Seven Tips for Better Multichannel Marketing and Customer Experience
Written by Robert Bredlau & Oliver Jaeger with e-Spirit
Consumers use several forms of media each day and – no surprise – they expect brands to do the same. In its annual Consumer Insights Survey, mBuys found that 72 percent of consumers want an integrated marketing approach. What this indicates is that simply optimizing the customer experience on your website is not enough – you need to manage your message consistently across a variety of online and offline media channels including Web, social, radio, television, print, and mobile.
Given that customer expectations are evolving quickly, many organizations – especially large enterprises – face an uphill battle when they attempt to deliver an exceptional customer experience on every channel. According to recent Forrester research, the challenges include IT-centric tools vs. marketing centric; mountains of poorly managed data and content; and siloed rather than integrated technology (download the full report here).
For most companies, ripping out their entire infrastructure and starting over with tools designed for today’s multi-channel world is not a realistic approach. They have too much investment in technology and training to start over. A far better and more cost effective approach according to Forrester is to bring in a best-of-breed Web Content Management System designed to integrate with existing systems on the back end while offering the flexibility to drive content out through multiple channels. Having a tightly integrated WCMS platform can have a dramatic impact on improving your multi-channel customer experience. Here are seven tips to help you get started.
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Use advanced authoring tools
In the past it was common for the marketing department to create content and then wait for the IT department to post the information. However, easy-to-use authoring tools now allow editors to post content directly – and even from mobile devices -- rather than rely on expensive IT resources.
Establish workflow guidelines
Regulatory issues, global operations, and even disclosure of corporate financial information are issues that most companies have to address. Simply having content approved via e-mail is not enough in regulated environments where legal, medical, and compliance officers must be involved. Having multiple layers of approvals, while time-consuming, can help ensure the quality of content. Examine your workflow needs and make sure that all stakeholders are involved in the discussion. Consider the use of graphical workflow modeling tools to empower business users to make these changes. Advanced workflow tools ensure that established processes are followed consistently.
Target Content in Context
Over the last few years websites have shifted from being product-centric to consumer-centric. With that in mind, companies need to implement WCMS systems that factor in visitor information such as past purchases, demographics, language, and even the device being used. Over time, as WCMS technologies mature, companies should consider adopting algorithmic-based technologies to get a better understanding of their unauthenticated visitors to do a better job of tailoring the Web experience to the customer’s likely interests.
Raising the content bar
One way to keep website visitors engaged is by incorporating images and video into the website. This is especially true when there is timely video to showcase, such as from an industry trade show. To successfully integrate images and video into the overall Web experience it is critical that your organization integrate its WCMS with other solutions like Digital Asset Management (for rendition management), video platforms (for basic management and high-bandwidth delivery), and desktop tools that support creative workflows.
Tackling multiple channels
The beauty of having multiple marketing channels is that your company can reach customers in many different ways. The challenge is that you must now manage each of these channels. In addition to managing your company website, marketers must now manage social, e-mail, and mobile. To properly manage each of the channels, your company should consider implementing a central WCMS solution that separates content from presentation layers. The approach enables editors to adapt content for various audience or markets, and then publish it automatically to different channels and across a variety of devices with varying form factors.
Going Local, Going Global
Maintaining a consistent look and feel, as well as adhering to approved corporate language and branding standards, is vital as the world continues to shrink. Global consistency is important, but WCMS systems must allow marketers to localize content to fit regional needs. Newer companies, or companies that only focus on a small region, usually tailor information for their specific market. However, as companies expand on a global level, it’s important to create policy and governance guidelines to promote a consistent look and feel on a global basis while embracing local sensibilities.
The Social Network
Even though many younger companies have not established their social media strategies, it’s important to understand the shift a company goes through as it grows over time. At first companies focus on presenting a clean, easy-to-read informational website. As the company expands, social media opportunities such as blogs and industry polls give marketers the opportunity to incorporate new information within the website. In addition syndicating content to third-party social networks, and tapping into the social profiles, helps to personalize on-site Web experiences.
What challenges does your organization face in trying to connect with customers across multiple channels? What have you found to be effective? Post up in comments or drop me a line and let’s keep the conversation going.
About the authors
Robert Bredlau is the Chief Operating Officer for e-Spirit Inc. in North America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oliver Jaeger is the Vice President Global Marketing and Communication for e-Spirit. He can be reached at email@example.com.
As the manufacturer of the content management system FirstSpirit™, e-Spirit is a technological leader in the field of web content management (WCM). Well-known customers from all business sectors rely on FirstSpirit™ for implementing successful web strategies worldwide and for the creation, management and publication of content in highly diverse channels (Internet, intranet, extranet, mobile channels, PDF, email newsletters, portals, DTP, technical documentation). The content management system impresses with its outstanding “integratability” and its consistent best-of-breed strategy: It integrates seamlessly into complex system landscapes and portals (SAP NetWeaver, IBM WebSphere, Microsoft SharePoint, Liferay, JBoss).
e-Spirit was founded in 1999 and is represented with 12 locations in North-America and Europe.