How to Avoid 4 Crosschannel Marketing Killers

Jul 27, 2013 3:35 PM  By

iStock_000002312717XSmallConfounding Your Marketing Concepts

First and foremost, you need to be sure your team understands exactly what  crosschannel marketing is and how it differs from other common marketing strategies. If you don’t, you’ll get lost in a quagmire of terminology misapplications that will confuse everyone involved. For example, not knowing the difference between a  crosschannel and multi-channel marketing strategy can kill off a successful program before it even begins. The two concepts are commonly confused, but they are different in key ways that can significantly impact the effectiveness of your customer engagement efforts across channels.

At its core, multi-channel marketing involves hitting your target audience with the same message across multiple channels. While it is a step-up from the single-channel marketing approach, it still ignores how your customers use and consume information across different channels.

By contrast,  crosschannel marketing involves clearly understanding how your customers interact with your brand on each different channel and tailoring channel-specific messages. The end result is a coordinated campaign where different messages reinforce each other across different channels to achieve the same business objective. Much like real-time or right-time messaging,  crosschannel marketing involves giving your audience the right message – at the right time – on the right channel.

So how can confusing these two approaches kill your marketing campaign? Consider this example.

Some associates of mine started a company based on a product that enabled consumers to better manage their daily deal purchases. Not only did it allow consumers to easily organize and sort them, it made it easy to dispose of them if they couldn’t be used.

When they began to discuss how to market their product, naturally there were a lot of questions. Who is their target audience? How does their target audience currently get their daily deals? What communications channels do their target audience use on a day-to-day basis?

The answer to the last question was clear: email, mobile, social and display.

They realized early on that building the marketing strategy around all of these channels was the key. They decided that they needed to develop a “multi-channel” marketing strategy, which then led to questions about what such a strategy involved and which tactics would make the most sense for each channel.

The conversation then led to other questions. Do we use the same marketing messages for each channel? What will be the impact of a multi-channel marketing strategy on our business and how do we measure that impact? What is the difference between a multichannel and crosschannel strategy?

How can this “kill” a campaign?
When there is no clear, shared understanding of what  crosschannel marketing means and involves (and how it differs from multi-channel marketing), marketers can waste a lot of time spinning their wheels arguing over terminology. If no shared understanding is reached, it can result in siloed, disjointed marketing efforts that alienate customers by bombarding them with the same message on every channel they interact with your brand.

How can you avoid this campaign killer? 
When expanding your campaign beyond a single channel, make sure everyone on your team has a shared understanding of the fundamentals of a  crosschannel strategy and how it differs from a multi-channel strategy. Remember, multi-channel means the same message across many different channels. Cross-channel means many different messages catered to each specific channel, delivered in a carefully coordinated manner.

Real World Example: Gucci’s 60th Anniversary of the Horsebit Loafer is a great example of how to successfully use email, mobile, social media and web channels together in a truly integrated  crosschannel marketing campaign.


  • Catalog-on-Demand

    For those who want to include print catalogs in their cross-channel marketing, we’ve found Jai’s point about inconsistent messaging to be one of the top challenges facing our customers at It is always difficult to keep all your product and category information in sync across channels. The only solution we’ve seen that always works, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies, is to make the e-commerce system the primary repository of all product data and images. The print catalog software must pull from the e-commerce content.

  • James Cage

    Interesting article……