Multi-Channel Marketing Gets Personal

My brother and I have been planning a 50th anniversary party for our parents. Little did I know when we started that it would turn into a multi-channel marketing challenge.

The most important ingredients of a party are the guests: no guests, not much of a party. Over a long and fulfilling lifetime you make a lot of friends, so the key to planning this party was contacting our parent’s friends who now live in multiple cities.

We started by designing the invitation and, since most guests were born before Facebook’s inventors, we stuck with more conventional sharing and gave them the option of letting us know by email (on my domain) or phone (my brother’s house). This was the start of our “RSVP integration” nightmare.

Cards went out and, not surprisingly, we had a few deliverability issues including an invitation to Frank, one of my dad’s best work friends from years ago. Yes, he worked in an era when the Company was a place you worked for life, and relationships with co-workers and friends were like adjoining backyards without a fence.  Frank’s invitation came back to my brother’s house undelivered, so my dad called Frank to invite him directly. Frank later confirmed by email.

Meanwhile we received more phone calls and emails, which my brother and I traded back and forth. This is where things got really hard to track. Was the lady nicknamed “Mona,” who left a voicemail, the same household as the email from a “Mr. Bose?” The conflicting names and channels meant that when my mom called I didn’t have a simple answer to her question, “So how many people are confirmed so I can let the caterer know the count?” Well, our aggregations are probably wrong because our data quality is poor due to our inability to integrate across phone and email, “170, I think.”

A party is like a product that you market to your guests. As the marketer, you must contact your customers, engage them and end with a call to action (an RSVP in our case). Since you will hear back on multiple channels, you’d better be prepared to capture, integrate and aggregate the response from your customers across multiple channels. A marketer’s challenge is to do this for millions of customers. All marketers get anxious about a call from the “CMO,” but in my case, that means the Chief Mommy Officer.

Learn more about multi-channel marketing strategies for data quality, audience creation and response attribution tips and trends in Experian Marketing Services’ recently released 2012 Digital Marketer Report.