Two Survival Strategies for Multichannel, Real-Time Customer Engagement

Marketers who use marketing automation and integrated marketing management will succeed in today's fast-past multiplatform environment.

Marketers today need to reach consumers across an almost dizzying array of touchpoints, both on- and off-line. That means driving complex, multichannel campaigns.

At times it can seem like an impossible task. How can we possibly design, execute, and measure campaigns comprised of so many moving-and constantly evolving-parts? What does it take to deliver a cost-effective, consistent customer experience across not only the latest digital/mobile platforms, but also across call centers, point-of-sale systems, and other traditional channels?

As I see it, there's only one way to tackle a challenge this enormous. To succeed in today's fast-paced, multiplatform environment, you need to implement two critically important tactics: marketing automation and integrated marketing management (IMM).

Marketing automation

Your customers want personalized interactions. Your prospects need to be eased along the lead nurturing path with messages that are timely and compelling. Everyone wants information that's relevant specifically to them, and they want it delivered according to their own unique preferences.

If you're still managing marketing operations from spreadsheets and an email inbox, there's just no way you can possibly keep up. These days, you simply can't rely on a static collection of customer data, last year's flow charts or even traditional methods of segmentation.

Instead, marketers now need to create customized messages that can leverage behaviors at certain defined points in the customer life cycle or buying funnel. Fortunately, marketing automation makes all that possible. Using the latest automation techniques, you can monitor certain key online behaviors, and then apply these insights to improve lead scoring and campaign development. Your objective is to create targeted messages that truly resonate with your customers and prospects, and technology now allows you to achieve that goal with more precision than ever before.

In addition, marketing automation provides an entirely new level of flexibility. It allows you to track your efforts, scrutinize response rates, and tweak campaigns as they proceed.

Marketing automation has been shown to boost efficiency, improve visibility, reduce costs, provide insights that enhance innovation, and help to ensure a consistent customer experience. But even with all these benefits, automation alone is not sufficient. Today's leading marketing organizations know that to realize the full potential of marketing automation, it must be coupled with a strategy based on comprehensive integrated marketing management.

Integrated marketing management

IMM is a closed-loop approach that combines marketing's operational, execution, and analytical functions into one integrated process. It involves all key B2B and B2C marketing activities-campaigns, data, spend, and assets-across both offline and digital channelsand then it goes even further, incorporating other data sources from throughout the organization.

So, let's be clear. IMM is not just a marketing data mart. Nor is it a product. IMM is a marketing environment that uses multiple data-driven insights to optimize marketing performance and prove the return on marketing investment. (Now that economic volatility seems to be the "new normal," expect accountability to remain a top marketing imperative.)

In short, when marketing automation and IMM are combined, they empower marketers in new and exciting ways, allowing them to provide "intelligent interactions" with customers. That means providing engagement one-on-one, via real-time, relevant brand information and offers that are consistent across on- and off-line channels.

As consumers become increasingly plugged in to social networking and mobile platforms, they are going to expect more of this kind of seamless, digital experience. Don't disappoint. Use marketing automation and IMM so you can routinely deliver innovative interactions that delight your customers and, ultimately, drive revenue growth.