Key Principles of Cross-Channel Marketing

The eec’s Cross-Channel Roundtable is working toward developing a checklist for email marketers to audit their existing email marketing programs or to use as a guide to kickstart cross-channel marketing. 

We started out by defining cross-channel versus multi-channel. Below we have developed 10 of the 11 key principles/steps that we feel will define cross-channel marketing.

  1. Establish goals (sales, engagement) – Identify what it is you want to accomplish in specific, quantifiable terms and get buy-in on the goals from across the organization.
  2. Determine what programs you need to run to meet your goals – Once you know what you want to accomplish, determine what the best execution methods for these programs should be (mobile, email marketing, social media, direct mail, etc…).
  3. Get buy-in (executive sponsorship) – Form an Internal Team of Champions. You may run into resistance knocking down barriers and trying new ways to communicate with customers and prospects.  An executive champion in your company will be critical to getting through these issues.
  4. Bridge departmental silos – Get teams working together.  Cross-channel marketing often involves different disciplines and departments; create a new mindset and don’t let established silos hinder your progress.
  5. Data collection – Identify what data you need to do the segmentation and communication for the communication programs you’ve defined.  See if you have the data somewhere in your organization before you ask customers to provide it.  Consider the value of behavioral data over self reported data.
  6. Walk before you run – Don’t expect to do full-blown cross-channel campaigns.  Identify certain channels & focus on goals to show quick wins.  Establish meaningful goals within manageable boundaries so you can begin.  Starting small is better than delaying big.
  7. Early success for automation and segmentation – Technology is an enabler, not a crutch.  Use success from manual or small tests to show higher ROI, then forecast future success based on those increased levels of performance.  Don’t just go out and buy technology to solve your problem.  Understand your issues and your goals and if you need automation to accomplish them or technology to track progress, then seek out the right product for your needs.
  8. Don’t force it – Understand the strength of each channel and how it works best in a cross-channel campaign and use it accordingly…don’t try to force fit.  Just because it works for someone else, doesn’t mean it works for your company or business (i.e. social for community engagement and input).
  9. Consistently measure progress set up for success – Establish well-defined business rules based on what you’re trying to accomplish.
  10. Test, test, and test again – Keep testing for higher optimization and to ensure customer behavior has not changed over time.

These are the top principles we have defined; before we write them in stone, we want to hear from you!  Is there something you feel is missing when it comes to being a cross-channel marketer?  What do you feel should be the eleventh principle?

Please be sure to leave comments and thoughts below or send one of the Roundtable chairs an email: Colleen Petitt at Aprimo: or David Hibbs at Responsys:

– Colleen Petitt
co-chair of Cross-Channel Roundtable