Today I want to talk about how the terms Cross-channel and multi-channel marketing are confused by many marketers. For many, they are synonymous but for more and more savvy marketers, they are two very distinct things.
Multi-channel Marketing is the use of multiple marketing channels, where channel is run independently. You will see email marketers trying to claim more clicks, conversions or sales revenue, and you will hear the same chant from your direct mail vendor, your SEO vendor, SM vendor, mobile vendor and every other channel you use. You will most often see actual competition where one channel is trying to claim victory over the other channels. Instead of working together, each channel independently chases a client’s marketing dollar.
Cross-Channel marketing on the other hand is all about creating synergy to come out with a better result than any one channel could on its own. More marketers are coming to the understanding that there truly needs to be a mix and if done correctly a cross channel campaign is greater than the sum of its parts. It is far less about final attribution and more about the path, which some are now calling the “customer journey”. We’re not smart enough to come up with those kinds of precious terms but we do see the value of understanding how things should and need to work better together. Again that is why you know see the USPS actively working with other channels because they have seen this as well.
Your marketing channels are like rowers moving a boat down a river, they work best when they are all on the same page rowing the same direction. It is our humble opinion that Marketers need to find partners who are not one-dimensional, and if they can’t offer various channel services then they at least are open to working closely with them. Social media, email, mobile marketing and more need to be added to this mix as they become available. Big Data is allowing marketers to better track these interactions and unequivocally show why these various channels need to get off their islands and start working together. Savvy Marketers should look for partners who understand this cross-channel methodology and bring more than one tactic to the table!