Cross-channel Marketing 101: Everything You Need to Know

Lia Parisyan

Aug 20, 2021

Lia Parisyan

Aug 20, 2021

Today’s consumers are more aware of their shopping behaviors and expectations. They have specific demands for price, ingredients, delivery options, production methods, customer service, and so much more. They also expect a seamless experience from online to offline and vice versa. 

That’s why multichannel marketing no longer works. Marketers need another strategy that helps meet customers where they are and fulfill their expectations while achieving sales goals. 

Enter cross-channel marketing. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about cross-channel marketing, including what it is, how it benefits your business, steps to implement it, and challenges you might face while doing that. We’ll also give you some practical use cases of cross-channel marketing for your inspiration to get started. 

But before going into details, let’s find out why multichannel marketing is no longer effective.

Table of Contents
  1. Why Multichannel Marketing Is Not Enough Anymore

  2. What Does Cross-Channel Marketing Really Mean?

  3. Benefits of Cross Channel Marketing

  4. Two Challenges With Cross-Channel Marketing

  5. 8 Steps to Create a Cross-Channel Campaign Strategy Plan

  6. Bonus: Frequently Asked Answers About Cross-channel Marketing

  7. Cross-Channel Marketing Examples

  8. It’s time to implement Cross-channel Marketing for your business

Why Multichannel Marketing Is Not Enough Anymore

Multichannel marketing means using multiple single channels separately to connect and engage with customers. These channels work independently from each other and thus don’t provide a seamless, connected experience. 

A main reason multichannel marketing no longer works is modern consumers’ shopping behaviors are fundamentally changed. Today’s consumers may see your Facebook ads, follow your brands on Instagram, visit your online store, read reviews, subscribe to your newsletter, etc. They may go through seven or more touchpoints before making the first purchase. 

Consistency and relevancy counts

To nurture them, you need to keep branding and messages consistent across different channels. You need to maintain the same first impression that people get when they see your ad or check out you on Instagram. This is challenging and time-consuming because you have to alter your marketing messages for every channel. 

Need data? SmarterHQ’s study found that 70% of millennials are frustrated with brands sending irrelevant emails, and 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging. These findings align with Accenture’s, showing that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide recommendations relevant to them.

What Does Cross-Channel Marketing Really Mean?

According to Oracle, cross-channel marketing “employs multiple, connected channels to reach customers. This allows for an easier and more seamless transition from channel to channel. The different channels record information about the customer and communicate it between each other, so they can all come together into a single, consistent customer journey.”

For instance, when you do cross-channel marketing, your messages and branding are consistent across multiple channels. These channels work well together, which effectively engages and supports customers as they move across touchpoints and devices in the buying journey. 

Benefits of Cross Channel Marketing

A proper cross-channel marketing strategy brings many benefits to your business. Here are some of them:

  • Leverage customer data to create relevant and hyper-personalized experiences for each individual.
  • Enforce brand voice and messaging consistency across marketing channels and campaigns, helping cultivate a trusting customer relationship. 
  • Free up time to focus on marketing strategy as you don’t need to create different messages for each channel. 
  • Provide a rich, detailed picture of customer behaviors through reporting and analytics. You can see what channels customers prefer, what content caused them to convert, and where they might have dropped off. 
  • Improve customer base and boost growth. When you give customers exactly what they want, you delight them, and a delighted customer is a loyal one. They’ll keep coming back and spread the word about your brands. 
  • Maximize marketing ROI. By integrating your marketing efforts across channels, you can clearly map out touchpoints to see how someone became a lead and how the lead became a customer. From that, you can contextualize and personalize the message and offer to your target customers on each channel. 

Two Challenges With Cross-Channel Marketing

Investing in cross-channel marketing can help you quickly take your business to the next level. Still, it can also come with some challenges you need to keep in mind.

First, you can provide personalized messages and recommendations only when you have a complete 360-degree view of each customer. To do this, you need to collect customer data from multiple disparate sources (e.g., your online store, email platform, social media, physical locations, mobile apps, etc.) and turn it into actionable insights. 

Second, cross-channel marketing requires the right technology. Typically, it can take six to ten different tools for a brand to deliver tailored experiences. But the problem is as tech stacks grow, so does the complexity, cost, vulnerability, and inefficiency of the campaigns. Hence, you should define your goals, budget, strategy, and the like from the get-go to figure out which tools you might need.  

8 Steps to Create a Cross-Channel Campaign Strategy Plan

Step 1: Unify Your Data

Work on data quality to understand the customers thoroughly and improve engagement with them through each channel. A good practice is using an all-in-one marketing solution like Insider, which provides a multitude of data points and helps you form a unified view of your customer as they navigate and leave signals across platforms. 

Step 2: Create Customer Segments

Segment your target audience by demographics, psychographics, geographic, and behavioral. Doing this will help you understand exactly what customers in each segment need and tailor your messaging and product offerings to them. 

Step 3: Define Your Channels and Choose the Most Promising Ones 

List down the channels where your customers are at. If they often visit your online store, use web push and onsite personalization to target them. If your customers shop online with their mobile devices, use app push notifications, email marketing, or RCS messaging to connect with them. 

Step 4: Start With Micro Funnels

When you just get started with cross-channel marketing, try to create and optimize micro funnels first. An excellent example of a micro funnel is when you launch card abandonment cross-channel campaigns — running a Facebook ad, sending an abandoned cart email, sending a text message, etc. Doing this will help you find out issues of a broader marketing funnel and fix them right away. 

Step 5: Test Different Types of Journeys and Channels

Take advantage of A/B testing and multivariate testing to see how your customers’ cross-channel journeys look like, where they often hang out, and what different elements of cross-channel campaigns they better respond to. Then, tweak, improve, and optimize your campaigns accordingly. 

Step 6: Scale Them to Broad

Once you determine cross-channel campaigns that bring you the best results, run them to all of your existing customers and new ones. 

Step 7: Monitor and Analyze Performance 

Use metrics and data analytics to analyze and monitor your campaigns’ performance. Doing this will help you find out what works, what hasn’t and collect valuable insights for your future campaigns. 

Step 8: Iterate and Start Again

When you have essential pieces in place, repeat the above steps to improve your cross-channel marketing performance further.

Cross-Channel Marketing Examples 

You can apply cross-channel marketing to engage and convert first-time visitors, boost retention rates, drive referrals, or reactivate silent customers, as shown in the picture below:

Here are four practical use cases to help you understand how to apply the cross-channel marketing approach in real life.

1. Activating New Users for Fashion 

Let’s say you’re selling clothing. When someone visited your store the first time, they didn’t know what dress to choose, so they left without buying anything. 

For example, you can ask them if they want to receive web push notifications about sales and new arrivals via desktop and mobile web. You can also offer a discount in exchange for their email address to run retargeting campaigns via email later.   

2. Cart Abandonment Cross-channel Campaigns for Retailers

To recover abandoned carts, you can create an abandoned cart flow, run retargeting campaigns on social media, or show pop-ups on the website. You can also send web push notifications and SMS messages to remind visitors of what they left in their cart. 

3. Cross-Sell and Upsell Journeys for Travel Brands

Upselling and cross-selling products are smart strategies to sell to existing customers, increase their loyalty, and boost average order value. You can offer upsells and cross-sells via email marketing, running Facebook ads, sending SMS messages, or showing them on product detail pages

4. Reactivation Cross-channel Campaigns for Beauty and Cosmetic Brands

Do you have many customers who have purchased your products just a few times and then went silent? If yes, you can run cross-channel marketing campaigns to encourage them to come back. Think about sending them a discount via email, showing flash sales web push notifications, or running retargeting Facebook ads. 

Bonus: Frequently Asked Answers About Cross-channel Marketing

1. What will be the starter or trigger condition to take users on the journey? 

For example, users who entered their email address in the sign-up form to subscribe to your email newsletter.

2. Do they know how many users can fit this segment approximately? 

100 users per day.

3. How frequently can a user satisfy starter conditions? 

Only once.

4. What is the suitable eligibility duration or is this journey only one time for each user? 

Since the user can register once, we can use the “only time option” here.

5. What actions are we waiting for from end-users? 

Making the first order.

6. How long is the time we should wait for users to take action? 

One day.

7. What are our milestones on the customer journey flow? What should we check on the flow? 

Checking if the user has ordered or not.

8. Should we personalize messages according to the user’s language and country? 

Yes, language and location.

9. How many times should we interact with users?

Two times.

10. Which channels do they prefer to use? 

Email, app push, SMS, and social media.

11. Will there be any action on the flow according to user reactions to messages we send? 

Yes, opening an email and clicking the link inside.

12. What kind of personalization or dynamic content will they use? 

First name.

13. How fast do we want to interact with users? What is their end-users average order duration? 

We want to send the first message immediately after registration but we’ll wait for one or two days since potential customers often don’t order right away.

14. Where do they want to track users’ behavior and actions? Which source? Mobile application, website? 

Mobile application and website.

15. Will they want to use their offline data (CRM)? 

Yes. For example, customers’ offline shopping behaviors.

16. What is the end goal to lead users to exit the journey? 

Increasing the repeat purchase.

17. What is the ideal conversion goal duration to track conversion? 

One day.

It’s time to implement Cross-channel Marketing for your business

A successful cross-channel marketing strategy will help you connect with modern shoppers in the right place at the right time and turn them into purchasing customers. 

That said, executing it involves several areas of marketing and customer engagement, including data and insights, customer experience strategy, and customer segmentation. It also requires the right technologies and ways of working for efficient implementation across all channels.

We hope that this basic guide will help you understand what you need to get started with cross-channel marketing. In case you’re looking for a solution, contact us for an Insider demo today, and we’ll help you make Insider work for your business. 

As Insider's VP of Content Marketing, Lia empowers Insider to fulfill its purpose of being the #1 Growth Management Platform for customer experience-focused marketers. Outside of work, she is an avid hiker, HIIT enthusiast, and aspiring New York historian. When she's not writing or thinking about content, Lia is out in nature learning how to use a DSLR, trying not to shatter her femur roller skating, and going on outdoor adventures with her family.