Digital commerce encompasses all of the touchpoints and processes in the consumer journey. This means that all of the tools, processes, and technologies used to create the online offer are critical to the overall definition.
Cross-channel marketing represents the fundamental shift in consumer preferences toward digital channels. B2B and B2C customers alike want experiences that are consistent, personalized, dynamic, and almost fully digital.
Omnichannel and cross-channel marketing play important roles when it comes to reaching customers on their preferred channels to earn long-term loyalty.
As marketers, it’s no longer enough to talk about being “digital first.” With the way consumers and businesses alike interact with content, digital marketing and marketing have to be synonymous with one another. It’s imperative we understand this and act by connecting internal operations with customer-facing activities across campaigns.
Further, we must go beyond presenting business leaders and board members with pretty pictures about our results – instead, we must clearly link business results to everything we do.
Following are the steps marketers must take to create and show true impact in the digital age.
Cross-channel marketing means aligning on desired outcomes
The critical piece here lies in how marketing organizations actually measure their success. Too many times I’ve seen marketers embark on digital journeys without a common language about stages, KPIs, or desired outcomes.
This alignment has to be the starting point, and requires marketing leadership be radically transparent about expectations.
Once this conversation happens and goals are agreed upon, marketing leadership can then develop a common metrics framework to measure KPIs against. While this process may feel like a lot of foundation building or legwork in the beginning, it’s the only way for marketing to accurately measure the success of its tools and programs.
Retailers and B2B are already pivoting to digital with a mix of omnichannel. As the foundation of the economy changes, businesses must adopt digital commerce to survive.
Establishing the metrics that matter for cross-channel marketing
The percent increase or decrease in web traffic, the amount of time someone spent on a website, the bounce rate, and keyword rankings – they’re all interesting, but vague. They don’t tell a full story about how successful cross-channel marketing campaigns and programs actually are. Most importantly, they don’t tell you the effect on your customers or your bottom line.
I’d argue the most important metrics for marketing teams to measure are:
- conversion rates
- sales-qualified leads
- customer acquisition costs
- customer lifetime value
Because these are the data-driven numbers that actually tell a story about the customer journey, customer perception, and the business at large.
Without the aforementioned definition and an ROI framework that measures these critical metrics, it’s unlikely that marketing programs will be considered successful.
Place customers at the center of your marketing
The reality of this moment in time is that almost every touchpoint consumers have with brands (and vice versa) is digital. Because of this, a business-wide goal should be to put digital and cross-channel marketing in the right light by making it about the customer.
Companies cannot underestimate the power that digital channels have on every aspect of the business, from sales, to marketing, to customer service. The immense power of digital is that even if you have a stellar digital marketing program in place that’s consistently converting prospects to customers and increasing overall customer lifetime value – one poor social media interaction or unanswered email can ruin a relationship for good.
Establishing and maintaining customer loyalty is about connecting operational data with experience data to make deeper connections with customers. It’s also about being nimble and reacting to feedback in real-time. If something isn’t working, it’s time to pivot and try something different.
Ultimately, marketers should work toward harnessing the power of digital to serve customers what they want, when they want it.
Fundamental cultural changes happen when leadership connects activities to outcomes and establishes accountability – it’s the only way for the marketing organization to fly in formation toward business success in the digital age.