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Victoria Greendyke - 06.27.2018

Balancing Multi-Channel Strategies with Long-Term Customer Needs

A highlight of the recent Gartner Digital Marketing Conference was a presentation by Gartner Research Directors Adam Sarner and Augie Ray, who shared key insights into why companies who use multi-channel marketing need strategies that are reciprocal to what they provide the customer.

According to Sarner and Ray, the “Yin and Yang” of successful multi-channel marketing and customer experience lies in achieving the right balance between the two. When multi-channel strategies are executed correctly, they provide the right content in the right channels at the right time. When Customer Experience (CX) strategies are executed correctly, they give customers what they want and need in appropriate channels to lift satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and ultimately, sales.

Multi-channel strategies tend be company-focused and all about pushing out content to the right customer.  In reality, marketers today need to have that multi-channel planning and execution in mind, but they also need to give users what they want, when they want it, within those channels. Many marketers today who focus on multi-channel planning are looking for short-term increases in sales using brand-focused messaging. Building out that plan should align with customer needs, which requires long-term strategies and a focus on driving customer satisfaction rather than brand awareness. Marketers need to transition into focusing on short-term wins that take into account the long-term customer strategies that they’re working for.

With more and more customers blocking telemarketing calls and using email filters and ad blockers on digital channels, it’s increasingly important to leverage journey mapping and customer personas to understand what customers want and how they interact with your brand. Journey maps show where customers are touching your brand as opposed to seeing your brand on different channels and when they are buying. Customers don’t think by digital marketing channel, they think of all brand touchpoints as a cumulative perspective and rating of a brand. The goal is to remove siloed-channel marketing executions and instead focus on the longer-term user journey. Each interaction with a brand, while it may be focused on a short-term conversion, should always be driving to longer-term customer relationship goals like satisfaction and loyalty.

In this context, customer experience is the “what” and multi-channel marketing is the “how.” The holy grail for every brand is to understand what the customer wants while providing the multi-channel opportunities that help them get what they’re looking for. Marketers need to start their efforts with the “what” as opposed to the “how.” Put another way:

Voice-of-the-Customer Data + Personas + Customer Journey Maps = Greater Customer Satisfaction

Greater understanding of your customers is an input for multi-channel strategies that can be executed across multiple channels. By measuring the outcomes, we can drive that longer-term customer relationship. Whether the longer-term goals of the customer journey translate to loyalty, advocacy, click-throughs, conversions or sales, that customer journey needs to be mapped out.

At Sagepath, our digital transformation strategies reflect this approach for our clients, incorporating a customer level, a technology level and an internal operations level.

We input the results of discovery, research, user path requirements and customer journey maps into marketing channels and technologies that then execute the campaigns, which attract customers and builds on that customer journey. We map the customer experience in our multi-channel campaigns to hit short-term goals for businesses and longer-term goals that strengthen customer relationships with brands. To meet our customers’ business goals, we start every digital transformation project by looking through the lens of the customer first, then determine the execution channels. Without this customer-first approach, an organization is in danger of operating in silos in the channels our customers are operating in without connecting the dots for the customer.