Email marketers looking to go cross-channel: Start by listening

It seems that all marketers are talking about these days is ‘cross-channel optimization’—the ability to reach today’s hyper connected customers through every mode of communication possible, whether that be email, social media, mobile, print, display…the list is endless. It’s a lofty pursuit and, let’s face it, it can be scary. Many marketers are left clutching to their tried-and-true email campaigns, nervous to take the plunge into the expansive pool of methods they “could” be using to communicate with their customers.

What these marketers often overlook, however, is an integral first step. Sure, the eventual goal is total optimization of communications across marketing channels, but what needs to be implemented first is a cross-channel listening strategy. Even if you aren’t ready to branch out from email on the execution side, there are myriad sources of customer data that you can collect and use to optimize your customers’ email experiences based on how they are already interacting with your brand across multiple channels. By leveraging ALL these inputs, you’ll be able to better understand the relationships individual customers have with your brand in ways that simply weren’t possible before.

Now, how exactly can cross-channel customer data help your email communications? By discovering your customers’ online and offline behaviors, you will gain greater insight into how they prefer to engage with your brand. You will be able to create targeted email messaging that is entirely customer-centric because it was created with their behaviors and personal preferences in mind.

When looking at the Marketing Sophistication Curve, people tend to focus too much on the literal names of each stage and skim over the constituent pieces of Listen, Analyze, Plan, and Speak. To advance to the next stage of sophistication, marketers need to follow this framework by first focusing on the listening. Listening is foundational. It enables marketers to analyze customer’s collective behaviors and responses and plan more intelligent communication strategies before ultimately “speaking.” Or, to return to our previous metaphor, they ed to dip in their toes and analyze the temperature to prepare before jumping into the pool. So if you find yourself nervous about all this ‘cross-channel marketing’ stuff, start by listening. Once you have a greater understanding of how your customers interact in a cross-channel arena, you will be in an optimal position to start connecting with customers in other channels when the time is right.

marketing sophistication curve

To learn more about the Marketing Sophistication Curve, discover which stage your organization is in, and find out how to progress along the curve, take this marketing sophistication survey.