More often than not, these well-executed, cross-channel approaches are implemented with custom technology stacks that feature a collection of best-of-breed solutions built around a central marketing system — like a customer data platform (CDP).
In other words, technology that helps marketers track and respond to customers’ unique journeys in real time.
(Both of which limit marketers’ ability to expertly engage prospects and customers.)
Providing a seamless customer experience (CX) across marketing channels at each touchpoint may be the aspiration of practically every enterprise CMO today. But, frankly, it’s also what consumers have come to expect of brands who want their business.
And this seamless experience can only be delivered with a ‘hub-and-spoke’ martech stack structure that enables hyper-targeted, real-time customer engagement.
Or, as we here at BlueConic call it, customer lifecycle orchestration.
Centralizing customer data and making it actionable for cross-channel marketing
Multi-channel marketing is simply having a presence on multiple channels and utilizing them for disconnected promotional messaging (email marketing campaigns, mobile app push notifications, social media ads, etc.) — is inefficient.
Omnichannel marketing is the bottom-of-the-funnel, sales-centric strategy to create a seamless shopping experience across every single channel and touchpoint for consumers to make their path to purchasing as smooth as possible.
Cross-channel marketing, in essence, falls right in the middle of these approaches:
The organization and orchestration of touchpoints across multiple channels, but in the context of customer lifecycle stages as opposed to channel-specific tactics
It’s this type of engaging marketing that helps brands become genuinely customer-centric.
To create a successful cross-channel marketing strategy, though, marketing organizations first needs all their customer data unified in a single source of truth database.
And, ideally, one that enables efficient segmentation, analysis, modeling, and activation.
Just look to the cross-channel marketing plan from BlueConic customer Belgian Cycling Factory (BCF). It’s a prime example of how to effectively connect with one’s audience:
- The brand was dissatisfied with the low-quality and insufficient amount of customer data in its network of dealers was collecting about shoppers. So BCF decided to start collecting its own first-party data to better understand and market to its buyers.
- Fast-forward seven months after onboarding our CDP. The BCF marketing team had created 1 million individual profiles of prospects, customers, and dealers.
- This single customer view helped BCF build multi-dimensional segments based on several profile attributes. This includes ones based on location, browsing behaviors, and even preferences regarding frame style, color, and terrain (e.g., road, gravel, and mountain biking).
- With custom segments created in a matter of minutes, the Belgian Cycling Factory team could immediately activate that first-party data in targeted, cross-channel marketing activities. For instance, in Facebook and Instagram ads and on-site dialogues.
More intricate customer insights and dynamically updated customer segments continue to provide BCF with the data it needs to succeed with its cross-channel personalization and individualization tactics and continually become more efficient and agile.
Embracing lifecycle orchestration as your primary cross-channel marketing approach
“Old mindsets unconsciously tether marketers to the days of batch-and-blast marketing,” Forrester VP, Principal Analyst Laura Ramos and Principal Analyst Jim Nail recently remarked.
In other words? Sticking with stagnant, dated marketing approaches like campaigns and relying exclusively on legacy technologies (e.g., campaign management tools, email service providers) to carry them out won’t help you realize your desired marketing ROI.
Instead, digitally transforming your business at large by testing new approaches, adopting new technologies, and streamlining existing processes is a must.
The main reason? To keep pace with competitors in today’s fast-paced business landscape.
And a cross-channel marketing strategy — in the form of well-calibrated, intelligent lifecycle orchestration to target prospects and customers — is your path to accomplishing this transformation.
Many marketing teams have implemented prosperous, personalized, cross-channel marketing campaigns that factor in unified data from all systems and sources. In turn, they’ve elevated their operational efficiency and core marketing performance metrics.
But customer lifecycle orchestration — whereby all interactions, regardless of marketing channel, are an explicit response to where each individual customer or prospect is on their unique buyer journey — is the far superior engagement approach today.
Why? Because organizations that adopt lifecycle marketing (and a modern orchestration-enabling technology, like our pure-play customer data platform) can:
- Design custom-tailored lifecycle stages based on detailed customer insights that help them gradually move prospects and customers through their marketing funnel
- Set up dynamic thresholds that allow them to control how many touchpoints and the types of touchpoints individuals interact with in each customer lifecycle stage
- Develop ‘completion’ criteria that determines what constitutes a (you guessed it) completed lifecycle for a given individual so they don’t inundate them with irrelevant or untimely messaging (in other words, so they can suppress certain messaging)
- Increase their agility and flexibility, thanks to access to multi-dimensional segments that update in real time and unified, actionable first-party data at their disposal
MarTech Today Editorial Director Kim Davis said it well. He noted lifecycle orchestration “reflects a post-channel sensibility, with messaging determined by the customer’s behavior, rather than by a commitment to run specific campaigns in specific channels.”
Enhancing your cross-channel marketing efforts with advanced technologies
In short, lifecycle orchestration is the future of cross-channel marketing. It’s an individualized method of outreach that empowers you to become more agile and flexible in your day-to-day and be more responsive to customers’ unique journeys.
But this more sophisticated customer engagement approach can only be established with a strong technological foundation. And, ideally, one built around a customer data platform.
Odds are you’ve explored how to break free from pre-configured, binary campaign workflows and experiment with new, more impactful modes of marketing.
With a pure-play CDP — which is meant for marketing pros, irrespective of their technical skills and savvy, to own and operate — you can do just that.
For example, overly complex “journey orchestration” platforms require users to have strong data science expertise to extract value from them. Meanwhile, CDPs — when connected with all other tech in one’s stack — can be easily utilized by anyone within the marketing org.
While a CDP offers advanced capabilities the legacy tools mentioned here (and many others not), you don’t have to (and likely shouldn’t) discard your campaign management tool.
That’s because the right CDP can actually enhance the output of campaign solutions.
BlueConic customers, for instance, can import engagement and behavioral data along with customer attributes collected from other channels and systems to a campaign management system. In turn, these marketers can improve their activation efforts using said tool.
Of course, the occasional campaign is necessary for marketers who use our customer data platform. But the heart of their marketing programs is now the execution of intelligently orchestrated, individualized, cross-channel lifecycles.
And rightfully so. Case in point: Boston Consulting Group research from 2020 found:
“[T]he most sophisticated digital marketers — those that have reached what we call ‘multimoment maturity,’ or the ability to deliver relevant experiences to customers at multiple moments across the purchase journey — achieve cost savings of up to 30% and revenue increases of as much as 20%.”
This statement — in a nutshell — defines modern customer lifecycle orchestration.
Long-term operational efficiencies for your team and business and more satisfying experiences for your customers. That’s what marketing orgs with cross-channel marketing strategies built around lifecycle orchestration are able to realize today.
And you can too, with a modified marketing perspective — and revamped tech stack.
Learn how you can leverage unified first-party data across channels and improve your marketing outcomes by watching our webinar on lifecycle orchestration.