Secrets of Customer Centricity, Part 3: Cross-channel Alignment
Consumer expectations are changing. It’s not enough to just offer quality products and excellent service—consumers expect to be recognized and understood. They want an always-on relationship with the brands they do business with, but it needs to be on their terms, not yours. The age-old marketing adage “deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time” is more relevant than ever, but with consumers constantly shifting between devices, platforms, and across media, it’s much easier said than done.
Cross-channel marketing shows great potential, but marketers need to adapt and innovate to overcome the many challenges that lie ahead. In part three of our ‘Secrets of Customer Centricity Series,’ we’re diving into the increasingly complex world of cross-channel alignment, why it’s important, and how you can stay one step ahead of changing customer expectations.
Connecting the Customer Journey
The customer journey is a winding road. It moves inconsistently across various touchpoints and periods of time.You’d be remiss to ignore this fact, as even one missed touchpoint or miscommunication can leave a bad impression and result in lost revenue. By looking at the customer journey as a dynamic, ever-evolving series of touchpoints rather than a linear progression, you can keep a better pulse on how your brand is resonating and the path to purchase.
By leveraging marketing technology, you’ll be able to extrapolate on past behavior. Don’t just meet your customers at that next touchpoint, beat them there. This foresight helps you respond quickly to changes in behavior and create connected experiences that surprise and delight.
Maintaining Message Consistency
By crafting cohesive, omnichannel experiences across devices and touchpoints, you can maintain a consistent brand message and be more strategic with your communications. This ensures that your messages take audience preferences and past engagement into consideration.
It’s not enough to simply repurpose the same message from one channel to the next. You need to weave a narrative that guides your customer from point A (evaluation) to point B (purchase). It’s also critical to tailor each message to suit each channel’s nuances.
The Importance of Data and Technology Integration
To connect the customer journey and maintain message consistency, you need to integrate data from all corners of your marketing stack. As we’ve previously explored, data is at the heart of understanding customers—what they need, when they need it and, on what device (or in what channel) they will consume it.
According to a recent study by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Zeta, a fragmented approach to data poses significant challenges for marketers, including the manual effort required to analyze data for actionable insights (57%), challenges testing and optimizing campaigns (52%), difficulty tracking and observing customer preferences (52%), and difficulty building holistic customer profiles (49%).
When you’re able to unite your customer data, you unlock transformational insights that lead to more meaningful relationships.
It’s just as important to have a well-integrated martech stack that can generate meaningful insights from your customer data. Managing multiple point solutions that cater to different channels can lead to stack complexity, inefficiency, and a disjointed workflow.
According to the Forrester study, a well-integrated data and technology environment yields immediate, far-reaching benefits including:
- Improved brand reputation (68%)
- A revenue advantage through increased speed to market (68%)
- Improved internal collaboration, allowing teams to access and share information seamlessly (61%)
- Ability to analyze data in the application, enabling real-time insights and empowering data-driven decision making (59%).
These findings underscore the importance of integrating your data to connect the customer journey across channels.
With an integrated tech stack, you can also take advantage of AI-based tools that streamline workflows and attribution, making it easier for marketers to build sophisticated multi-touch campaigns.
Attribution and Measurement
As you build out your cross-channel strategy, you’ll need to start thinking more about attribution and measurement. Accurately attributing conversions and ROI by channel, or string of channels, is a big challenge.
Because the customer journey is non-linear, there are often a series of relevant and timely brand exposures that influence a decision. Understanding the influence that each channel, each message, and each touch collectively have on performance is critical to ascribing ROI.
To do so, you need a connected technology environment with multi-touch attribution models that can track customers on an individual basis. Attribution can be challenging to refine, but when executed properly it can offer incredibly valuable insights about customer engagement and campaign efficacy.
Don’t Forget About Privacy and Compliance
When creating a cross-channel marketing plan, check the privacy rules for the channels and markets you operate in. Privacy laws change fast, making it challenging for marketers to know what’s allowed, particularly when transitioning between name-based and ID-based systems.
Cross-channel personalization with privacy is a delicate balance that comes with legal and ethical considerations, so it’s important to be aware of what laws and jurisdictions apply to your communications.
Pulling It All Together
Cross-channel marketing is necessary for brands that are looking to develop customer-centric communication strategies. While building truly a truly connected customer experience is challenging, it’s certainly feasible. If connected communications are a goal for your team in 2024, here are four strategies to consider:
- Unified customer data platforms (CDPs): Implement a CDP similar to what Zeta offers that aggregates and centralizes customer data from various sources and can provide a comprehensive view that enables personalization and individual targeting.
- AI and automation:Leverage AI-driven tools and automation to streamline processes so marketers can focus on strategy, while enabling real-time adaptability and personalized campaigns. These capabilities are native to the Zeta Marketing Platform.
- Integrated analytics and attribution models: Develop analytics frameworks and multi-touch attribution models to better understand the customer journey, accurately attribute conversions, and measure cross-channel impact. Again, offered via the Zeta Marketing Platform.
- Agile marketing practices: Embrace agile methodologies to adapt more quickly to emerging trends and shifting consumer behavior.
By embracing customer-centric communications, marketers can unlock the true potential of cross-channel marketing and put themselves in a position to win in 2024.
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