What Constitutes Good Multi-channel Communication

What Constitutes Good Multi-channel Communication

Someone just asked me which companies I think are leading the way with multi-channel communications at present. Which I think is an interesting question and quite difficult to answer without being subjective. It also begs the question what constitutes good multi-channel communication?

After giving it some thought, here is my general take on the Multi-Channel question with some specific examples of brands that do it well. When thinking of brands that do multi-channel there is a tendency to equate great creative that is responsive to the device (Disney for example do this particularly well) as being evidence of great multi-channel marketing. It is not. That isn’t to say that Disney are not great at it, but that creative excellence may be all there is.

The truth is almost nobody is actually delivering truly multi-channel programmes. Take search for example have you ever come across a case study or heard of a company that integrates its search programmes with its TV or email activity? In a truly multi-channel world they would. How? By reducing their bids or pausing their programme in the minutes or hours following their ad being aired or weekly newsletter being deployed, or bidding more when their ads are not on air, because they know exactly how one impacts the other.

The brands that come closest to multi-channel are the brands that have the most control, because they either own or dominate the channels they use. Amazon and Apple are the best examples of this that I can think of.

In order to succeed at Multi-Channel marketing you need to have the following (listed in order of ease):

- A consistent customer and brand experience across devices

- The technology to deliver the messaging that is personalised to the individual and formatted to the channel it is delivered in.

- A single view of the customer

The consistent brand experience is something most brands spend a lot of time and money in terms of visuals and voice and something most agencies can deliver. The technology piece pretty much exists and many of the big vendors – IBM, Oracle, Salesforce etc. can or claim to be able to deliver relevant personalised communications to any device and/or channel. Providing they have the data. Interestingly many people assume that the technology piece will deliver the single customer view. It doesn’t. By and large when it comes to reporting marketing automation technologies are not very good at reporting and so actually increase the need for reports that provide a single view of the customer.

What is missing and the main reason companies are unable to deliver truly multi-channel campaigns is this lack of data organised in such a way as to give a single view of the customer and the reason they don’t is because the metrics they collect, are provided, tend to use and are used to using are campaign based. Using campaign based metrics to analyse customer behavior or to get a single view of a customer is like looking at a star through the wrong end of a telescope.

Customer-level reporting is very simple in theory. You measure every interaction every customer you have with every message you send or see over a given period of time. When you send an message, every customer you have will either be sent that message or not, receive it or not, see it or not, click on it or not and convert or not. Simple. But to truly measure engagement by channel, not only do you have to repeat that process every time you send a message or impression, you also have to connect each of these individual customer interactions with all of their previous interactions, whether you sent them a given message or not. Armed with this view of the customer multi-channel becomes a matter of execution via the marketing automation platform you select. In practice however putting this into place is not easy without the right tools and given the lack of single customer view reporting tools or dashboards we have had to develop our own http://linkd.in/1LndnQP here at Alchemy Worx using the data we have been collecting analysing for the last 8 years. Armed with this we are able to deliver true multi-channel insights to the brands that are buying it