What is multi-channel? How about cross-channel? Marketers themselves seem confused according to this article by Mediapost. It’s been defined as “data-enabled targeting”, linked to “behavior” and “customer lifecycle”. We’re going to throw our hat in the ring, with CEO George Schlossnagle’s detailed definitions on multi-channel and cross-channel, in articles featured on Mashable.

Email marketers looking to go cross-channel: Start by listening

Experian provides some advice for marketers nervous about dipping their toe into cross-channel marketing. Begin cross-channel listening first, then use that data to optimize email campaigns based on how customers choose to engage with the brand.

Got Questions For Brands on Twitter? Expect A Response 38% of the Time

If you are providing customer service through multi-channels, what do customers expect in terms of response time? This study by Steven Van Belleghem, in association with SSI and No Problem has the answer.

VanBelleghem-Customer-Service-Response-Times-by-Channel-June2013

Compare this with an earlier Socialbakers study and we see the disconnect.

  • Brands only answered 38% of questions posed to their Twitter account after an average lag time of 6.5 hours.
  • Brands were more responsive on Facebook, answering 60% of question posted there, but took almost an entire day.

Email Should Not Be a Lost Channel: Messaging To The Purse

In the rush to adopt cross-channel marketing, email should not be forgotten. Here are a few tips to optimize your email campaigns.

  • Use data to drive testing
  • Use a control group and segment customers when testing new strategies
  • Make sure you are using marketing automation effectively
  • Ensure a seamless transition from email to website by ensuring that the landing page content corresponds to the email offer

Four key cross-channel marketing challenges from Digital Cream

Here are four key challenges marketers face in cross-channel marketing:

  • Data analysis and attribution is a challenge in integrated cross-channel marketing
  • Disparate systems are major technological barriers
  • Diverse customer databases means that customer segmentation is a problem
  • Organisational hierarchies can prove a barrier to cross-channel marketing

And here are some stats from Google on how multichannel journeys begin and progress.

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Infographic: How Email Integrates Multi-Channel Marketing

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Find out more about The New Communications Standard – drive engagement by combining email with mobile messaging!

The New Communications Standard

Aside from some good old-fashioned planning, it’s important to keep in mind the following when coming up with a multi-channel strategy that underscores customer support and engagement.

1. Put into place a technological messaging infrastructure that can scale on demand to handle high volumes of traffic.

2. Ensure multichannel capability and make sure your choice platform is able to manage customer communications across different channels, be it email, mobile or social.

3. Demand visibility through real-time analytics to pinpoint issues where customer service suffers a breakdown.

Ed Weber from US Airways talks about how having such detailed technical insight helped in troubleshooting problems customers face.

Cross-Channel versus Multi-Channel Communication

But why stop at multi-channel? Think about a cross-channel strategy instead where you make the customer the center of your world. Instead of blasting messages at them from a variety of platforms, track their behavior across differing channels and create a seamless brand experience – by offering them the right messages at the right time. Here’s an example of a message I received from Facebook upon the input of a wrong password – something I fear I am constantly guilty of.

FB_trouble_logging_in

When customers are stuck or at loss, you need to be able to have cross-channel systems in place to provide them with next steps at the right time. For example, what if they are trying to log in to their online bank account and have typed the wrong password?

Go one step further when you allow customers to respond directly to your original reminder email through a different channel – such as text. Dynamic transformation of messages from one channel to the next opens up a gateway of possibilities for customers to engage with you on their terms.

When you are able to step in and guide customers along by putting into place a cross-channel strategy, you’ll leave customers with a positive and lasting impression of your business.

Want to find out how to implement a multi-channel strategy to drive customer engagement? Download a copy of The New Communications Standard white paper!

The New Communications Standard