Cross-Channel Campaign Management in the Cloud
For the past few years, marketers have responded to consumers’ increasing control over how, where and when companies reach them. New social media channels both ignite and quench consumers thirst for connectivity and expression, while allowing them to dictate who may contact them — and how. As the proliferation of channels and devices complicates the marketer's task to successfully reach target audiences, the need for consistency, relevancy and pinpoint accuracy in message, timing and channel has become paramount.
The response has been an explosion of new technologies to support cross-channel marketing. However, for many companies communication channels are managed separately, sometimes as separate departments. The results are all-too familiar: over- or off-message communications to customers, who then opt out or tune out and, conversely, undercommunication to newer customers who seek information and need to be cultivated.
The emergence of cross-channel campaign management solutions, offered as Software as a Service (SaaS), changes the game.
A campaign management solution needs to offer users a way to identify and select target audiences; assign correct offers/treatments; define attributes for personalization; perform elementary analytics; execute, track and report on each campaign on each channel; manage customer contact history; and develop consistent business rules without the need for programming.
The competitive marketer's checklist for a cross-channel campaign management solution should include the following:
- better customer insight through the consolidation of customer data into a single, multidimensional marketing data mart;
- cross-channel orchestration of direct mail, email, SMS, and social media via one interface;
- built-in segmentation tools and up-to-the-minute model scores;
- customer analysis and data visualization tools powered by a business intelligence engine; and
- multiwave campaigns that allow the results of an initial campaign to automatically guide or select subsequent marketing treatments.
With the emergence of the cloud, traditional cross-channel marketing tools are now being delivered as SaaS. While some big misconceptions exist — e.g., information isn't secure, platforms require users to conform to predefined data schemas — savvy companies aren't believing the myths and finding tremendous advantages from selecting a cloud-based solution. With cross-channel campaign management, these advantages add up fast.
Consider the following benefits of working with a cloud-based solution:
- Significantly less expense and complexity: This is especially true when compared to integrating a variety of channel-specific solutions and/or installing an enterprise software suite;
- Faster deployment: Cloud software is already production ready. Companies need only complete two steps: map their data feeds and train their user community.
- Minimal/no reliance on internal IT resources: A cloud-based system means access and control can finally reside in the marketing department.
- Seamless, automatic upgrades with minimal impact on operations.
- Anywhere, anytime access as only a browser is required.
- Guaranteed uptime with continuous operations: That means minimal downtime for maintenance and upgrades, which are planned for off-peak hours.
- Quick return on investment because the up-front cost is far lower and the time to production is short.
- Lower cost of ownership with a predictable monthly subscription fee.
- Secure data: It's not where the data is stored, but how it's stored.
- Platforms that scale up — and down. The biggest and fastest-growing B-to-C companies can enjoy capacity when they need it, while midsized companies get access to the same sophisticated marketing tools that only large organizations could once afford.