The average consumer is expected to interact with a brand at least seven times before making a purchasing decision with 87% of consumers wanting a consistent experience at each encounter. Cross-channel marketing is built on leveraging multiple platforms, or other sources of communication, to promote your brand holistically across the sales funnel and provide a seamless customer-centric experience throughout the buyer’s journey.
In our latest workshop, ‘Impactful Inbound – Building Consistent and Effective Cross-Channel Campaigns’, experts Rachel Owen, Senior Director of Planning at M&C Saatchi Performance, Claire James, Head of Client Service at Skout PR, Andy Warner, Performance Director of TrunkBBI and Callum Corrigan, Head of SEO at Flaunt Digital run through the ‘checklist’ of a great cross-channel inbound campaign, and the core issues that block a strong execution.
In this Article:
- Why cross-channel campaigns matter more than ever
- How to run a strong cross-channel campaign
- Common Challenges - and how to solve them
- What great cross-channel campaigns look like
READ OUR KEY LEARNINGS FROM THE SESSION BELOW, OR WATCH THE FULL WORKSHOP HERE
Why Cross-Channel Campaigns Matter More Than Ever
In today’s digital age, brands compete for consumer attention through various sources, therefore understanding where audiences interact with your brand (i.e. on which channels) and how they want to receive information (i.e. format) is vital for turning prospects into customers.
Callum says, “due to the cost-of-living crisis B2B and B2C spending is under more scrutiny than ever, there needs to be a lot more justification behind it. From an SEO perspective, this means an increase in competition from direct and indirect competitors, which can inevitably lead to an increased amount of missed opportunities.
He adds, “the sales acquisition funnel is a lot longer than what it used to be, aligning that with SEO, means gone are the days where you'd rank position one for a couple of keywords and that makes all the difference to your business.
There is more emphasis on the customer acquisition funnel, in terms of understanding how and at what points does your customers find you, then trying to build that out as much as possible.
More Complex Audience Journeys
Rachel highlights, “due to changing audience preferences, and evolving digital technologies, it's no longer about reaching your audience on just one touch point, there's definitely been a shift in reliance from traditional acquisition channels.”
She adds, “there's also more of an understanding of how channels can work together. If you take TV for example, audiences are often on their mobile when watching TV, and that opens up a whole other medium through which someone can be targeted.
How to Run a Strong Cross-Channel Campaign
Creating an effective cross-channel campaign requires great effort – you need to know your target audience, the channels that are appropriate for your goals, how to measure your performance, and tools for maintaining your strategy structure. Below our experts run through the building blocks for a strong execution.
Know your Audience – Journey Mapping Across Channels
An effective inbound cross-channel campaign focuses on the customer journey – meaning customising your offers on each channel to a prospects stage in the funnel but also making sure each is aligned to create a seamless experience.
Claire says, “a disjointed cross-channel campaign risks losing the customer half-way through the buyer’s funnel, as the message that they first engaged with is not replicated, or no longer resonates with them because at some point you've gone off at tangents.
So, it's not good enough to just run a short campaign, it's about having something that is genuinely authentic to the business so that it comes through in everything you do, regardless of what campaign you're running at that time.”
Balance your Metrics
Rachel says, “the first point should be auditing your tech stack, to see the complete journey of your customer from first interaction through to purchase or conversion.
Secondly, reassessing your attribution models to ensure that you have a robust measurement framework in place alongside your KPIs throughout the conversion funnel, but also hypotheses that you want to test so that you can accurately monitor the success of launching cross-channel activity.”
Callum adds, “From an SEO perspective, sometimes it's avoiding the nitty gritty and focusing on the bigger picture, by asking that key question of – are we driving the right customer to the site? If not, then utilising the data we have available to get a better understanding of what tweaks should be made to change that, i.e. adapting the content strategy on where customers are landing to make sure that they hit the funnel at the right time.
Map your Content
Claire says, “The best pieces of content are built on collaboration and designed in such a way that they can be taken and used across multiple channels.
For example, if your central idea is a big piece of research that's going to sit on your website - how else can you use it? You can take stats out of it and create really engaging social posts across LinkedIn or Twitter, you could get infographics that you can then send out on direct marketing campaigns. So essentially there's a lot of different ways that you can cut that single piece of content.
The Creative Execution
Andy says, “creative is fundamental to the success of a campaign. You could have the most insightful content, but if you're not capturing people in channel with something that's going to engage with them, then that content ultimately is going to go to waste.”
He adds “content needs to be impactful; it needs to align to what your audience wants to see and what they're going to engage with. Adding to this it needs to be in the right format, if you're targeting a younger generation then formats like video are going to have a much higher impact and have a much higher engagement rate than just a piece of imagery on somebody's feed.
Simply put, effective cross-channel marketing efforts increase personalisation, and personalisation improves ROI.
Assess and Improve
Rachel says, “identify your measurement framework to ensure you’re getting the true value of all the channels that form part of your strategy - channels shouldn't be assessed solely on last touch points, your measurement framework needs to reflect that.”
She also highlights the importance of, “outlining your KPIs, yet not focusing solely on those at the bottom of the funnel, but identify KPIs at a channel level and revisiting those KPIs regularly to understand whether they're really right.
Finally carry out hypothesis testing to understand what works and what doesn't, any learnings from this testing can then be fed back into your live campaigns to drive performance.”
Common Challenges – and How to Solve Them
Challenge: Keeping Internal Buy-In
The Solution: Demonstrating Value, Internal Alignment Ahead of Launch
Claire says, “if you've produced a huge piece of content, you then need to utilise that to the best of its ability. For example, we recently produced a piece of industry research for a client which fuelled their campaigns for an entire year, including three journals and all their social content.
A single campaign shouldn’t have a shelf life of 4 weeks, it can be utilised for 12 months with the right planning from the outset. This in turn produces real value for money when creating that large piece of content.
Challenge: Fear of New Channels
The Solution: Test and Learn
Andy says, “check if your content is having the impact that you want it to, if not tweak the messaging, the creative, and the imagery on it – giving time to see the results of those changes.
Particular channels have learning periods, meaning it takes time for campaigns on those channels to gather that momentum and start delivering the results that you want to see. So, you need to be patient to an extent and give it the time for it to learn and optimise.”
Challenge: Lack of Resource or Expertise
The Solution: Identify the Gaps and Fill with External Support
Claire says, “a team of one will struggle to execute successful cross-channel campaigns as producing the content for multiple channels, understanding the audience on each and analysing campaign data requires too much capacity.”
She adds, “without some kind of support, be that through a system like HubSpot that walks you through the process or an external agency actually that takes some of that responsibility, it will continue to be difficult. Similarly, you can have a team of 10 people who still can't do cross channel campaigns effectively, because they don't have the experience of other platforms.
Before utilising a particular channel, in-house or external teams should ask themselves; Why are we doing this? What's the endgame? Who are we targeting? And then most importantly - is our target audience engaged with this channel? Because if the answer is no, then its likely not going to be successful.
Challenge: Tracking and Attribution
The Solution: Measurement Frameworks
Andy says, “you must ensure before launching a campaign that your data and reporting is set up to track whether you've met your objectives. There are so many different data points that you could measure, but focusing on what actually matters to you as a business and what matters to the stakeholders that are funding that marketing campaign is a key starting point for demonstrating success.
What Great Cross-Channel Campaigns Look Like
Callum says, ‘looking at external factors can sometimes skew those green flags. For example, hypothetically if we’re down 15% year on year, we might see that as a red flag, whereas actually, when we scratch the surface, look at the ONS data, market share data, search volume data, we see we’re actually outperforming the market.”
He also adds “another green flag is that human element, we often get obsessed with data, revenue, and inquiries, but overlook how proactive our team is – are they working together effectively in hunting down opportunities? Are they looking at the execution and on a regular basis going after it?
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