BrainTrust Query: The Value of the Cross Channel Segment

Oct 04, 2010

By Gib Bassett, Director of Sales and Marketing, Signal

Through a special arrangement,
presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Signal’s

Reaching the cross channel customer in a timely, relevant and often
location-centric fashion has become the marketer’s goal, and a smartphone
is becoming the platform for making it happen. Mobile is often viewed as
a stand-alone channel when, in fact, it is a platform offering a gateway to
many channels. Text messaging, mobile email, the mobile web, applications,
and social media are all finding homes on consumer handsets, collectively representing
a challenge and opportunity for marketers.

The challenge is distinct from the
one posed by multi-channel marketing, which arose once businesses could serve
customers through different channels, each requiring unique marketing tactics.
The opportunity is instead now to craft intelligent ways of marketing across
channels in consideration of consumer preferences. The timing of marketing messages
and the place where these messages are received are becoming equally as important
considerations as targeting the right message to the right customer.

The beauty of technology-enabled cross channel marketing is that it
accounts for all consumers, not just those with the latest iPhone or the more
affluent. Customer communication preferences are at the heart of cross channel
marketing. It isn’t about any one approach, such as email or text messaging;
rather it’s
about the way a consumer wants to participate in a digital business relationship.

relationship is sealed via consumer permission, or “opting in.” With
both a customer’s channel preferences and permission, response rates greatly
exceed less considerate marketing approaches. This applies as much to text messaging
programs as it does allowing an application to identify your location to inform
a more relevant interaction or offer.

Forrester had the foresight to recognize
this new category of marketing and give it a name: Cross Channel Campaign
Management (CCCM). Quite a few email, CRM and marketing services vendors have
seized upon this trend, extending their offerings to account for emerging channels
like mobile and social media. Notably, Forrester finds no one vendor accounts
for all the requirements of CCCM, and so buyers considering cross channel marketing
will have to align themselves with the vendor who most closely meets the problem
head on.

To that end, I think Forrester and other experts will be surprised
when buyers align themselves not with the email, CRM and marketing services
stalwarts moving into cross channel, but the mobile channel marketing specialists
building intelligent ways of orchestrating promotions and offers across messaging,
social, email and the web — often informed with location.

Discussion Questions: Do you believe mobile devices will transform cross-channel
shopping? What opportunities and challenges will be in front of retailers
as more consumers adopt mobile technologies?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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11 Comments on "BrainTrust Query: The Value of the Cross Channel Segment"

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Dick Seesel
10 years 7 months ago

Gen Y customers are “digital natives” and to some degree so are Gen Xers. Meanwhile, baby boomers are very comfortable with e-commerce but are just beginning to migrate to more extensive use of smartphones and social networking. There is little doubt that e-commerce in five years will look much different than it does today, and mobile devices will make the difference. As long as issues of smartphone security are managed properly (in the same way that consumers trust most websites when entering their credit card data), the impact on retailers will be significant.

Lisa Bradner
Lisa Bradner
10 years 7 months ago

Mobile devices will be key but smart retailers better quickly figure out 1) how to make them something more than a promotional device and 2) how to capture the data they generate and integrate that data stream. If mobile just becomes a spam marketing platform where we’re all constantly screaming, consumers will opt out in a hurry. Relevance, discretion and strategy are required–but can we all stick to the discipline required?

Max Goldberg
10 years 7 months ago

Mobile phones represent the nexus of marketing and consumer action. The key is to deliver a receptive consumer the right message at the right time. Opting in is only the beginning. The message must be delivered at the right place, at the right time, and must have enough value to interest the consumer. And it must do this consistently, otherwise it will turn off the consumer, who can just as easily opt out.

Doug Stephens
Doug Stephens
10 years 7 months ago

The opportunity is clearly to connect with consumers in a way that’s more relevant and contextual than ever before. Location based mobile marketing offers an immediacy that the TV Industrial Complex just couldn’t. We can converse with customers at exactly the time they want us–wanting us being the key.

The challenge however is that marketers have to be more nimble, creative, and spontaneous in not only reaching out to consumers but also responding to them on the fly.

Going forward, as the novelty of mobile and LB marketing wears off, the challenge for marketers will be not simply to connect in the space but to truly add some value to the consumer’s experience and in doing so, develop an ongoing trust.

Marge Laney
10 years 7 months ago

Mobile and LB marketing are important, but make no mistake that it is just another channel for retailers to connect with their customers; current and potential. While it’s the new big thing, mobile and LB are not the silver bullet everyone is looking for to improve conversion and EBITDA.

Surprisingly, of the 83% of Americans who have cell phones only 17% of those are smart. Retailers who focus time and money on mobile while the rest of the business screams for attention are missing the mark. Connecting with the customer the way the customer demands is important, but make sure that what you’re promising via your cool mobile app is delivered when the customer shows up at your door.

Paul R. Schottmiller
Paul R. Schottmiller
10 years 7 months ago

The smartphone will enable new experiences in-store well beyond marketing. Web capabilities like price/product comparison, reviews, recommendation engines, configurators, and social shopping will be utilized in-store. As 4G becomes pervasive, another round of sophisticated capabilities will emerge (i.e. live video assistance and augmented reality). This will present both significant opportunities and challenges for store operations.

Ed Rosenbaum
10 years 7 months ago

I don’t think it matters much which “generation” you are from. Today it is more about how you can accomplish more faster. The newer cell phone and apps allow for that to be the wave of tomorrow. Having the ability to let your potential customers know what is currently happening lets them be ahead of the curve. That is the edge we seem to be focused on today…being ahead of the curve, one step ahead of the next person.

Cathy Hotka
10 years 7 months ago

All of these channels will be important to retailers going forward. But there are certain key things retailers will have to work on, including uncertain stock positions in stores and unpredictable sizing in apparel. When someone gets it right, others will follow!

Eric Holmen
Eric Holmen
10 years 7 months ago
As if media fragmentation wasn’t enough with traditional marketing! What I’m seeing now is a digital-multichannel fragmentation, but the consequences for getting it wrong are much more steep. The consumer is expecting all of these digital channels not just to be TURNED ON but to be fully INTEGRATED so if I update my shopping list on your eCom website from my PC, when I open your app in your store, my shopping list better be accurate, and if my friends want to comment on my shopping list while I’m driving to the store, I better be able to find those responses on my mobile device, and possibly on Facebook. I don’t think many of today’s marketers are going to cut it without a lot of help and a lot of change. This is the first time when marketers may find that they are more in the user-experience software/digital business than in the traditional marketing business, and not everyone is cut out for that. Today’s leaders need to take a good look at their team, their… Read more »
Mark Price
Mark Price
10 years 7 months ago

I have been amazed over the past several years at the growing acceptance of mobile for promotional marketing. I had imagined such a trend would require 5-7 years, but it looks like it will play out in 2-3 years that m-commerce and m-support will become integrated into lives of consumers in specific segments.

The coming ubiquity of smartphones will lead retailers to both support quick-and-easy interfaces for m-commerce (actual transactions from the e-commerce business done over the phone) and m-support (providing product information and support over the cell phone, whether the customer is in the store or not). The use of smartphones should increase customer service and transaction speed/convenience, which are factors that are strongly sought out.

However, it will also now be easier to poach customers from a competitor, even when those customers are in the competitor’s store. Pricing transparency will mean that stores must be competitive on pricing across all channels and also provide a service difference to create customer retention and associated profitability.

Phil Rubin
10 years 7 months ago

There’s no question that mobile will ultimately be a transformative channel and that in some places it has changed cross-channel shopping. Traditional out-of-home media simply has too many shortcomings to be the default channel over the long-term. Clearly that is where much of mobile’s advantage lies: in being closer to the point-of-sale than other media. The challenge short-term is that mobile adoption is still lower than old-school media in spite of the former’s superior accountability.

Further, mobile is only a subset of email (and much of social media too for that matter) and despite fluffy marketing prognostications to the contrary, there is no better and accountable way to move the needle–i.e., drive sales–than relevant email. Not social, not mobile, and not old-school advertising.


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