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Think about all the ways that a marketer can reach a consumer.

It’s the view of many that the more traditional methods such as direct mail are now battling against the variety of other channels, the ever-growing organisational use of social media for example.

This however, simply shouldn’t be the case.

What marketers should be striving to achieve is a true “cross-channel” effort, which extends the use of a variety of channels, by doing so with consistent and coordinated messaging. 

It’s important to remember how many different messages and adverts a consumer is subjected to each and every day, both consciously and subconsciously.

Therefore, if you’re saying one thing to them through your social network site, but your DM campaign doesn’t support this (or worse, counters it) then your message is going to confuse the consumer, which ultimately means they won’t buy from you.

There is a concept that suggests that when we have too many choices, our performance level drops – “analysis paralysis”. For example, perhaps you’ve had so much to do that you don’t know where to start, or you’ve simply given up on making a decision because of the multitude of options that you’re presented with.

Worryingly, some are viewing the growth of new channels and technologies as a real problem for today’s marketers, when it should actually be seen as an opportunity. Agreed, more thought needs to go into the planning of campaigns, but the results will definitely be well worth it – any route to a consumer is a marketer’s friend. 

Engage the multitasker

The fact that we seemingly have to be doing multiple things at any one time appears to be part of our culture nowadays.

Think about a typical evening in your living room. The chances are that, whilst the TV might still be the focal point, it probably isn’t the only screen demanding attention – a concept that would have been laughed down in the not so distant past. 

It was initially thought that these devices might detract from the impact of television, particularly advertising. However they’ve actually been shown to enhance this traditional medium.

This means the importance of cross-channel is becoming more prominent due to the ever-increasing number and capabilities of devices such as tablets and smartphones.

More and more people are watching programmes because someone else has recommended something that they’re currently watching via a tweet or status update.

These platforms also act as a further discussion arena where people can share their experiences – no longer is it confined to the water cooler or school playground. This demonstrates how these secondary devices supplement the main television set – strengthening the importance of true cross-channel campaigns.

Make it easy no matter which device is being used

Keeping things simple is often a great approach to take. Don’t confuse consumers as you’ll lose the limited attention they have.

This involves using consistent messaging, but also vitally making sure it is easy for consumers to purchase your product or service – after all, this is what you’re in business for.

Mobile is one area where things can greatly improve. It’s important to appreciate how mobile purchasing activity is growing. A recent study by Google showed that 67% of our online shopping activity is started on a smartphone, yet there was still a need to complete this on other devices such as a tablet or PC.

According to Econsultancy's e Multichannel Retail Survey, a majority of consumers said they would find it useful to have a choice of retail channels, with 40% of respondents in the UK saying it was very important.

Q. How important is it to be able to purchase from a retailer from different channels e.g. in a store, by mobile, online?

 

By ensuring the transactional element works just as well on a phone as on a computer, organisations can be in a much better position to gain that competitive advantage over their rivals, and build their customer base and revenues hand-in-hand by not losing customers when transitioning from one device to another. 

Bring device intelligence into the physical

The same concept of simplicity and ease also applies to more traditional in-store environments. New technology allows consumers to make contactless payments, saving them both time and effort and improving the whole purchasing experience.

Sainsbury’s has adopted something similar – an app that allows consumers to scan barcodes whilst they shop around the store, and then pay using a generated QR code when you reach the till – no need to unload and reload all your shopping.

Adding a link to customers’ Nectar points details shows real understanding from the supermarket of what customers want and need, and has made life as easy as possible.

So embrace this, use what works online and bring this into shops and stores. Make the experience a pleasurable one for customers, and increase the ease with which they are able to buy goods. Adopting this approach sooner rather than later will mean you certainly reap the rewards.

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Published 18 October, 2012 by Caroline Morris

Caroline Morris is Innovations Director at Sky IQ and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

7 more posts from this author

Comments (1)

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Jeff Straw

Making your content and your on line presence accessible through all multimedia channels is a very important aspect of improving levels of engagement. People rarely use just one device now, people have their smartphones, their tablets, laptops as well as PC's which means that format, layout and design al play a part in the perception of your company the digital customer.

about 4 years ago

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