Most businesses use several communication channels to make customers aware of their products and services. However, it often remains unclear whether they do so using a multi channel or cross channel approach.
Multi channel marketing and cross channel marketing are two terms often used synonymously when in fact they describe two different strategies. Even though both make use of several communication channels at the same time, they use these channels differently.
Multi channel marketing
Potential customers use different media. To reach as many as possible, brands use a great variety of channels. Due to the ever increasingly relevance of mobile commerce, it has become important to communicate with prospects anywhere and anytime.
Even though the various channels are usually more or less alike with regards to the messages they communicate, they are operated independently of each other. The customer journey therefore takes place on one channel.
Cross channel marketing
Cross channel marketing makes use of several communication channels as well. However, all these channels are integrated with each other. Users can switch from one touch point to the next without losing a step. Their customer journey remains consistent and they do not have to start at the beginning. This means customers get the same offer independent of the channel they use. They can choose the channel that fits their current situation (e.g. mobile) or their individual preferences the best.
Hence the advantage compared to the multi channel approach is an improved customer experience and higher conversion rates. The disadvantage is the greater technological investment that is required.
Since customers move seamlessly across various channels, businesses need a couple of opt-in processes. Whether it is the newsletter, social media or an app – customers always have to give their consent. However, experience has shown that customers are willing to give consent and share contact information if they can expect a customized user experience in return. Another advantage of this approach is that user generate data across the channels they use. The data can be used to create more detailed user profiles and to send out personalized messages.
In order to realize a successful cross channel strategy, businesses need to invest in a marketing automation solution that helps them to manage all channels they use centrally and that integrates the generated user data in one place. A successful cross channel strategy is always integrated and co-ordinated!
Conclusion: Cross channel marketing enables businesses to send out personalized messages across the various channels they use. The technological investment that is required will be amortized within a short period of time due to higher conversion rates and more effective marketing.