Yet, according to our most recent survey, brand marketers have not changed how they manage cross-channel data. What’s going on?
In July and August of 2016, Econsultancy surveyed thousands of marketers globally to find out how they were progressing with their omnichannel strategies.
When asked about how well they were able to manage data across multiple channels, more than half (51%) said ‘we have separate, non-connected technologies managing data for different channels.’
Even more alarming was that the percentage of marketers saying this has not changed in the past three years.
The roundtable discussion
To find out why this might be, and what marketers can do about it, Econsultancy recently held roundtable discussions at our fifth annual Digital Cream Sydney.
Here are five tips offered by participants for how marketers can improve their cross-device marketing from the Cross-Device Performance Marketing table, sponsored by Criteo.
1. Organise your data
Data is an ‘essential ingredient’ for cross-device performance marketing according to participants.
So when the data is not in a usable format, marketers find it difficult to align technology across channels.
The first piece of advice from attendees, then, was that marketers need to get their data into a position where it all makes sense.
Being able to find and use the data from web, mobile, and other channels is the first step to improving cross-device marketing performance.
Once the data is under control, marketers can then test various scenarios, gauge results, and gather insights which are hidden from them when their data is not organised.
Marketers globally agree that organising data is key. According to our recent survey, 40% of marketers feel that ‘disparate data sources’ are one of the top three obstacles for omnichannel marketing.
Some participants said that data management platforms (DMPs) can help in this area, but most marketers on the day had not yet adopted that technology.
2. Map the customer journey
Another tip offered by delegates was that, once the data is in order, marketers should map the customer journey.
To get started, marketers should:
- Create two or three personas – any more can be distracting, according to one participant.
- Estimate the customer journey – think, what steps the customers take as they move through the buying process?
- Validate assumptions – speak with customers, pre and post-purchase. Doing so can also help identify pain points and new business opportunities.
The customer journey can also be validated through making small changes to key parts of your website or app.
For important steps in the journey, even small changes will have a noticeable effect, said one attendee.
This process is not easy. In fact, 37% of respondents from our survey said that the ‘complexity of the customer journey’ was one of their top three obstacles for implementing cross-channel marketing.
But, as one participant noted, the customer journey map will help you form your ongoing cross-device performance strategy.
3. Improve the experience for those close to conversion
When evaluating the various improvements to the customer journey, attendees agreed that the steps closest to conversion should be given priority.
According to participants, most customers still use their mobile for research and then purchase on the desktop.
This means that while improving the mobile experience may be important, ensuring that the desktop purchasing experience is optimized is even more critical to the business.
Of course, priorities depend on the business line as well.
For those promoting products with longer buying cycles, then improving the website content and encouraging customer visits takes priority over ecommerce.
4. Pilot to see if improvements work
As mentioned in the customer journey section, testing is a great way to validate your assumptions.
Marketers often find it difficult to get sponsorship from the business to make big changes to the site or product.
So, instead of going to battle with just your idea in hand, first make small, incremental changes to a campaign, site, or service and see whether you can improve conversions.
Participants agreed that a successful pilot of a strategic change is key to getting the fundamentals in place, aligning with the business, and getting buy-in from management.
One attendee advised that building a ‘minimum viable product’ from the lean startup methodology was a great way to start improving cross-device marketing performance.
5. Keep up with technology changes
Finally, participants noted that keeping up with technology, while difficult, was a key way to improve cross-device marketing.
Tracking users between desktop and device or from device to device has become much more sophisticated recently.
Criteo, for example, offers a proprietary identification system which allows brands to link users from your platform with ad space on thousands of premium publishers as well as social media.
It’s not easy to understand how it all works, but with some research marketers can find new, dynamic marketing channels.
And with advancements in how ad engines manage user viewing behavior and purchasing intent, marketers can now deliver more targeted, personalised, and relevant ads than ever before.
So, to really improve cross-device marketing, participants agreed, keeping on top of technology trends is a must.
A word of thanks
Econsultancy would like to thank all of the marketers who participated on the day, our Cross-Device Performance Marketing table moderator, Dominic Byrne, Head of Digital & Ecommerce at Coco Republic, and our table sponsor for the day, Criteo.
We hope to see you all at future Sydney Econsultancy events!