Holistic, cross-channel communication is more important and necessary than ever, in a world where engagement goes both ways. This means that whenever possible, it’s best to avoid single-channel approaches to messaging, which can leave opportunities on the table to convert “maybes” into sales.
Think of it this way: KPIs around single-channel outreach, like email-based campaigns, are often marketing centric, reducing measurement to clicks and views – but clicks aren’t revenue-driving metrics.
An approach utilizing cross-channel communication, however – often including text, email, in-app and push notifications – is able to grasp actions that are actually driving a consumer decision to convert. You can then determine which tactics, or series of tactics which triangulated that consumer, ultimately generated the sale. It’s a matter of context. A multichannel strategy with cross-channel communication enables you see the entire customer journey, connecting the dots of engagement that lead to purchase, conversion and even increased basket size.
With all this in mind, here’s a roadmap for cross-channel communication that can be tested, optimized and flexed, because a platform can only get you so far. By marrying tech with strategy and creative, you can unlock a platform’s full potential and encourage the sort of participation which creates loyalty and growth. Because after all, participation is one of the strongest indicators of brand engagement.
So, what goes into a roadmap?
- The “who”: Who are you communicating with? What attributes do they have in common, and what data might you use to segment and group consumers in a way which suits your needs best? Name your segments and be specific.
- The “what”: What are you communicating? What’s your message for each segment? How might you communicate your message differently to each? What are the nuances within those messages?
- The “where”: Where is your message being received? What medium will be most impactful for your audience?
- The “when”: When does your audience need to receive your message? How often are you communicating with them, not just within a single channel but across all channels? Remember, overcommunicating can be as damaging as under-communicating.
- The “why”: As in, why should your audience care? Each of the above are vital, but this one is priority. You must understand the value of what you’re communicating which will also dictate how often you communicate.
Only then will you have a sufficient outline which will allow you to think about your “how,” as in what platform will work best for your business and your needs.
But your work doesn’t end there.
Be willing to constantly test and optimize, because nothing is ever perfect. CRM strategy is a living, breathing thing that should never be treated as though it’s set in stone, given all of the data forever at our disposal. A robust test-and-learn plan should be baked into every CRM strategy that leverages cross-channel communication: knowing what levers to pull, what variables can be tested, and what types of testing are possible within your selected platform are critical to success.
When you’re not getting the results you want, go back to basics and consider each of the components of your roadmap. These can include:
- different ways to segment your audience
- different ways to frame your message
- different ways to structure your creative
- different times to communicate
- the sequence of communications
- targeting based on past behaviors
Any CRM strategy that doesn’t emphasize testing and learning isn’t worth a dime, so always opt for platforms which encourage flexibility.
Visibility into what your customer is seeing and experiencing, as well as how it reaches them, is not only powerful, but it also helps you better visualize the entire customer journey from end to end.
Driving engagement is the fundamental goal of any CRM program, but the ultimate goal should always include driving participation. This necessitates facilitating a two-way conversation between brands and consumers, across channels, all the time. They only engage with brands when it feels natural, so you must understand every part of that journey and where they fit into it. That requires strategists, technologists and creatives to work hand in hand to develop and deliver compelling messaging that consumers want to engage with.
Remember, your customer data is one of the most valuable assets you’ve got at your disposal. Put another way, a powerful, intentional CRM strategy is the best avenue toward effectively utilizing those assets. If you’re not sure, ask yourself at every opportunity whether you’re getting the most out of your data. If not, revisit your roadmap and pivot.
Zack Botos is VP of Business Development for Iris