The multichannel marketing maturity model: Which stage are you at?by
Multichannel marketing in its simplest form refers to the delivery of a brand/ campaign message via more than one touch point ’experience’ to influence a target audience’s behaviour.
In 2012, Sitecore commissioned a piece of thought leadership into multichannel marketing called ‘The Multichannel Maturity Mandate’ completed by analyst Forrester.
According to Forrester, there is no de-facto, standard definition of multichannel marketing but it has identified four levels of increasing multichannel maturity:
1. Channel entropy
Non-integrated channel operations are the baseline of the multichannel maturity model.
Marketers in this category independently manage customer interactions within each channel. They may have multiple teams executing programs in the same channel. The business logic behind the customer engagement strategy is different in each channel. Companies operating at this stage maintain independent channel-specific data stores. No true cross-channel capabilities exist across the enterprise. Only 5% of the respondents in our research fell into this category.
2. Channel independence
Managed channel operation is the next stage in the maturity model. Marketers in this category still manage customer engagement independently within each channel. However, they have integrated the teams executing programs in the same channel. We discovered that the lack of process and technology integration led to the conclusion that more than 50% of the respondents in the commissioned Forrester survey, who characterised themselves as ‘mature’ multichannel practitioners, fell into this category.
3. Multichannel integration
Integrated, cross-channel visibility characterises the third stage of maturity. Marketers operating at this level have a single view of customer data, interactions, and transactions across multiple channels, in near-real time. The integrated view of the customer’s multichannel interactions enables
marketers to execute cross-channel campaigns and analyse the results. However, this integration is at the data level, not the process level. Customers can, and usually do, have different experiences in different channels.
4. Multichannel engagement
Holistic cross-channel customer engagement is the practice of the most mature multichannel marketers. Marketers operating at this level have a single view of customer data, interactions, and transactions across multiple channels. Processes are consistent across channel and user interfaces. Customer engagement in each channel is aware, and informed by offers and interactions in other channels. Customers expect and receive consistent, reliable interactions with the company.
The multichannel engagement stage is the ultimate point where the customer experience is optimised across integrated channels. This means deploying communications which encourage the best way to trigger a call to action; keeping the experience seamless and interlaced with the prospect’s behaviour, thus making elements such as content, design etc a mere part of this experience.
How to mature your multichannel marketing
The challenge and main problem in the industry at the moment is that too many marketers have grown accustomed to thinking of their websites as a collection of pages. That thinking is obsolete when virtually all multichannel touch points aim to drive customers to your website.
It is important to create consistent messaging across all channels because customers will engage with marketers who meet their needs — their changing needs — for different information and options during the buying journey. Customers want a brand to work really hard for them, to make their life easier by anticipating their needs and listening and responding to their requirements. They now expect digital communications to be completely joined-up, with one on-going digital conversation across all channels.
Therefore, marketers must leverage highly dynamic websites to drive unique experiences for customers. They need to deliver content, messages, experiences, products and offers from pools of content assets based upon knowledge of the customer’s profile, behaviour, and engagement history. Those who continue to focus on purely product-centric campaigns and offers risk becoming irrelevant.
Shawn Cabral is marketing director at Sitecore UK.
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