It is always a challenge for brand marketers to optimize campaigns, even in a single channel.

Coordinating campaigns across many channels is even harder, though, according to a recent Econsultancy research report, produced in association with IBM Marketing Cloud.

When asked whether their organisations 'could effectively deliver cross-channel marketing', fewer than one in ten (6%) brand marketers indicated that they could to any great extent.

Yet in the same report, marketers also stated that brands should endeavour to improve their cross-channel marketing and gave three good reasons why.

1) To increase conversions

Consistent, well-orchestrated messaging across channels is always worthwhile - doing so produces a better customer experience. Cross-channel marketing also, according to a recent Nielsen Norman Group report, builds user confidence, sets correct expectations, and earns users' trust.

While desirable, improving the customer experience is not an end unto itself, though. For a marketing campaign to be successful, it needs to help the business as well.

When asked to rate the effect cross-channel marketing had on their business, more than three in four (77%) client side marketers indicated that cross-channel marketing has a 'major impact' on 'increasing conversions'.

Additionally, three in four (75%) use 'sales / revenue' figures to measure effectiveness indicating that their goals are in line with the business. That is, marketers use cross-channel marketing to increase conversions which, in turn, boosts top-line performance.

One example of using cross-channel marketing to improve conversions is by retargeting website visitors with relevant advertising.  A consumer may see a product initially on the website but it takes a reminder via display advertising to turn the browser into a customer.

2) To enhance advocacy

Interestingly, survey respondents also indicated that they use cross-channel marketing for business objectives which are much more difficult to measure than revenue. Namely, more than half (57%) of company respondents indicated that cross-channel marketing has a major impact on 'enhancing advocacy' as well.  

While it is more difficult to directly associate advocacy to business growth, industry thought-leaders feel that advocacy may be equally, if not more, important to the business than conversions.

According to management consultancy Bain & Co, only one in nine companies achieve sustainable profitable growth and successful companies have twice the level of customer advocacy as their competitors.  If cross-channel marketing can increase word-of-mouth exposure, then it is a powerful tool, indeed.

Using cross-channel marketing to enhance advocacy may be as simple as including social media icons on a website or emails or be as sophisticated as asking happy customers to leave a review on a third-party, industry-specific site.

3) To improve customer retention

Acquiring new customers and having them advocate your product or services is great, but ideally brands would like each new customer to be a loyal, repeat customer.

The reason for this is that, again according to Harvard Business School, a "5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit". And, in another study, Gartner found that "80% of a company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of existing customers."

So, it was encouraging to see that more than half (54%) of marketers responding to our survey felt that cross-channel marketing has a 'major impact' on customer retention as well.

Abandoned cart emails are perhaps the most common way brands use multiple channels to improve retention but many marketers also use custom audiences on Google and Facebook to advertise to their existing customer base through search and social advertising.

So...

Cross-channel marketing is not easy, yet brands who do it well will enjoy improved conversion rates, increased advocacy, and more customer retention.

They will also be head and shoulders above their peers which is always a worthwhile, if difficult-to-measure, goal!

Jeff Rajeck

Published 19 April, 2017 by Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck is the APAC Research Analyst for Econsultancy . You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.  

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