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Enabling Cross-Channel Marketing: Connecting Content Creation Processes to Drive Integrated Communication


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Today’s marketing environment challenges marketers as never before. Distributed marketing is more complex. Customer and prospect data is available, but often unstructured. Marketing mediums are …

Today’s marketing environment challenges marketers as never before. Distributed marketing is more complex. Customer and prospect data is available, but often unstructured. Marketing mediums are prolific, yet disconnected. Consumers no longer accept media messages; they expect to define and engage with them. And they expect consistent, relevant conversations with a brand, no matter when or where the conversation occurs.

Corporate marketers now realize that teams of creative talent or collections of tactical technologies thrown at a task will no longer achieve sustainable results. To successfully drive sales, marketing has to fundamentally change.

This guide is designed to help identify the opportunity and impact that embracing the idea of connecting with today's customers can have and provide the background on how to make this a reality. Included is information on:

* A community of ones
* Why current processes result in managed chaos
* How connected is better
* Where and how to start
* Three steps to a “connected is better” game plan

Published in: Business, News & Politics

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  • 1. Distributed Marketing Leadership SeriesEnabling Cross-Channel Marketing Connecting Content Creation Processes to Drive Integrated Communication
  • 2. ContentsIntroduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21. A Community of Ones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32. Managed Chaos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53. Connected is Better . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84. Where and How to Start . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115. Three Steps to a “Connected is Better” Game Plan. . 17Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 1
  • 3. IntroductionToday’s marketing environment challenges marketersas never before. Distributed marketing is morecomplex. Customer and prospect data is available, butoften unstructured. Marketing mediums are prolific,yet disconnected. Consumers no longer acceptmedia messages; they expect to define and engagewith them. And they expect consistent, relevantconversations with a brand, no matter when or wherethe conversation occurs.Corporate marketers now realize that teams ofcreative talent or collections of tactical technologiesthrown at a task will no long achieve sustainableresults. To successfully drive sales, marketing has tofundamentally change. 2
  • 4. 1 A Community of OnesPart of the challenge for marketers today is that“customers” can no longer be collectively definedand segmented into perfect categories as theyonce were. Today’s customers consume mediaand marketing messages in very different manners.While there certainly remain characteristics andmotivations that are common among customersegments, in many cases marketers must deal withthousands or even millions of segments of one– e.g., unique individuals with unique media usepatterns and unique motivations who each want toengage with organizations on their own terms. Toaddress this, marketers must be able to communicateinstantaneously, consistently, and across multiplemediums.Concurrently, marketing is more local than ever.Managers of distributed marketing networks(e.g., branch offices, chain retail stores, authorizeddealer networks, franchises, agencies and VARnetworks) have long been faced with the challenge ofmaking sure that corporate and local marketing 3
  • 5. messages work together harmoniously. Today, withconsumers determining when, where and who theyengage with in relation to a brand, maintaining strongsynergy between corporate and local marketers iscritical as the consumer expects a relationship thattranscends location or a single spokesperson.Gone are the days when corporate marketers couldbe extremely brand focused while local marketersset their sights solely on driving traffic and sales.Whether it’s a technology marketer running a channelmarketing program, a financial services marketeraddressing agent marketing compliance, a healthsystem marketer trying to coordinate marketingacross multiple facilities, a service industry marketerworking with authorized dealers or franchisees, or anyother manager of distributed marketing processes,making a brand hum and a cash register ring must bea team effort.Clearly, this change is challenging. But it’s also good.The marketer who embraces the idea of connectingwith today’s customers has an incredible arsenal ofresources at his disposal and an incredible opportunityto create and foster valuable customer relationships. 4
  • 6. 2 Managed ChaosWhile tremendous new opportunities exist formarketers today, the marketer’s world is simplychaotic. Think about it. There are: • more mediums than ever; • more advertising venues competing for limited dollars; • more customer engagement with brands and messages; • customers contributing to and creating brand messages; • a blurring number of marketing technology providers; and • more marketing team members and agencies touching brand messaging as it moves forward to the customer.Often, it seems like a minor miracle that anyone isable to keep brand messages consistent, timely andrelevant in this exponentially challenging environment. 5
  • 7. At a recent marketing leadership forum, audienceparticipants were asked for a show of hands if theybelieved cross-channel messaging integration wasimportant. Virtually the entire audience raised a hand.Next, the presenter asked for those with two or morechannels integrated to keep their hands raised. Notsurprisingly, a majority of the hands remained up.But when that number was raised to three, a majorityof the audience lowered their hands. Only a handfulof hands remained raised when asked about four ormore integrated mediums.Most marketers today know what they need toaccomplish, but in the midst of an ever-changing,overloaded marketing world, effectively meeting themyriad of demands often seems out of reach.Technology Band-AidsAs new mediums have emerged, corporate marketershave turned to technology and solution providers tohelp them manage and maximize the opportunitythese mediums provide. For example: • Email communication is simplified and compliance is maintained when working with an email solution provider. • Social marketing and consumer sentiment monitoring provide excellent access to customers while numerous social marketing platforms help marketers manage this channel. 6
  • 8. • Landing pages, personalized or otherwise, play a key role in consumer engagement and numerous vendor options are available to support these efforts.The list could go on and on, covering everyconceivable form of interaction with prospects andcustomers. Multiple outstanding solutions exist innearly every category or case.Yet, as illustrated by the audience at the marketingforum, a fundamental problem exists – individualtactical technologies are not connected.This is a serious issue for marketers.Connected, these tactical marketing technologysolutions could form a powerful cross-channel platformfor corporate marketers and help bring order totoday’s marketing chaos. Disconnected, they are buta collection of Band-Aids that effectively deal withindividual mediums but do not and cannot addressthe need of marketers to deliver the right messagesto customers when, where and how each customerwants to receive them. Ultimately these disconnectedsolutions, no matter how strong they are, add to themarketer’s chaotic world through redundant contentcreation processes, marketing staff managementdemands and lost cross-media effectiveness. 7
  • 9. 3 Connected is BetterEnvision for a moment, how different a truly connectedmarketing world would look.Connecting all mediums – email, landing pages,print ads, social media, banner ads, etc. – through asingle content creation platform would create efficientmarketing operations and coordinated cross-mediamessaging including: • efficient content assembly; • delivery using each customer’s preferred mediums; • coordination of agencies and suppliers; and • multi-phase, multi-medium automated customer engagement.Take that a step further by adding connectedcustomer intelligence (e.g., CRM, analytics, locationdata) with dynamic content assembly to enablereal-time, trigger-based, multi-channel intelligentmessaging. 8
  • 10. This combination results in: • more relevant messaging; • always improving outcomes; • stronger offer management; • more sophisticated ROI calculation; and • closed-loop marketing feedback.Now envision the implications of a connected systemon the corporate marketing team…Connecting agencies and suppliers into one platformwould result in: • specialty expertise retained and collaboration attained; • elimination of redundant tasks; and • resource sharing.Connecting divisions, regions or other internal groupswith one another would result in: • better continuity; • sharing of resources; • message consistency; • replication of best practices; • collaboration; and • elimination of redundancy in campaign/ content creation. 9
  • 11. Connecting corporate and local marketers wouldresult in: • more synergistic brand consistency and messaging; • more intelligent marketing; • local engagement; • effective use of resources; and • faster speed-to-market of messages. 10
  • 12. 4Where and How to StartA connected marketing platform requires threeprimary elements: foundational technologies,consumer engagement points, and marketingprocess enablers.1) FoundationsTo facilitate connection across all marketing processesthere are five key, fully-connected foundations thatmust be in place. Foremost of these is a strongdigital asset management/enterprise contentmanagement (DAM/ECM) repository.A well-structured enterprise content managementsystem enables all internal parties and externalaudiences to draw on a single content referencepoint. Web pages, emails, social media posts, printedmaterials and any other marketing content can begenerated from this single repository and can sharea single set of resources (such as an image or copyblock), resulting in greater integration betweenmediums. 11
  • 13. A second foundational element is customerrelationship management (CRM), analytics andother customer/prospect data repositories.This connection is critical for meaningful customeror prospect engagement. The data within theserepositories can be used to influence content, offers,location-based information and more. Real-timeconnectivity is also vital for driving instantaneouscontent or message decisions and fulfillingtrigger-based marketing events.Dynamic cross media content assembly is a thirdcritical foundational component. While fixed contentwill always play a role in marketing communications,in today’s digitally driven world dynamicallygenerated, personalized content is quickly becomingthe norm. Only real-time content assembly across allchannels can ensure focused, consistent andengaging messaging.A fourth foundation for a connected marketingplatform is marketing fulfillment automation.Marketing automation ensures that marketing andcustomer engagement processes run smoothly withvery minimal human involvement. It is essential formessage fulfillment and, while largely unnoticed,serves to eliminate costs, reduce errors and rapidlydeliver marketing content.Finally, a fifth key foundation for a connectedmarketing platform is role-based system access,which ensures that the users of the connectedmarketing platform experience the solution through 12
  • 14. Foundational Technologiestheir unique role. This not only makes a robustsystem easy to navigate and use but also ensuresthat all corporate marketers, agencies, suppliers andconsumers only have access and exposure to theinformation appropriate to them for theirinteraction needs.2) Consumer Engagement PointsWith the foundations in place, connected marketingcommunications can now occur. Whether it is an email,web page, banner ad, print ad, social network or anyother medium, each communication is dynamicallygenerated using content from the common marketingasset repository, which may include images, logos,templates, etc. The marketing vehicle is created usingcontent assembly rules from the asset repository andcontent selection guidance from the CRM/analyticsrepositories. The piece is then assembled dynamicallyand processed via marketing fulfillment automation. 13
  • 15. For example, a web banner ad would be generatedwith the proper location, offer and image.While multiple agencies might have participated inthe content creation, multiple vendors might havebeen used for fulfillment while multiple corporatemarketers might have assisted in campaign set up anddesign, managing content creation and marketingfulfillment. Because all of the involved parties usedthe same platform for content creation, the corporatemarketer is assured that brand graphic standardsare consistently applied, that brand messaging isuniform across all channels and that message deliverytimelines and cadence across the various channels arecoordinated.Additionally, by connecting content creation in oneenvironment, fully integrated cross-media campaignsare enabled. A landing page, for example, can beconnected to multiple mediums so that a prospect’spath leads him to a common web page regardless ofwhich medium prompted his response. In addition,trigger-based, follow-up communication can bedynamically generated and delivered to the mediumof his choice.Finally, by organizing content creation through aconnected platform, the corporate marketer can easilyenable others to version (e.g., customize) content.While content can be generated based on customerdata and rule sets, it can also be versioned within atightly controlled framework using point-and-click 14
  • 16. Consumer Engagement Pointsweb interaction. Local marketers, for example, mightbe given the ability to version marketing materials foruse within their own local market such as adding atimely, locally relevant special offer. For example, a cardealership might choose to promote an all-wheel drivevehicle during a snowy winter.By using a single, connected platform, brandcompliance is protected while local intuition is used tocreate effective, relevant market messaging. So too,customers might be given access to use the system togenerate content for viral marketing applications.3) Marketing Process EnablersThe foundations and cross-media communicationsof a connected marketing platform cannot functionoptimally without the organizing presence ofmarketing process enablers. These connectors includemarketing operations management functions suchas campaign management, budget management,measurement reporting and marketing workflow. 15
  • 17. To be fully optimized, however, a connectedmarketing platform should also facilitate the creativeinteractions of the different users of the system.Knowledge sharing is key to ensuring that bestpractice campaigns and marketing collateral arehighlighted and used. Collaborative communicationshelp ensure that marketers are connected not only atthe system level, but also at the purpose and missionlevel.Finally, management of distributed/local marketersand marketing processes should be viewed as akey element in any connected marketing platform.Without coordination between local marketers andthe corporate marketing department, the timely andrelevant, yet consistent communications customersexpect cannot be possible. Marketing Process Enablers 16
  • 18. 5 Three Steps to a “Connected is Better” Game PlanStep 1:Create an Inventory of Your Current SystemsMost corporate marketers are surprised to learn howmany different systems and solution providers arebeing used across their organization. First, using theCustomer Engagement Points and Process Enablersgraphics introduced in the Where and How to Startsection, create a quick inventory of the marketingsystems used by your organization or by entities onbehalf of your organization. Using Worksheet 1, list thefunction of the system, and how, when and why it isused. 17
  • 19. Worksheet #1Current Marketing SystemsSystem/Provider Functions/Purpose Use Case ExampleStep 2:Identify Opportunities for Connecting SystemsOnce you have completed Worksheet 1, useWorksheet 2 to identify redundant tasks, inefficientprocesses, disconnected communications and missedopportunities. Pay particular attention to the 18
  • 20. foundational technologies and keep in mind that youdon’t have to replace all of your existing technologiesin order to connect them.Worksheet #2System ConnectionsGrade yourself. Look at the common effectiveness robbers thatmost corporate marketers face and assess how you areperforming.Task GradeMy campaigns are integrated acrossmultiple mediums.My ads across all media direct theconsumer to an interaction page.My local and corporate messagingare in sync.I create content once and apply itcross media.I automate repeatable tasks. 19
  • 21. Step 3:Design a Connected is Better ProgramUsing the knowledge gained from Worksheets 1 and2, create an outline in Worksheet 3 for preparing yourmarketing organization to meet the demands of anengagement-based marketing world. Start by simplyidentifying three actions you can take now that willmake an impact on your organization’s marketingperformance. Then set a target date for completion ofa full “Connected is Better” program outline.Worksheet #3My Starting PointThe most impactful change I canmake now is:The first two processes/mediums Iwant to connect are:An obvious inefficiency that I canresolve is:I will complete my Connected is Betterprogram plan by: 20
  • 22. SummaryEnvision for a moment, how different a connectedmarketing world would look.For example, connecting all mediums – email, landingpages, print ads, social media, banner ads, etc. –through a single content creation platform wouldmean efficient marketing operations and coordinatedcross-media messaging. Take that a step further byconnecting customer intelligence (e.g., CRM, analytics,location data) with Dynamic Content Assemblyto enable real-time, trigger-based, multi-channelintelligent messaging.Now envision the implications of a connected systemon the corporate marketing team.Every technology addressed above as a foundation, acustomer engagement point or a marketing processenabler is available from multiple technology firmsor marketing services agencies. Many outstandingsolutions exist. But they are all missing a fundamentallyimportant need that marketers must urgently soonaddress. They’re not connected. As a result, assetsmust be in redundant systems.Marketing staffers have to coordinate schedulingbetween multiple vendors to fulfill a single campaign 21
  • 23. that spans multiple mediums. Often, message synergyfrom one agency to another is loosely connected, ifat all. Meanwhile, social media might drive customersto one landing page while search marketing or emailcampaigns drive them to others. Print may have nodestination at all. The list goes on and on.Sometimes you can have all of the right things inplace – really great vendors, really good software, andsometimes even strong siloed results. But ultimately,the current structure will result in disconnected,inefficient, frustrating, costly and fragmentedmarketing. Until you have all of your external andinternal activities working together to create theright environment for your target customer, you willbe unable to meet the demands of customers andprospects in an engagement-based marketing world.And if that happens, there will be another marketerfrom another organization ready to give your customerthe experience they want and they will inevitably takeyour place.Today’s marketing environment, while at timeschallenging, is immensely exciting. Never before havecorporate marketers had so many resources and toolsat their disposal. Connect them, and you and yourorganization will thrive. 22
  • 24. About Saepio Saepio empowers marketers to plan and executemeaningful and engaging marketing campaigns acrossdistributed networks and around the globe – ensuring local relevance, brand consistency, speed to market and significant cost savings. The world’s best knownbrands turn to Saepio’s powerful software platform andextensive portfolio of support services to automate the marketing process, eliminate redundancy and ensure that all marketers connected to the brand – whether global, distributed, franchise, VAR or chain store marketers – have the assets and tools they need to quickly customize and execute campaigns. For more information, visit or call +1 816-777-2100. 23