Getting multichannel marketing right

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Consumer brands have more opportunities than ever to engage potential buyers. From tablets to smart watches to home AI assistants, the average household now has six devices connected to the internet. And nearly all Americans — 98 percent — use multiple devices a day. But how do companies make sure they’re sending the right message, to the right person, on the right channel, at the right moment?

More communication is a good thing, as long as brands offer seamless transitions between devices. According to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, this is important to 9 in 10 customers. For example, if someone shopping for a computer uses his phone to open an email reminding him to revisit his Dell online shopping cart, the email should include the contents of that cart and a mobile-friendly link that makes hitting “buy” completely painless. Or say a customer visited the Mercedes website last weekend to customize a new car. The postcard Mercedes sends this week should include a picture of the design and directions to the closest dealership as well as the names and numbers of top salespeople.

A further step is to leverage behavioral information to engage customers when it makes sense. Consider satellite radio station SiriusXM, which (full disclosure) is an Adobe Campaign client. After customers buy a SiriusXM-equipped car, the company sends them an email asking them to “click here” to start a trial subscription. However, because research shows customers are more likely to start a trial if they’re on the road, the message takes users to a page that asks if they are currently in their cars. If they click “yes,” the brand sends them instructions on how to activate the trial. If they click “no,” SiriusXM sends them a text message with the activation link, so they can easily start the trial the next time they hop into their vehicles, without having to remember to open their emails. This focus on cross-channel communication has helped sustain subscription growth over the past year.

Companies should also look for every opportunity, no matter how small, to make experiences more convenient for customers. For example, fashion retailer Nordstrom links photos of products on its Pinterest page to the corresponding product on its e-commerce site, which helps bring its 4.4 million Pinterest followers directly to the point of sale. In the past, many brands only offered red-carpet treatment during the holiday season or special sales. Today, customers expect the best deals and service every day of the year. Shoppers won’t just buy the first product they see; the vast majority actively search for the best deal they can get. So companies should respond in real time. For example, on game days, the San Francisco 49ers organization sets up kiosks around the stadium allowing fans to push a button to indicate whether they are satisfied or unsatisfied with their experience. The team then uses that data to adjust its strategy towards ticketing, parking, concessions, and social media.

Companies that want to survive in the coming decades won’t make it by focusing on each channel separately. They have to think more holistically and put customer experiences at the heart of their marketing strategy across every channel.

Written by Kristin Naragon

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