What would you say is mission critical for a successful cross-channel marketing campaign? Data? Engagement? Perhaps compelling content? While all these things are important, according to Forrester Consulting, expertise in the humble email, one of the most reliable, easy-to-use channels in a marketer’s arsenal, lays a solid foundation.
A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Experian in August of this year, found that although marketers are acutely aware of changes in customer behaviour, many are struggling to implement a sophisticated cross-channel strategy that influences the path to purchase.
In a nutshell, marketers all know cross-channel marketing is crucial but few are doing it well. Experian research suggests it’s an ongoing challenge. This time last year we surveyed 200 Australian marketers and identified a serious knowledge gap when it came to cross-channel marketing and the customer path to purchase. Only 14 per cent of marketers stated they actually understood the process. Today, marketers understand the theory behind cross-channel marketing, but what’s missing is the practical application.
The modern day consumer has access to unlimited data across multiple devices and only wants to hear from a brand when it suits them. That’s one of the reasons email can be very influential in a customers’ path to purchase. The opportunity for marketers lies in understanding where email is most relevant and influential in that process and then building a cross-channel campaign around the initial email contact.
Forrester Consulting found that although marketers understand the importance of communicating across multiple touch points, they have not yet mastered the art of integrating email with those of other channels. All channels need to be integrated to present relevant and consistent messages and tie the communications together.
Integrate or perish
Forrester Consulting found that marketers globally are operating unsophisticated cross-channel programs. Cross-channel marketing is more than just publishing disparate content across multiple channels, it requires integration. Forty-five per cent of marketers are only integrating an average of two channels in their communication campaigns. Sophisticated marketers typically have above average integration between email and other digital channels. Their sophisticated approach to cross-channel marketing has the added benefit of providing rich insights about channel engagement. They therefore have the potential to effectively leverage insights and customer data from every email interaction.
Once marketers lay the framework for an effective email led campaign, it is time to innovate. By producing engaging and innovative email content, marketers are a big step closer to elevating customer conversations above a transactional level.
 Experian, 2013, whitepaper entitled ‘Building brand loyalty in a cross-channel world’