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

It’s that time of the year again where NetFinance 2013 is upon us.

As the world’s #1 multi-channel marketing conference for financial services, it’s pretty much the event to hear some of the foremost experts and industry leaders talk about the trends in multi-channel marketing.

This year, NetFinance is focusing their lens on three key topics:

Day 2 on multi-channel engagement is of particular interest to us as we’ve always been focused on the benefits a multi-channel strategy can bring to the brand. Being able to engage with customers according to their preferred communication channels? Golden.

Here’s a personal example from my own travel experiences. I was on my way to Columbia for a conference recently and my flight was delayed.

Instead of being told over the PA system that my flight was delayed, which I might have missed for some reason or other, I was informed by the airline through three separate channels of the delay: email, sms and voicemail.

Now I’ve been on delayed flights before, where I gloomily haunted the boarding area for new updates on my situation. However, through the multi-channel strategy employed by this particular airline, I was able to amble around the airport window shopping or grab a meal without fear that I might miss an update on my flight status – whether due to a crackling static filled announcement or being too far away from the boarding gate.

A Multichannel Strategy: The Role of Transactional Email or Text in Financial Services

Aside from the travel and hospitality industry, transactional messages play an incredibly important role in the financial services industry. Transferring money? You want a notification to tell you that your money transfer has been successful. Bought something through PayPal? You want an alert that confirms this transaction. Much as the story of transactional messaging is about real-time confirmation and notification of transactions, it’s also a story about security.

If for some reason someone gained access to your PIN number and withdrew a significant amount of money from your bank account, you’d want an immediate notification from your financial services provider to halt the transfer of your assets immediately.

NetFinance 2013 and Multi-Channel Strategy from the Customer Viewpoint

A key challenge financial companies face in implementing a customer-centric multi-channel strategy is due to technological limitations of disparate legacy systems. It’s all about customer personalization these days. Brands are struggling to provide that experience, which can prove impossible without redesigning their infrastructure.

Here’s where we can provide some guidance. On 1 May at 10.45am at NetFinance 2013, Message Systems will be participating in a panel on multi-channel technology:

Redesigning Corporate Structure To Be More Customer-Centric

Our SVP Barry Abel and Greg Cunningham, SVP Product Head-Digital Channels of City National Bank will take to the stage and talk about how to:

  • Evolve systems & structure it around customer needs in a multi-channel world
  • Redesign systems and records to provide end-to-end customer support
  • Discover technology that provides management of customer communications across multiple channels from a single integrated platform
  • Understand the role compliance plays in a multi-channel environment

Multi-channel doesn’t need to be a Rubik’s cube where only geniuses can get right. Start off with the right technology and get your business on the right foot with customers from the get-go. If you’d like a sneak peek of what might be to come, check out our guide on The New Communications Standard.

The New Communications Standard