Marketing Integration Health Check: How Integrated Are Your Marketing Efforts?
With so many channels at brands’ disposal, many feel the pressure of trying to be everywhere, at all times. I’d go as far to say Marketing Integration is one of the biggest challenges currently facing the marketing industry.
A recent Smart Insights article discussed how multiple channels have created a ‘siloing’ of the marketing process, damaging the customer experience and brand image along the way.
It’s important to keep up with consumer preferences and behaviour. Some users switch devices for a reason; others just prefer to browse and shop in that way. According to a GI Insight report, 71% of consumers start their purchase online, but only 42% finish it on the web; while 25% of consumers don’t even have a ‘usual’ purchasing channel.
However, brands often bolt on channels without really considering how they integrate with the organisation and its marketing goals.
Know your Channel Silo Challenges!
Channel silos can have a knock-on effect on various company operations.
Marketing messages are delivered across a range of channels – from email to mobile, internet and print – but according to Experian’s 2016 Digital Marketing Report, less than a third of marketers work in fully integrated teams; meaning some are only partly integrated or worse, completely siloed.
Customers interact with numerous sales channels during their journey too, including online stores, brick-and-mortar stores and direct sales teams. Research from Pricewaterhousecoopers found that most global retailers have yet to embrace integrated omnichannel sales delivery.
Customers also get help and support from a range of sources, including telephone, social, mobile and internet. By 2017, most contact centres will support nine channels on average, according to Dimension Data; yet just 36% of businesses are able to track a customer journey across multiple channels.
The Channel Silo Trap
The impact of siloed channels is clear: customers experience inconsistency in voice, actions and advice as they shift between channels, receiving duplicate messages and having to repeat conversations.
With consumer expectations higher than ever, and tolerance for poor customer experiences extremely low, this can put them off dealing with a brand.
How to Break the Silos Down
If you want to bust those silos and improve the customer experience, you’ll need to understand their needs, behaviours and frustrations. What’s more you’ll need to ensure delivery consistency of your brand, merchandising and pricing strategies across all channels.
This starts with putting customers – not tactics – at the heart of your strategy. Segment your customers into key groups; identify and prioritise the best opportunities for providing them with value; and then decide which channels to deliver it through.
Above all, mastering the data infrastructure will help you create a seamless process. Your first task is to map the complete customer journey to ensure you are capturing all customer data somewhere it can be accessed centrally.
From a communication perspective, Make things consistent across all channels. It should go without saying but how often do we all see epic failings in this area when we are researching a purchase? Internal objectives should be agreed beforehand, with the same pricing structure in place, and the same clear KPIs being monitored by all teams. Most importantly, ensure communication across the business is clear. Consider a messaging platform such as Slack, or even a Whatsapp group.
How Fireworx can help
We always start with documenting the end to end customer experience; every brand interaction touchpoint your prospects and customers encounter. It’s important you can piece together all your data to form a paper trail, otherwise how are you going to be able to understand the impact of any changes you make?
When we have grasped the ‘What is happening’, we can then try and understand the ‘Why’. Are your market segments behaving differently? Do they have different priorities or motivations when purchasing? Is your mobile conversion so much lower because it is used primarily in the ‘Research’ phase of their journey? Or because your mobile site has not received as much TLC as the desktop? Data might give us some insight into this, but generally we’ll need to research consumers opinion.
When we’ve got a dashboard full of business data and customer insight, we can then prioritise areas of improvement for the overall customer experience. Let your customer lead the way and you won’t go far wrong!