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Email is facing some challenges. Not only have subscriber bases taken a knock with the arrival of GDPR, cutting up to 50% of the contact list for some brands, but the annual volume of email is expected to rise from 269 billion to 333 billion by 2022.

Put simply, those that remain on the subscriber list will be inundated with brand content. Currently 49% of the emails that reach the inbox of the consumer are already being deleted before being opened. And now that will only increase.

Fortunately, email isn’t always the answer. Take the in-store scenario. A shopper using a click-and-collect service more than likely hasn’t printed – or remembered to bring with them – the printed copy of the order receipt. In this situation they might look for it in their inbox, but the reception in a shopping centre leaves much to be desired. In this situation, they remember an SMS they were sent alongside the order confirmation. 

In its simplest form, this is cross-channel marketing. The customer has been engaged post-purchase through both email and SMS. Of course, in today’s digital age, this represents just a drop in the ocean of ways to engage and guide consumers on their journey. 

Successfully orchestrating the cross-channel customer journey formed the centre of conversation at the latest Oracle Responsys User Forum, held in the illustrious Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge. Here, we cover some of the most important takeaways from a morning of insight and shared experiences.

Creating a full marketing journey

The main challenge when approaching cross-channel marketing is there are an infinite number of ways the consumer can interact with your brand before they purchase – and then again even post-purchase. As marketers we’re trying to join the points together to create a seamless experience. 

When brands work in silos, they cut the connectors which results in a poor customer experience. As Simon Johnston, Strategic Consultant, EMEA, surmised, “It’s like you’re fielding a football team but none of them talk to each other. Rather than one cohesive group working together, you end up with 11 players who all want to score goals. They don’t want to pass the ball; they don’t want to share.”

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This carries significant consequences for the end user experience. Say the consumer sees an ad for a local gym, they visit the physical location and signup while there. On their return home, they open up Facebook and see an ad offering a discount off the joining fee. The online cookie is still working but the customer converted offline. The channels aren’t talking to one another.

Getting your marketing channels talking to one another in a coordinated way hinges on vital ingredients;

  • A customer journey canvas that’s going to explain how each of the channels will function
  • Permissions to enable effective data collection and storage
  • A plan for connecting customer IDs in anonymous channels such as cookies to known channels like SMS
  • The budget to invest adequately into the new channels
  • A structure free of silos to ensure everyone on board is working as one effective team 
  • Finally, reporting and attribution, it’s no good doing all this is we can’t prove the impact

Customer journey mapping

For most, elements of the above ingredient list will resonate with how they are set up currently or how they are looking to build. However, the very first ingredient requires time and thought marketers rarely enjoy. 

Knowing where to start your customer journey canvas was the focus for KimBarlow, Director of Strategic & Analytical Services EMEA, who started by breaking this down into five distinct areas;

  1. Creating an initial plan – building out customer personas and understanding what they visit
  2. Evaluate – the attitudes and sense check them. Do you want to change any attitudes?
  3. Explore – examining the capabilities of the organisation to interact
  4. Brainstorm – what’s the journey that we want to take them on? All the different teams that work with you are involved
  5. Designing the new experience – build a CX hypothesis with these new, different channels
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Putting this into practice, Kim drew on an example from GE. Doug Dietz, an industrial designer working for GE healthcare had one particular problem – children who have to have an MRI scan found the process scary. From the doctor’s appointment, to arrival at the hospital and waiting rooms, by the time they reached the MRI room, they were so anxious they often burst into tears and in struggling to stay still, made the process of taking the scans much longer than necessary. 

Not only are the costs of hiring extra staff to support the process a huge driver of change, but also the side effects of often resorting to using drugs to calm the children and allow the machine to take accurate images.

Kim explained, “It’s about finding the moment that matters. For Sophia, this is the moment that she sees the MRI ‘monster’. Solving any kind of problem when customer journey mapping relies on asking “What gets the target audience excited?’ If you’re asking questions like this, you’re focusing on the needs which are always the key to changing their behaviours.”

In Doug’s case, the team realised kids care about exploration, adventure and being outdoors – this sparked an entire rejuvenation of the customer journey centred around the concept of going camping. The new roadmap was centred on maintaining this concept at every point in the child’s journey from doctor’s appointment, through to the MRI room itself, fully decked out as a campsite.

Kim concluded, “Data can give you lots of indicators, but it’s about understanding the attitudes that you want to influence. Consumers are humans at the end of the day. Once you’ve thought about the emotional journey, then you can start testing. Start small and build around the experiences that work.”

Make sure to also check out our Cross-Channel Fundamentals Guide and Streamline CX Guide here.





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