Are Your Multichannel Efforts Disorganized?
Omnichannel. Data driven. Regardless of meaning, these buzzwords support the idea that marketing is more complex than ever. Combating that complexity with multiple specialists isn't always the smartest move, however. Often, there are too many hands on deck.
Yes Lifecycle Marketing recently commissioned a survey of over 250 marketers to understand how they connect to their customers online and offline, manage technology and service providers, and integrate marketing systems and service providers.
The research found that the range of channels and service providers is actually causing a new headache for marketers, who are struggling to accomplish their goals due to the lack of staff, insufficient budget, and the madness of managing multiple technology and service providers.
By understanding these challenges, marketers can improve their multichannel efforts. Here are three main challenges and their proposed remedies:
1. Marketers struggle to integrate their systems and providers: The survey found that nearly half of marketers (52 percent) use six or more outbound channels to interact with their customers, and another 28 percent manage seven or more technology or service vendors as part of their marketing services initiative. As a result, marketers are spending an astounding amount of time trying to synchronize their communication strategies. Twenty-one percent spend more than 15 hours every week coordinating technology and service providers.
The solution is simple, yet unique. With more niche marketing vendors providing channel-specific solutions, marketers must be selective about the vendors they chose to work with. Marketers should consider a "less is more" approach to achieve integrated communications goals. It's becoming increasingly crucial for marketers to choose a service partner that can provide a full-service, integrated offering.
2. Marketers struggle to align goals and metrics: According to the survey, marketers would love to develop and maintain long-term relationships with their customers (33 percent cited this as their top goal), yet are focusing their attention elsewhere. Marketers are measuring customer acquisition and revenue rather than "indicator metrics," so they're unable to identify areas of improvement.
Instead, marketers should focus on "retention metrics" and "customer satisfaction ratings" that can help an organization build long-term relationships with customers. By measuring customer recommendations/referrals and customer complaint metrics, marketers can identify where their campaigns are falling short and increase focus to improve engagement and retention.
3. Managing customer interactions is harder than ever: The cross-channel environment offers multiple touchpoints for customers. Marketers consciously try to coordinate communications across these channels to understand where consumers are in the lifecycle journey. However, the various touchpoints challenge marketers to coordinate and deliver the right messaging.
Again, the selection of vendors plays a crucial role here. Marketers must find a vendor that can manage multiple customer interactions across multiple channels to create a seamless customer experience. This will not only synchronize marketing efforts, but save time, and as a result, save money.
Budget, staffing and the customer experience are key components to consider when addressing multichannel marketing. Customers are increasingly becoming comfortable communicating across multiple channels, making it imperative for marketers to coordinate their messaging. The challenge is dynamic, but the solution simple: Marketers who stick to "less is more" will successfully coordinate service partners, brand messaging, and as a result encourage customer retention.
Michael Fisher is president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing, a solution provider that brings together multichannel marketing platforms and data.
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