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Brands say cross-channel marketing is desirable but too difficult - report

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3rd Nov 2014
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Marketers acknowledge the power of cross-channel marketing but are unable to take full advantage of it due to a variety of obstacles, according to new research.

A new study from Experian Marketing Services and Forrester Consulting found that marketing organisations are struggling to integrate channels, with even a mature channel such as email only being integrated with search retargeting by 54% of respondents.

And the global study of 428 digital marketing businesses in the UK, Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America revealed that, on average, only two channels are being integrated by 45% of marketing organisations, and only 24% able to merge contextual data.

Effective cross channel marketing and building a single customer view have long been the focus of marketers looking to take advantage of the many streams data that they have available.

With customers operating across multiple channels and devices, it is important for marketers to know how to reach them effectively. 

But the findings demonstrate there is a need for better understanding of key techniques, such as data integration, with technology issues also representing a major hurdle in implementation.

As a result, few marketers harness the potential of customer data: only 24% are able to merge contextual data into a single, shared and real-time cross-channel view of the customer.

Commenting on the results, Simon Martin, managing director of digital at Experian Marketing Services, said: “This report makes it clear that marketers understand the importance of cross-channel marketing in taking customer relationships up a level, but still need guidance to make it work. Customers today are much like teenagers at university – they only want to hear from you at a time that is convenient to them, and when they need something. Data linkage across channels allows marketers to better assess when this time might be, which allows them to deliver the right message to the right customer, at the right time.”

He added: “Marketers must realise that the consumer cycle has changed with the advent of new shopping channels as well as expectations of excellent personalisation and service in interactions with brands. The sales funnel does not exist as it did before – marketers need to consider relationships in terms of customer need, not marketing action. The reward is increased loyalty, spend, and a better relationship with the customer full stop.”

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