Our New Cross-Channel Integration Roundtable

Thoughts from the first meeting of the Cross-Channel Integration Roundtable
co-chaired by Jeff Chamberlain of Aprimo and David Hibbs of Responsys.

The charter of the Roundtable is to explore cross-channel integration to provide education and/or information that would help eec members and the larger email marketing community in pursuing this goal.  Here are the themes to what we are trying to accomplish:

  1. Address the needs to “get started” by helping marketers understand the initial steps that might lead to integrated marketing leveraging an existing email channel.
  2. Utilize email marketing best practices to help inform what we decide to provide to the community.
  3. Look at simple tools that are easy to apply rather than just focus on deep insights or case studies that are interesting but don’t inform clear action for marketers.

Our initial group (still welcoming new members) had a discussion on cross-channel integration. I’ll introduce the team through the discussion summary.  eec Vice Chair Stephanie Miller of Aprimo kicked off the call and started us down the road to group discussion.

Challenge #1 – What is Cross-Channel Integration??

Jeff Chamberlain of Aprimo suggested that cross-channel integration spoke to presenting a marketing message via multiple communication channels to address the different needs driven by preference, buying cycle stage, etc.

Sheryl Biesman of Pharmavite pointed out the channel also refers to distribution from a CPG perspective so we need to be clear about integrating communication channels or distribution channels.

Dwight Sholes of Sholes LLC offered the perspective to focus on direct channels (those designed to directly influence action or response such as email marketing or direct mail as opposed to awareness like print ads or signage).  We accepted the fact that there is a large definition of cross-channel integration and that we would narrow down our target as we come up with different projects…which led to some discussion/brainstorming on possible projects we could do to pursue our charge as a group (trumpets blaring charge heard in the distance…). 

Here is a sampling of the ideas discussed:

  • Focus on nuts & bolts…how to get started…benchmarks…how to get it done.
  • Provide metrics for how to measure success and case studies on how it has been successful.
  • How to get it done easily.  Much of the material out there is intimidating on getting the resources (people, money) to get going.
  • Create a checklist to help people know they are addressing the right issues – a Cross-Channel Maturity Audit
  • Help people learn how to unify a single communication piece & communicate it across multiple channels.  Keep in mind how a message differs for different channels.
  • Help people test.  How to choose the right channels.  How to choose the right campaigns for testing cross-channel integration.
  • Focus on how to best combine traditional and new marketing channels (e.g. email marketing and social media, blogging and events)
  • Since we are doing this for email marketers, maybe we should investigate whether one channel (e.g. email marketing) should be the hub of your cross-channel marketing strategy.

This would force us to think through the aspects of cross-channel marketing and define some logical next steps.  It could be a good way to gather status and thoughts from others.  Let’s do it!

And so there you are…our first challenge…define the aspects of a Cross-Channel Maturity Audit.  We’ll dive in at our next meeting in November.

Intrigued and want to join us?  Contact Ali at the eec.

– Jeff Chamberlain, Cross-Channel Integration Roundtable co-chair
VP, B2B Solutions Marketing