Multichannel Marketing(and MessageStream™)Marketing is undergoing major change as a result of the way customers choose to obtain andconsume information. People are more able to select the channel and information they want,the power is shifting to customers. Marketers are increasingly challenged to find the right mix ofcommunication channels through which to interact with the market. In response, firms must adoptintelligent technology solutions capable of synchronising different channels, centralising the datainto a single view of the customer and determining the optimal priorities and budget allocation foreach channel.What is Multichannel Marketing?As we move towards an experience-economy, building customer relationships through multiplemarketing channels has become a priority in many firms in order to achieve long-term, sustainablecustomer value. Businesses are now pursuing a bricks-and-clicks format, integrating transactionsfrom traditional bricks-and-mortar (offline) with computer clicks (online). Multichannel marketinginvolves the often complex integration and management of many disparate customer touchpointsacross multiple channels (Figure 1). Media Direct Mail 24/7 Sales Social Media Call center Mobile Consumer Consumer 365 Materials Search Fulfillment Web Site Email In-Store Figure 1: Typical marketing channels used to interact with prospects and customers.
With the emergence of new communication channels, especially those online such as socialmedia, mobile applications and interactive display ads it has become a much bigger issuethan simply communicating the right message to customers. If marketers are to ensure futurecampaign performance, they need to focus on the consistency of the customer experienceacross online and offline channels as well as management of the resultant data flows.Nowadays, marketers are currently under pressure and scrambling to keep up with theproliferation of channels, fragmentation of communication and increasingly discriminatingcustomers that make channel monitoring and measurement more complex and difficult.Customers are effectively in control; they can move faster and are more elusive than ever. Firmsthat have the ability to promptly produce relevant, timely marketing messages and collateralwhen customers are in the market will find themselves enjoying a real competitive advantage. MESSAGE STREAM Creative collateral is an important component of communication strategy but it can be severely compromised if the process is slow or inappropriate channels are used. Getting the message across to customers while they are in the market is an immediate issue that firms need to prioritise. MessageStream, an online digital communication-interface, was designed to facilitate and enhance the process of multichannel marketing, enabling users to create a simplified customised template that suits different types of media platforms including direct mail, email, text messaging and individual web landing pages. Time and effort are saved as the same collateral can be reused to test new creative ideas faster and easier, removing the hassle of coordinating between multiple channel vendors and the costs relating to printing, such as pre-printing and storage.So how can you tame the “multichannel monster”, as one writer recently coined this newphenomenon?Multichannel users appear fickle and unpredictable but there are discernable patterns,providing you can link all the data sources together into one single view. This can and shouldcover a multitude of different events including: click-streams; store visits; phone calls; directand email responses, social media interactions, complaints - and many more. It has thepotential to be overwhelming. Forrester’s 2008 Customer Database survey showed thatdatabase marketers face significant challenges integrating online data into their databasesand integrating communications across channels. Gartner found that between 40 - 75% of theinformation required to fully meet customer and enterprise needs is not resident in a singlesystem or interface. Notwithstanding these and other limitations - a single view is essential.
Planning @ (marketing calendar) Campaign Management Contact optimisation Direct mail E-messaging Mobile devices Outbound channels Centralised decision engine - Centralised business rules - Arbitration logic Offer - Business constraints Budgeting Management - Customer contact policies Customer Inbound channels Interaction Operational Analytical Management data store data store Branches/ stores Contact centers Web sites Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Figure 2: Bridging the online-offline gap, inbound and outbound program integrationThe risk of being behind the change curve and constantly playing catch-up is real. You may overinvest in a channel that subsequently under performs, or under invest in a channel because it haslow direct sales, only to find it indirectly driving business to another channel, e.g. online productsearches leading to offline/in-store purchases. This is where hard quantifiable accurate data from allsources is essential and where Digital Alchemy’s expertise comes to the fore. Most marketers onlyscratch the surface of what is possible, especially where there is an overwhelming supply of dataas there is with online. The marketing database therefore needs to be a central hub for all channelinteractions, such as customer web purchasing, browsing, integrated online, personalised email,paid search, targeted display advertising, social media, data imported from offline channels and soon. Monitoring, measuring and analysing data across all channels, in a single source environment,is essential if the ‘multichannel monster’ is to be managed.
How multichannel marketing can help?The enlarged coverage of multiple channels offers businesses a wider array of touchpoints.Communications can be optimised by leveraging the strengths of each channel and the preferencesof individual customers, thereby increasing efficiency while reducing costs. While customers want tobe recognised and catered to, regardless of which channel they use, they demand the ability to movebetween contact channels at will and expect relevance, consistency and a seamless experience atevery touchpoint.Identifying individuals and capturing their details, whether online or offline, is one of the biggerchallenges. This calls for strategies encouraging otherwise anonymous prospects and customers toidentify enough about themselves so that every interaction can be linked to their personal record. Ifa customer purchases a computer in a bricks-and-mortar store, your online system would lose outon cross-sell opportunities unless it was aware of the offline purchase. Whereas with visibility intotheir multichannel activity, you are able to send the customer a personalised follow-up offer, say forcomputer peripherals, software or technical support.With quantifiable data, marketers can make smarter decisions on both the marketing mix and budgetallocations, which in turn help to gain an edge in the competitive multichannel world. Extendingthis through to tracking and analysing past customer interactions and predicting optimum purchasepathways into the future, means that Digital Alchemy’s Customer Flow™ methodology becomes aneven more important tool in the marketer’s armoury.Multichannel customers are not only more valuable - they represent the future. To move forward it isvital to share the new insights and collaborate with colleagues throughout the organisation, drawingtogether offline and online marketers, IT specialists, strategists, planners and most especially,senior management because turf wars are inevitable. In essence, the single customer view shouldultimately be established as the centre of reliable and uniform customer knowledge – i.e. the centreof ‘customer truth’ throughout the organisation.
What’s in it for you?Benefits of effective multichannel marketing are numerous and by their nature highly interrelated.For simplicity they are grouped into three main areas: Data Insights A single view of each customer with consolidated data from offline and online sources allows for segmentation on multiple dimensions, enabling you to generate completely new insights and more detailed customer profiles. High value customers and high pay-back opportunities are also more accurately identified, segmented and targeted within the broader multichannel environment. The expanded data and media resources help to drive faster response times, enabling the interaction to take place within the same channel used by the customer. A single multichannel view does not only show you what works, it also shows you what doesn’t. You can use your new found insights to kill off unprofitable campaigns or to re-engineer interactions with unresponsive customers, saving time and money. Interaction Multichannel marketing increases the firm’s ability to interact with customers, encourages engagement and stimulates transactions. Gaining improved visibility and knowledge about a customer’s offline behaviour significantly enriches your ability to tailor better informed, more meaningful online communications. This additionally allows marketers to enhance and extend personalisation and to develop more consistent interactions across all channels which will further deepen customer engagement. Performance It is always easier and cheaper to maintain a relationship with an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. Multichannel marketing can provide a consistent, readily accessible presence across all channels, which makes it easier for a customer to remain loyal. Firms can also determine which channels demonstrate the highest potential opportunities hence budgets can then be appropriately allocated or re-balanced between the channels, leading to an efficient use of resources. Marketers are able to respond quickly with a wide choice of response mechanisms when customers are in the market, delivering relevant messages leading to better response rates and improving growth which subsequently translates into increased ROI.
Case Study from Laurentian Bank (Canada) Challenge: The bank decided it wanted to introduce a customer-centric corporate culture and marketing strategy. In order to implement a customer-centric marketing strategy, the bank needed to centralise and coordinate all customer decisions so that treatment strategies could be executed consistently across touchpoints. The bank acknowledged that the complexity of implementing one-to-one marketing, coordinating cross-channel efforts, and delivering timely messages was too complex and time consuming to support manually and without marketing standards. Solution: The bank decided to purchase an Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) solution to enhance its interactions with customers and ultimately deliver coordinated, cross-channel communications that are focused on the customers’ interests and needs. Outcome: By enabling the coordination of customer communications across channels with Unica Campaign, the Bank has improved the productivity, efficiency and measurability of each customer interaction. Time to market has been reduced by over 300 percent enabling the Bank to focus on new interaction strategies to further its customer-centric approach. The ROI of the Bank’s investments in data strategies such as a new data warehouse and data mart have been exceeded due to Unica Campaign’s ability to turn customer data into actionable strategies that boost response and return. Additionally, revenues have increased through effective cross-sell and up-sell communication efforts.What are the requirements?With constantly changing business, social and communication environments, firms are forced tobe more sensitive and responsive to market demands. In addition, relying on a limited number ofchannels in today’s market is high risk. “The majority of firms still struggle to fully understand theircustomers and leverage their customer data as a strategic asset,” said a Forrester Research study.To effectively leverage multichannel marketing, businesses need to take into account the followingrequirements:
1. Synchronisation across all channels: Multichannel marketing enables customers to move seamlessly from one channel to another and allows them to decide how and where they interact with you. However, it is important to ensure that the brand, information and customer experience are consistent and synchronised for optimal efficiency.2. On-going dialogue and follow-up messages: Multichannel marketing is about developing on-going conversations with customers and prospects. Firms are able to market products and services better when customers are engaged with the brand, it is therefore important to look beyond short-term wins and build enduring customer relationships. Marketers also need to develop an appropriate library of follow-up messages for every campaign execution in order to replicate a typical interactive conversation. One-time marketing campaigns no longer work.3. Technological support: Standardisiation of data quality, formats and protocols is a prerequisite for the efficient integration and consolidation of multichannel data. This can be a major challenge, especially where third party data is involved. However standardisation is critical for accurate data merging, deduplication, analysis, enhanced segmentation, consistency, speed and the overall functioning of multichannel marketing. Moreover, for a multichannel system to work to its full potential, it needs appropriate DBM tools and skills such as marketing automation, triggers, optimisation, CustomerFlow™, customer lifecycle management, and creative collateral processing like MessageStream.4. Continuous data-flows from reliable sources: Typically data is siloed in transactional and operational systems generally owned and controlled by others. Certainty of supply and the collective acceptance of a centralised system by all stakeholders are critical.5. Enterprise-wide access: To be fully effective, multichannel marketing also requires full integration across customer relationship management, POS and supply chain activities, with IT architecture that is channel independent, service orientated and scalable. The front end should be able to support open industry standards like XML and web services.6. Organisational acceptance: The assurance of universal buy-in and consistency across the enterprise and throughout all dealings with customers is crucial. This generally requires a significant culture change, including a shift from a product focus to a customer-centric approach. This is often accompanied by internal resistance, therefore top management support is essential if real cross-channel efficiencies are to be achieved. Tips: Start small but think big: Merging and managing data from disparate sources can be complex, expensive and time consuming. The recommendation is to start by cherry-picking a few prioritised, limited-scope initiatives that will provide the best pay-back in the shortest time, be it financial, strategic or operational. This is a sound strategy for maintaining focus while you demonstrate the benefits of the system, gain support from data owners and other stakeholders, and justify the business case for extending the program.
In conclusion, multiple channels are not a completely new phenomenon, there have beenbricks and mortar retail, telemarketing, TV advertising, DM, even door-to-door sales for many years.The difference now is the exponential growth of digital and online media and the speed with whichnew channels evolve and then transform the market. Customer behaviour has also changed, inthe information age people no longer want to interact through a limited number of channels orbe overly influenced by traditional business practices: the marketplace is now channel agnostic.New media and multichannel marketing have created many new opportunities for reaching wideraudiences, effectively providing greater value for both the organisation and the customer. Effectivedatabase marketing is now even more essential for the wellbeing and success of organisations andmultichannel marketing is front and center in the new paradigm. Customers will increasingly set thepace, which is why marketers need to be up, on their toes - and running!About Digital AlchemyDigital Alchemy is Australia’s largest dedicated Database Marketing Service Provider. We have alarge and growing pool of specialist resources dedicated to working with our clients to improve theirmarketing efficiency and capturing latent customer value through marketing automation, customeranalytics, and strategic consulting. Our ever-growing client community includes a wide range oforganisations and industries such as financial services, telecommunications, motoring services,automotive, etc. Our proven transformation process ensures the blending of Digital Alchemy’scapabilities in analytics, campaign management, database design, and development and hosting toyour business knowledge. “This document has been prepared for the purpose of providing general information and should not be relied on in substitution for individual professional advice. Copyright in this document is owned by Digital Alchemy Consulting Pty Limited, and except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of it may reproduced by any process, electronic or otherwise, in any material form or transmitted to any other person or stored electronically in any form without the prior written permission of Digital Alchemy Consulting Pty Limited.”
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