Cover Story: The Big Qs of 2012
This is an old question with new urgency, thanks to the increasing types of devices people use to interact with digital marketing. A smartphone is not a tablet is not a computer, but the same messages are being consumed on all of them, often by the same person.
Forrester Research Inc.'s U.S. Interactive Marketing Forecast 2011-2016 (September 2011) predicts that mobile commerce will top $31 billion in five years, and marketers will be spending $8.2 billion marketing in the channel. According to the report, mobile search and display spend already top email and social (although I suspect some part of that may be due to cost differences in those channels), and the next step will be "layering in behavior or intent data to fine-tune the targeting."
Another Forrester report, Welcome to the Era of Agile Commerce (March 2011), called this the "Splinternet": "The Splinternet adds to the complexity and cost of serving customers and puts pressure on enterprise content and commerce platforms to support a diverse set of touchpoints."
"When planning an integrated marketing campaign, you need to be mindful of the customer's experience," says Carolyn Goodman, president and creative director of San Rafael, Calif.-based direct marketing agency Goodman Marketing Partners. "When exposed to your message in each of the channels, will the target feel that your brand is presenting itself in a consistent way? Even though there are now more media channels in the marketing mix, consistency of message is critical to drive marketing objectives (awareness, interest, desire and action)."
This adds layers to the already tricky task of managing customer and prospect relationships between Web, email and traditional direct mail and phone contacts. The core issue is not how do you speak through those channels—although some experiences during the USPS Summer Sale on QR Codes showed that opening a new channel can be more complicated than it looks—but corralling the information.