Beginning, middle, end. What actually is cross-media marketing?

We all need order and structure in our communication.

If you want proof, ask a four-year-old to tell you a story. They will probably start ‘Once up a time…’ after that, of course, you could get anything because kids are wonderfully imaginative! (I recently did this and was told a brilliant story about some wizards that turned into cheese.) Whatever happens, in the tale you will usually get some variant of

  • Once upon a time…
  • Some people did some interesting stuff…
  • And then they all lived happily ever after.

From a very young age, we all know that there are stages to a story – it is a sort of journey that we go on.

Cross media marketing is about the journey.

Let’s assume a customer makes the first contact with your business through a printed item. Without a cross-media campaign that could very well be the end of their journey; but with one, they will be guided to a wider understanding of your product or service. It will, for example, encourage them to reach for their ever present smart phone and with a quick scan of the page, interact with the content of your website.

The same could be said for a first contact point being through a website. OK, you may be able to gather some data about roughly who visited and what they looked at through your analytics, but that doesn’t impact on the customer beyond allowing you to think generally about what happened on your site that day, week, month or whatever.

Again, a cross-media campaign will be doing more than just encouraging consideration of a particular service; it is working with the needs of the customer. These needs will, of course, be based on the information gathered during their journey regardless of whether their interactions have been via print, internet, mobile device, or in person on the high street. A good campaign will follow a journey and, at key points along the way, gather the information needed to ensure that the customer receives exactly the information they want, in the way they want to receive it when they need it most.

Without an integrated campaign there is a real danger that customer contact is through individually conceived, and non-consistent methods. As a result, the information is gathered and put into a particular silo and stays there. Nobody knows which parts of the campaign were successful and customer data is either not collected or ‘dead ended’ by not being available for wider use.

From the moment a customer makes initial contact with your business, a well-constructed cross-media marketing plan will not only guide them and gather data that will ensure they are offered the right products and offers. It will also keep them informed of news, follow up the sale to ensure they are happy, keep track of any loyalty incentives, inform them of milestone events and even wish them a happy birthday. Essentially it will integrate into every part of their journey from initial interest to the point the customer leaves the sales funnel.

Or to put is another way ‘once upon a time, a customer entered your sales process, had a great journey and we all lived happily ever after’.