There’s no denying it, the world is rapidly shifting from analogue to digital. People are consuming more and more digital content on a daily basis – on mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers at work, and more – and companies that have not yet recognised this in their marketing strategies need to adapt fast.
Survey data has shown that integrating communication channels such as social media, mobile, and websites has increased business success. In today’s digital world, customers connect and interact with companies through new and emerging channels at any time of the day or night, and expect a joined-up response.
To cater for this shift towards online, companies have to transform their skills, processes, business models, budgets and strategies to market across the digital lifecycle. This means finding the balance between adapting to meet the needs of customers, and keeping a close eye on resources as many marketing organisations struggle to deliver ‘more for less’. Underpinning all this is finding an appropriate technology platform that enables them to deliver on the promise of executing more engaging digital conversations with customers.
To achieve this balance, while continuing to innovate to stay ahead of the competition, companies need to think about how to deploy the most impactful channels in a co-ordinated way to add value to the customer experience.
If they truly want to change the conversation, they need to not only recognise the value of integrating digital channels, but, more importantly, put relationships first and acquisition second. Only then will they start to move away from siloed messages to create truly automated interactions with customers.
How are they co-ordinating use of websites, email, search engine optimisation and social media through things such as mobile-related channels? Simply using multiple channels does not mean you have a cross-channel strategy.
As the pace of change continues to accelerate, companies need to give themselves space to step back from the technology and focus on what they can achieve from a communications perspective.
Time needs to be spent upfront to develop a strategy in line with an organisation’s business priorities as well as investing in the technology assistance required to achieve marketing objectives. But, ultimately, to form a clear and effective cross-channel strategy, companies need to think carefully about what they are trying to achieve and determine the most appropriate digital tools for the job.
A recent survey by Responsys found that 59% of companies say integrating advertising with social media had a positive impact on conversions, while 55% said integration with mobile platforms resulted in an uplift. The survey also found that less than a third of companies (32%) rate themselves as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ at driving marketing campaigns which are co-ordinated across different channels.
Following the right strategy is paying significant dividends both in terms of boosting sales conversations and driving online engagement for many companies. Integration and prioritising customer dialogues is enabling these firms to have a long-term customer lifecycle conversation and create the digital experience customers now demand.
Regardless of how integrated your cross-channel marketing strategy is, customers won’t wait long before they start talking about your organisation online across social and mobile platforms. That means companies need to at least be aware of what customers are asking for and shape strategies accordingly.
A connected marketing strategy ultimately means giving the right people access to relevant and engaging information at the right time.