In early 2012, Forrester launched a report on a new category -- cross-channel campaign management (CCCM) -- that is transforming the marketing landscape. We know it's a bit of a mouthful, but the concept is sound and promises to give marketers what they've always been waiting for:
Reducing customer acquisition cost, improving customer conversions, and getting better customer data will make marketers exponentially better at what they do!
Mediapost writer and marketing expert Laurie Sullivan provided an excellent article to support Forrester's work. You can view it here.
Here is Forrester's description of the category:
"CCCM applications that enable marketers to act on and react to empowered customers rather than just integrate more channels. In the future, marketers will select applications for their ability to orchestrate the always on, bidirectional, and cross-channel dialogue between customers and businesses." -- Robert Brosnan, Analyst Forrester 2012
In a nutshell, cross-channel marketing is about making all media channels work together to drive better results and provide a better experience for today's consumer. For consumers, a better experience means meaningful outreach by brands based on the consumer's demographic, where they want to connect, where they are, and what they care about. For marketers, better results mean…well…increased sales!
Currently, most advertising approaches are based on the age-old assumption that consumers want to "live" in specific channels -- meaning they are comfortable connecting with a brand through a single media channel such as TV. Moreover, the singular method of advertising in a given channel (commercials on television or marketing emails for email subscribers) is enough to incent a consumer to take action and buy their product in-store or online. These dated tactics focus on targeting single campaigns to connect with subsets of consumers, one channel at a time.
The following is a common example: A retailer or brand runs a contest to garner as many Facebook fans as possible on its Facebook page. During that time, the same retailer or brand runs a promotion-only accessible in-store. Much opportunity is missed in this sample approach. For example, what if these Facebook fans wanted to become shoppers or already are shoppers but would be motivated to buy based on an offer? Why not incent them to convert from just being a fan to a measurable shopper by providing them with the same offer available in-store? And what about those in-store shoppers? Wouldn't it make sense to give them the opportunity to share that in-store promotion with their social networks (and make that easy and measurable)?
For brands and consumers, cross-channel marketing presents an opportunity to use technology in a thoughtful way to connect, engage, and profile channel agnostic consumers across the entire media mix.
Now that we know what cross-channel marketing is, let's explore the benefits in greater detail, starting with reduced customer acquisition cost and better customer conversions.
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I have been a practitioner of CCCM for many years (long before Forrester gave it a snappy name!). From that experience, I know that it is the best way to be a good steward of your company's marketing investment (or your client's if you are an agency), however I do have a word of caution: this is not something that will magically reduce the amount of money you spend while at the same time increasing results. It's not particularly hard to cite specific, limited time examples that would appear to offer this holy grail - but remember that marketing is an activity that happens in the continuum of consumer's lives. There is no "one and done" here; rather marketers must be continually present, available to the prospective customer when, where and how they want to interact. So yes, all communication channels need to be managed as though they are interrelated (because they are), and messaging between touchpoints must be coordinated (to improve both efficiency and effectiveness), but don't expect to pocket big savings while driving a larger top line - that's something that just isn't going to happen.
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