Marketers Discuss Cross-Channel Limitations, Top Technology Tools

Published: November 2, 2012

There’s no need to build the case for cross-channel marketing because it’s already top of mind for a majority of marketers. But cross-channel initiatives still face challenges, including budget constraints, lack of technical expertise and staffing.

A commissioned study, “The Key To Successful Cross-Channel Marketing,” conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of ExactTarget, highlights how marketers are preparing for cross-channel marketing. The greatest challenges, according to the report, are understanding customer behavior and managing multichannel execution.

Results for the study were collected via an online survey to investigate the outlook and application of cross-channel strategies and technologies of more than 200 U.S. marketers within annual revenues of $100 million or more.

Cross-Channel Tools That Work
More than half (51%) of marketers said cross-channel analytics—models based on cross-channel data to improve program performance or predict outcomes—falls short, and 44% cite problems with the ability to track standard key performance indicators (KPIs) across channels.

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 “Customers don’t care that a marketer is organized by channels,” according Jim Roemmer, Senior Director of the Addressable Media Team at Gap Direct. “They want the marketer to stitch the whole multichannel experience together.”

Another interesting find from the report shows that although marketers said they feel ready for cross-channel marketing, they admit that cross-channel efforts post significant challenges: “Most respondents struggle to understand customers’ cross-channel interactions and to manage execution across multiple technologies,” noted the report.

The two reasons for the struggle between customers’ demands and marketers’ efforts are:

– Lack of organization: Organizations feel understaffed, siloed or staffed with inadequate skills.
– Insufficient technology budget: 70% respondents said they still have quite a small technology budget.

In addition, the report highlights the top five technologies for cross-channel management:
1) Web analytics platforms (60%);
2) Email marketing service providers (53%);
3) Social media management  tools (39%);
4) Campaign management and automation platforms (32%); and
5) Social listening tools (29%).

A small yet significant number of respondents said lead management/nurturing tools (18%) are useful in managing their cross-channel marketing. In addition, 12% said mobile marketing technology was helpful.

To help marketers bypass the inevitable long-term impact of siloed approaches on customer experience and marketing ROI, Forrester suggests marketers invest in an online marketing suite.

Click here to download the full report.

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