February 14, 2017

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Optimizing Multi-Channel Marketing: A Data-Centric Approach

The mobile revolution was a tipping point in human evolution, redefining lives in ways that were unimaginable even a decade ago. For businesses, it ushered in an era of multi-channel marketing focused on customer experience.

In 2009, Axe, the deodorant brand, launched one of the earliest campaigns that harnessed the power of mobile technology. It created six different keywords (AXE1 through AXE6) and inserted them into spots for promoting a text-to-win sweepstakes. By leveraging different advertising channels that were being promoted nationally, Axe integrated mobile into the marketing mix. The campaign generated thousands of entries, resulting in a database of engaged brand enthusiasts.

A lot has changed since then; the ever increasing number of screens and channels means marketers have to work doubly hard to engage the target audience. Consumers also expect highly personalized campaigns, which can only be delivered through carefully scrutinizing the voluminous data being generated by them.

According to a Forrester survey, 73% of the companies understand the business value of data and aspire to be data-driven. However, only 29% of these companies confirmed that they could generate actionable insights from the available data. This lacuna can partly be explained by certain external factors like the proliferation of devices and increased competition for online advertising space. While the former has reduced the attention span of viewers, the latter has significantly increased marketing costs.

There are some key internal factors as well, that pose a hindrance to effective data analysis –

  • Limited visibility into various customer journeys
  • Lack of detailed customer profiles affecting the quality of customer insights
  • Inadequate alignment of various online marketing metrics with internal KPIs
  • Ineffective channel-mix and attribution
  • Outmoded organizational practices and legacy systems

An enterprise can invest in cutting edge marketing analytics and automation solutions, but it should address the challenges in a more holistic manner:

Discard the silo-ed approach

Just like the human body requires coordination among various parts to function properly, so does the organization. An insular approach to data will lead to inaccurate insights, resulting in incorrect and cost-intensive decision making. It is only by democratizing data that an organization will be able to gain a better understanding of its customers and increase marketing effectiveness. This will additionally lead to greater collaboration and cross-team resolution of complex problems.

Thus, a rule-based email-campaign instance can be used across the organization for all customer facing programs. Subsequently, an email software can be connected to the company CRM, and a corporate analytics instance can be deployed to evaluate digital market success and improve upon it.

Customer journey mapping across touchpoints

In today’s multi-screen and multi-channel world, customer journeys are complex and dynamic. An organization must invest in customer journey mapping across touchpoints to ensure optimal marketing spend.To gain a comprehensive understanding of customer journey, marketers should map post purchase behavior, rather than considering purchase as the end objective. This will additionally help them to monitor and improve customer satisfaction.

Further, in a B2B scenario, customer behavioral patterns should be tracked to develop individualized and requirement specific campaigns. According to studies, the buying process is 70% complete before the customer interacts with a sales professional. In order to effectively utilize that 70%, it’s essential that customer profiles be mapped accurately, leading to personalized communication.

Integrating online and offline marketing campaigns

When a marketing campaign does not yield desired results, ad hoc means like increasing promo duration, buying more ad space, are deployed. They are not very effective either, as any campaign is as good as the intelligence backing it. Once the customer groups and their profiles are delineated, a clearly defined rule-based outreach plan must be framed for each cluster. As a consequence, the best-performing channels can be identified, leading to cost-effective data driven marketing.

It’s also imperative to align offline marketing initiatives with online campaigns. Intelligence gathered from offline strategies (inside-sales calls, events) can be incorporated while creating audience profiles, in order to bolster the multi-channel marketing system.

Understanding customer behavior through tangible metrics

Despite the emergence of disruptive technologies, the outlook of most organizations towards marketing remains the same – a cost-center with allotted budgets based on an annual plan. There is thus, the need to re-envision the marketing mix by leveraging optimization and personalization techniques in campaigns and digital assets. For driving best results, the process must be perpetually assessed and improved upon. It’s essential that external digital metrics are mapped to an organization’s KPIs (revenue, booking, volume) for monitoring marketing performance effectiveness.

The ability to gauge customer behavior has remained crucial to successful marketing initiatives. By integrating data (voluntarily supplied by customers today) in marketing planning and orchestrating personalized campaigns by audience groups, conversion rates will witness a definite improvement.