Email+ is the road to cross channel – straightforward and practical transitioning to cross-channel marketing


Nicholas Moore

If you’re struggling with how to tackle the cross-channel conundrum I suggest you use the Email+ approach

Cross-channel marketing consultant Jalna Soulage recently hosted a webinar on the Email+ approach which you may be interested in watching – check it out on YouTube.

This isn’t going to be yet another article about how great cross-channel marketing is. I assume you’re already bought into the concept. It’s fairly simple in principle – be equipped to be able communicate with your customers how they want to be communicated with, indeed – how they expect to be communicated with.

People live their lives across channels – as we well know – and they flit between channels depending upon where they are, what they’re doing and what they want. In order to match those customer expectations brands need to be able to do the same.

However, beyond this conceptual understanding the practical task of integrating all your channels in order to have an all-singing, all-dancing process cross-channel process is a particularly daunting one. Especially as at first glance it must seem an all-encompassing change of emphasis and operations.

Well it’s this assumption that I want to challenge. The road to cross channel, like most major projects, can be broken down into much smaller and more manageable chunks. Chunks that are considerably more palatable, manageable and ones that don’t require wholesale changes or C-suite buy in.

The solution is to start with your main channel, the one that’s the most valuable and drives the most interaction, and then one-by-one  align and integrate your other channels to it.

Email is the starting point

Email is the obvious place to start because for the vast majority of businesses email is the prevalent channel. For this reason we call this approach Email+ because it involves adding your other channels to your email marketing.

 

Email+

Email+ is the simplest approach to cross-channel marketing adoption. Click here or on the above image for more on the Cross-Channel Marketing Platform

Email is the most mature digital channel in the marketing ecosystem. While other channels have rapidly appeared, email has steadily become more advanced.  Because it’s a mature channel, not only are communications more established and regular but the data collected via email is robust and actionable. Email opens, clicks, unsubscribes etc are all data points that provide insight into customer behaviour, which can inform how you treat them in other channels.

In addition more social media and mobile applications require sign-in via email making email a very useful piece of contact info that will help you align your contact data across multiple channels.

Of course, integrating marketing channels doesn’t necessarily need to begin with email. There are many use cases for aligning mobile and social marketing, for example. Ultimately, the order in which you integrate channels will be determined based on customer and business needs.

The next steps

So assuming you’re starting with your email what follows is a brief suggestion as to how to integrate your remaining channels. I won’t go into huge detail here (as I’ll be looking to expand on each channel at a later date) but hopefully the following steps prove useful.

Email + mobile1. Mobile

Mobile is key as it is also a method of reaching other channels. You want to ensure all your comms ware mobile optimised and that you’re working off a shared calendar. Then I would try some cross promotion and use the insights you have from one channel to power and optimise the other. Perhaps promoting your mobile or app services to email subscribers who tend to open on their mobiles? Then it’s time to align customer identities across email, SMS and apps so that all three touch points paint more of a customer journey.

When you’re at this stage you can kick-start some behaviour triggers such as welcome emails or birthday campaigns – ensuring the channels are consistent. After that you can start to tinker with your preferences and look into geotagging with your apps based on your email insights.

Email+ social2. Social

Social media is a core aspect of brand engagement and advertising – this is where people live their lives and interact with friend and family so marketers have to ensure they are treating people as individuals.

To start with make sure you’re adding social links to all your comms and promote email sign up on your social networks. Then you can try following up an email interaction with a social ad – perhaps they clicked on a particular button or link in the email? You can even include social media campaigns as part of a reactivation campaign when they’re not responding to email.

Finally try using social advertising behaviour data, such as clicks and purchases, to send targeted follow-up emails and send emails with dynamic content based on what people have liked – products or interests.

Email + display3. Display

Display advertising, unlike social, mobile and email, relies on anonymous identifiers like cookies or device IDs. For this reason it is often viewed as an acquisition channel rather than an engagement channel. But when considered as part of a holistic cross-channel strategy, display advertising can do so much more.

In order to bring your display advertising into the cross-channel fold you must link your disparate contact and behaviour data to create a single, complete understanding of each customer’s identity and needs. Then you can ensure your messages are aligned across all channels and integrate your display into reactivation campaigns.

Likewise for acquisition strategies use your email list as a suppression file to ensure you’re only reaching new prospects.  Finally create different advertisements for those who opened but didn’t click.

Email + TV4. Addressable TV

Similar to display advertising, television is typically a paid, anonymous channel. Unlike display advertising, traditional TV advertising offers even less in the way of individual response and measurement of those responses. Yet as a powerful channel with very broad reach, TV still accounts for one of the largest percentages of marketing spend.

TV is a great channel but its mass-media nature makes it challenging to offer a personalised and integrated brand experience. This is resolved with addressable advertising. With addressable TV, advertisers can define their audience based on first-, second- and/or third-party data and serve specific ads to the direct households they are looking to reach. By using insights gathered from your other channels it’s possible to combine your addressable TV advertising with your email, social and display.

So, time to get started

Hopefully the Email+ approach makes what seems a sizable task feel so much more manageable. By taking small steps you can start your journey to the final destination. Cross-channel marketing is where brands need to be – for the sake of our customers – as our ability as marketers to deliver exceptional experiences is limited if we’re unable to talk to our customer down a range of channels.

Remember, customers don’t see individual channels and teams in an organisation. They see a single brand and expect for us, the marketers behind that brand, to respond as one entity. We’ve got a long way to go but with Email+ you can safely say you’re on your way.

Cross-channel marketing consultant Jalna Soulage recently hosted a webinar on the Email+ approach which you may be interested in watching – check it out on YouTube.

Experian Marketing Services is a leading global provider of consumer insights, targeting, data quality and cross-channel marketing. Through the Experian Marketing Suite we help organisations intelligently interact with today’s empowered and hyper-connected consumers.

By helping marketers identify their best customers, find more of them, and then coordinate seamless and intelligent interactions across the most appropriate channels, Experian Marketing Services’ clients can deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.