Most of us would’ve heard the term, “Cross Media Marketing” – probably within the media; or bantered about in the press. “Cross Media Marketing” is after all just a buzz word. What is it though? Do we actually understand it and are organisations actually using it properly?

Let’s firstly start with what “Cross Media Marketing” is not. It’s not a product, it’s not something that comes in a box and you start using and it’s not something that is the same for everyone. “Cross Media Marketing” is a strategy, an idea, a way of communicating with your audience in a way that uses multiple medias in a consistent and meaningful way. In many cases this strategic approach to marketing and customer communications publishing leads to higher response rates, and greater levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty. At the end of the day – if I trust an organisation and believe that they actually know who I am and what I am interested in then I am more likely to continue to do business with them.

However getting it right within the “Cross Media Marketing” domain is not easy. Traditionally creating a cross media marketing campaign involves using data and campaign intelligence; across multiple mediums to maximise the campaign experience and relevance – no easy task for many. What’s also interesting is that a successful cross media campaign will do more just ‘use’ multiple medias, it will use the appropriate media to deliver a consistent experience across all touch points in the campaign.

10 Common mistakes

So in my opinion what are the common mistakes that organisations make when creating and deployment a cross media marketing campaign?

Failing to integrate

A cross media marketing campaign does not start and end with a personalised print mailer with a personalised web landing page. Whilst this might be easy to set up, manage and design it tends to be done using different technologies; that do not always work together. Campaigns of this nature will also not achieve the highest response rates as many people still use them as glorified mail-merge with a personalised web site on the end. Also using different technologies will result in different databases being used which in turn will potentially inject the chance of error into the campaign. Was the recipient in print piece also included in the web campaign? The worst scenario is that a recipient gets the print piece but the web page is not available or personalised in the wrong way. Integrate the message into the campaign and across all the media being used and use technology that is integrated into one another to deliver a consistent and reliable experience.

Getting so caught up in the clever bits that you forget the simple stuff!

So many people go all out to throw in as many bells and whistles to the campaign that they end up either alienating or turning off the recipient. Don’t make the campaign so complex that the recipient has no idea what they need to do, or misunderstand the messaging entirely.

The best way to achieve this is to get a good understanding of what the requirements are first – before you start working on the campaign – and then stick to your objectives; using the right medias and tools to reach that goal. There will always be another campaign where you can use that great or exciting feature – one campaign does not have to include everything that can be done!

Not involving the right skills at the right time.

A cross media campaign is not created and delivered by one person – invariably it involves different people, of different skills sets at different times. Sometimes getting all these people around the table at the right time can be painful – however not as painful as not doing it in the first place! Allowing people to go off and create individual pieces at different times, without a clear brief will result in inconsistency and badly designed elements. For example allowing a graphic designer to go off and design a mail-piece without any understand of what is going to happen to it in the production process can be crippling! Without knowing it they will create a piece which is visually stunning but will render the variable production process useless because they have not adhered to the design principles needed at that stage

Not using the right media in right way; at the right time!

Consistency is essential across all the pieces in any campaign however using the wrong media for a part of campaign will simply act as a way to lose customers. Think about what each piece of a campaign is there to do. Is it there to drive recipients to another touch point; to drive home a call-to-action; to deliver a confirmation message or to chase up a lost lead?

At each point ensure that you are using the best media and in the right way – for example do not send a recipient a SMS to drive them to their personalised website. Many people will not want to access a personalised website on their  mobile phone, nor will they take the time to copy the URL from their phone to a computer to access it. SMS messages are still considered as invasive marketing – so use SMS only to confirm details or provide updates to a recipient that is already engaged in a campaign. For example, “David, thanks for signing up to our event – looking forward to seeing you this afternoon…”

Not realising the potential of a personalised website (PURL / RURL)

The story normally goes, create a cross media campaign and create a personalised website to backup the campaign. The more campaigns you develop the more personalised websites a customer gets. In the eyes of the Marketing Manager all is well, and after all a recipient should be excited to get their own personalised website – however as PURL and RURLs become more and more common-place recipients will not see the value of multiple PURLS from the send vendor.

My own personal view is that a PURL or RURL should be for a recipient not for a campaign. What I mean by that is if I get several pieces of communication from the same organisation then they should be consistently branding and they should  draw me into my own micro-site on the website; which recognises my previous responses (if any) and shows me new information that I have not yet seen. As a consumer I just want one website – and that website should realise that it’s either my first visit or a return visit. It should show me the details of the latest campaign but also let me review past responses or interactions.

Do not treat a personalised website like it was a standard letter with my name on the top. It is SO much more powerful than that!

Going overboard online

If you are intending to incorporate personalised websites into a campaign (and why wouldn’t you?) then make sure the website is relevant to the campaign, flows and is not overly complex or long. If the website is simply there to reinforce a message then make sure that the recipient sees that message first. If the website is there to collect information then ensure that it does it in bite-size chunks and that the recipient knows what is expected of them. Making a personalised website overly complex will result in recipients simply falling off when they interact with the campaign online.

Forgetting to track and measure a campaign’s success!

This is a favourite of mine. So often Marketing Directors/Managers will not be able to tell me what the success of a past campaign really was; and in many cases any figures might not even be available until well after a campaign has finished rolling out.

A cross media marketing campaign should not be a one-time piece of communication and it should be trackable in real-time so that you can report the success/failure on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour or minute-by-minute basis!

If a campaign has been created with various forms of technology then this will be very hard to achieve – as the print will be tracked in one way; the email in another and the web in an another – at differing times and in differing formats. Pulling this all together is a nightmare. By using different technology it is also not always possible to get integrated and true ROI figures – because there is no way in ascertaining what a recipient did when and in response to what.

Try using a technology platform that allows you to track across all forms of media not just one, and in real-time so that you can see what is happening as the campaign actually rolls out.

Underestimating the importance of good data!

Although design, messaging and execution are of the upmost importance so is the data. It may well be that you do not need vast quantities of intelligence about a recipient to run a campaign – you do however need good and clean data.

Make sure that you are not simply injecting cheap data into the campaign and hoping that all will be well. It will not. Refine, cleanse, de-duplicate and sort your data before it goes anywhere near a live campaign – and then even when it does proof records with your campaign! Oh and then proof again!

If you do not trust a particular field in your data then either do not use it; or ensure that you work all the business rules to handle all eventualities and unknowns. For example if you are not 100% confident that all the data contains a surname field then either do not use it or ensure that you include all the relevant logic to handle any eventuality.

Also many of the best campaigns allow for viral marketing and self-cleansing. Embrace these technologies. By allowing a campaign to have a viral element will mean that new customer details can be added to the database automatically which is immensely powerful. Think about allowing recipients to edit or amend contacts details on their personalised website. This not only grants the recipient some control of what data you hold on them, but also allows your customers to update and the cleanse your database for you – at no additional costs!

Once you have clean and reliable data then make sure that you use it effectively – both to target which recipients get which pieces of communication; but also what they see embedded in each piece.

Forgetting that it is about relevancy and not about personalisation!

Some marketing types think that the more they put your name on a piece of communication the more likely you are to respond. I draw a comparison to the number of times you have to call a child’s name before they respond! In the world of cross media marketing this is simply not the case. I personally do not care if a mail piece has my name on the envelope, on the covering letter, with an image of my name on a cake or written in the stars. What I am looking for, as are so many other customers is simple, “is the piece relevant to me?”. Is it telling me something that I should want to know about – if it does not then it is classified as junk mail.

It’s all about relevancy folks. If I receive a full colour print piece with my name all over it and a money-off voucher for a product that I happened to buy from the same vendor only a week ago then the pieces fails miserably. Not only do I believe that the sender knows little about me – but my brand-awareness is reduced. Why should I care about you as retailer, if you do not care about me as a customer?

Failing to automate and plan ahead

With some technology today it is possible to automate the complete campaign execution (obviously once the campaign has been created and prepared). Failing to grasp this concept and work it into a campaign will result in lower success rates and a hard to manage campaign. For example, if I receive  an invitation to an event via an email, and I go to the website and sign-up I should firstly receive a confirmation email (produced automatically) containing all the information – but I should also be able to return to my personalised website and download my personalised joining instructions (produced automatically). A day before the event I should receive a follow-up email (produced automatically) reminding me of the event and giving me the opportunity to cancel (by visiting my personalised website again). On the morning of the event I should receive a SMS (produced automatically); providing that I had not cancelled which once again reminds me of my attendance and offers me a postcode of my destination encase I am using ‘sat nav’ to get there. The day after my visit I should again receive another email (produced automatically) thanking me for my attendance and asking for my feedback on the event – available back on my personalised website.

Cross Media is all about integration. It’s all about enabling a holistic, on-going, multi-channel customer experience while keeping the channel-specific customer experience at a flavor and level that is state-of-the-art, relative to market expectation for that channel…”

It’s all about getting the right message to the right customer, at the right and most relevant time, using the right media and prompting the right response.