Anticipate customer behavior

In the spirit of engaging personally with customers, marketers need to understand and leverage their customers’ behavior to deliver the right offer at the right time. Marketers need to capture customer behavior (ideally in real time) across various channels (including website, social, email, mobile, and more). This data then needs to be accessible by the cross-channel campaign tool to determine what content to deliver or what branch to traverse in the campaign program workflow.

Leveraging customer behavior to make campaign and communication decisions in real time can differentiate a marketer’s efforts from that of another brand. Beyond this approach, tools can leverage AI to analyze customer behavior to deliver predictive insights to marketers, enabling them to consider even more personalized offers for a more refined customer segment (e.g. such as those with an 80% likelihood of opting out of a brand’s communications within the next 30 days).

Forrester: B2C Marketing pros are looking to deliver contextually relevant campaigns

According to the recently published report Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q1 2018, marketers are growing to realize that cross-channel campaigns are the path to addressing customers’ expectations for the experiences brands are making available to them. Forrester also identifies the following two areas as key differentiators for the various solutions that address this market:

  • Customer data management
  • Campaign orchestration

Vendors should seek to offer solutions that streamline orchestration across channels while enabling the creation of campaigns that leverage customer profile and behavior data – preferably in real time. IBM Watson Marketing offers these solutions.

Read the Forrester report to learn about the cross-channel campaign management market and see why Watson Marketing is a leader. Good luck with your cross-channel marketing efforts!

Product Marketing, Watson Marketing

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