Few marketers today are capitalizing on opportunities to deliver unique, data-driven experiences across channels. Will 2016 be the year of cross-channel synergy and optimization?

It's the middle of 2015, so why not look ahead and make a prediction? As marketers, we are faced with opportunities to create cross-channel synergy and new consumer experiences. It's something that's been on many marketing minds for at least a few years now, with constant conversations about orchestration and seamless experiences for consumers.

There is certainly a clearer vision forming that is focused on the frontier of right-time, right-place communications leading to great consumer experiences and increased business results. And every day, consumer expectations are heightened when a new digital experience trumps the last. Delivering on these expectations is becoming more challenging - and more mandatory - than ever.

Translating this vision of channel synergy into a reality and manifesting measureable results is where many marketers remain extremely challenged. Few marketers today are capitalizing on opportunities to utilize data to deliver unique experiences for individual consumers across channels. We are on the brink - just not there yet, in most cases.

To even consider that 2016 may be the year of cross-channel synergy and optimization, marketers need to move past the brink and into action. To get there, putting some focus on the following key areas will get us headed in the right direction.

Prioritization and Objective Setting

With so many opportunities and configurations across marketing channels, the first step is defining where to focus and set objectives. Of course, a lot of input needs to funnel into this process to set the stage for progress. This involves understanding the customer journey, current channel engagement levels, future opportunity levels, level of effort and projected impact. Another key factor is the competitive space and whether there (Read more...) competitive pressure and a time-to-market factor at play. All of these elements help to form key objectives and impact the priority level for cross-channel initiatives.

Permission and Access

It is also important to understand consumer segments, access to data and permissions across channels. For example, have your mobile application users also opted into email? The answer should be "yes" for most of them, but it's surprising how many mobile applications don't connect the email opt-in element. For most marketers, the goal is to engage consumers across all channels at the right place and time. Doing an audit of consumer data and permissions will provide insight into adoption and engagement levels by channel. Identifying opportunities to close gaps where channel adoption and engagement are low is key to delivering on cross-channel synergy.

Cross-Channel Path Analysis

Once priorities have been set, opportunities have been identified, and there's an understanding of permission and access levels, the cross-channel synergy creation begins! It's time to focus on an automated lifecycle marketing strategy to map out new user experiences, as follows:

  • Identify Use Cases and Targets. A good place to start is, lapsed customers opted into email and using the mobile application.
  • Identify Channel Options. Web, email, mobile app Push Notifications, SMS, MMS, and display are a few examples.
  • Identify Test Elements. Test elements include channel, content, creative, sequence, timing, and call-to-action, among others.
  • Build Test Plans. What will be tested and for how long? What are the test elements?
  • Review Performance Data and Optimize Accordingly. Learn, learn, and learn again.

Today, cross-channel synergy may be a bit of a unicorn, but we have the building blocks to transition it to reality. Time will only tell if 2016 is marketing's year to attain greater cross-channel synergy, but we definitely need to accelerate to meet fast evolving consumer expectations.

What you doing to achieve cross-channel synergy? Let me know in the comments.

Hompage image via Shutterstock.

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