How to Choose the Right Cross-Channel Marketing Platform in 2022

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Make the most out of your cross-channel marketing strategy this year with the right marketing platform.

 

In today’s digital environment, your customers are using more platforms, devices, and channels to make informed purchasing decisions. People no longer simply walk into a store and make a major purchase.

In fact, the average shopper makes an average of 9.5 visits to a retailer’s site before deciding to make a purchase.

That means you need to be connecting with your customers and keeping your messaging in front of them to keep your brand top of mind – and that’s where cross-channel marketing comes into play.

Cross-channel marketing is the idea of connecting with your audiences across various different channels and outlets. This can include channels like email, social media, text messages, mobile apps, and more.

It may sound similar to the idea of multi-channel marketing, but cross-channel marketing takes the way you’re connecting with your customers to the next level.

Cross-channel marketing allows you to connect with your audiences on a more personalized level across various marketing channels at once. When compared to multi-channel marketing, it’s a more comprehensive approach and keeps customers engaged no matter what channel they’re on. WordStream.

Rather than targeting them on one singular channel, with one message, you’re creating a comprehensive experience that reaches them at the most critical touch points on all of the channels they’re active on.

By implementing a cross-channel marketing strategy, you’ll be actively promoting your brand and products to your customers so that when they’re ready to commit to a purchase, you’re the brand they choose.

One of the complexities of cross-channel marketing is ensuring you create one comprehensive experience from one channel to the next. Your customers need to identify your brand and recognize your products so that they think of you when they’re ready to purchase.

Many brands struggle with this and find that their channels don’t work together as well as they had hoped. While it may seem like a significant roadblock at first, the solution is simple. Find a cross-channel marketing platform that will help you work smarter, not harder.

5 Cross-Channel Marketing Platform Must-Haves

When selecting a cross-channel marketing platform, you need to make sure you find one that has the tools to help you make the most out of your marketing strategy.

To do this, you need to understand your marketing goals, know how many channels you need to manage, and consider future growth opportunities. Having these things top of mind will allow you to quickly weed out some of the platforms that won’t work for your needs.

There are tons of different platforms available today, but you can quickly get lost in the options if you don’t know what you’re looking for. You need to consider how many channels you can manage, how you can leverage customer data, and how the platform can help you automate your process.

All of these things are important and should be things you’re looking for in a cross-channel marketing platform. Let’s take a closer look at a few must-have items you’ll want to look for when choosing a new cross-channel marketing platform.

1) A Singular Platform That Can Manage Various Channels

First and foremost, if you’re looking to have a successful cross-channel marketing strategy, you need a singular platform that can manage multiple different channels.

A successful cross-channel marketing strategy will require you to easily manage all of your marketing channels. Doing this in one centralized platform will make it easier for your team and allow you to create seamless experiences from one to another.

If you connect with your audiences through multiple different channels, let’s say email, Facebook, SMS messages, and your mobile app – you need a platform that can manage all of these channels in one location.

This will allow you to create a comprehensive look and feel while also showing how your customers are engaging with each channel. That visibility is essential because it will enable you to connect the platforms and react to what the customer needs in real-time.

While you may not use every single marketing channel available, you must look for a tool that can help you manage the ones you do.

Here are a few common channels you should look for:

  • Email
  • SMS/MMS messaging
  • Social media channels
  • Mobile app
  • Push notifications
  • Digital ads

Make sure you know what channels are more important to you and only choose a platform that allows you to manage all of them in one location. This not only creates a more seamless experience for the customer but also simplifies your process and eliminates the need for separate platforms for each channel.

2) Data Collection, Understanding, and Decision Making Capabilities

Having a singular source of truth will also make it easier for you to collect, understand, and act on customer data. How a platform collects, analyzes, and acts on data is another big consideration you need to look at.

One reason why this is so important is that it will allow you to start to better understand who your audiences are, improve segmentation, and ultimately improve engagement with your content.

But that’s not the only benefit to having a platform that can understand customer data.

With today’s technology, it’s possible for a marketing platform to not only collect data but also make informed data-driven decisions on what happens next based on real-time interactions and behaviors.

Image courtesy of Marketing Charts.

Many companies are already thinking about how they can improve their data-driven marketing efforts. With the right cross-channel marketing platform, you can have the data insights you need to do everything from making more informed decisions to integrating that data across all of your different platforms and channels. Image courtesy of Marketing Charts.

This means that your cross-channel marketing platform should be smart enough to understand what action a customer took and then automatically react to that action with a relevant follow-up. It’s done through things like behavioral triggers and customized journey workflows.

So what do you need to look for when researching different platforms to know if they will provide you with the data tools you need?

Look for platforms that have technology like:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Machine learning
  • Predictive analytics

These advanced technologies are what will set your cross-channel marketing strategy up for success and keep your audiences engaged with your content. They’ll allow you to understand your customers on a deeper level and automatically switch gears when your customers’ needs change.

Without the correct data and a tool that can help you react to customers in real-time, you’ll have difficulty getting your cross-channel strategy off the ground.

3) Customer Journey Mapping to Automate the Process

When making a purchase, your customers generally follow a specific journey.

Image courtesy of UX Planet

While the customer journey may look slightly different for every individual, they follow the same general flow. It all starts during the awareness stage when the customer identifies the need and moves them through purchasing to advocacy.

Of course, that journey doesn’t look the same for everyone, but it generally starts with identifying a want or need and ends with the customer deciding on what product can solve this want or need.

There are many steps and touchpoints that a customer goes through along the way, and with the right platform, you can control what that journey looks like from start to finish.

To do this, you’ll need a platform that allows you to create workflows to automate the customer journey. These workflows will move customers through a set of messages that are tailored to their specific needs based on where they’re at in the journey.

These automated workflows can then also respond to changing customer behaviors and adjust based on the needs of each person across all the platforms you’re active on.

Meaning if someone clicked an email and viewed a product on your website, the workflow would automatically react to that interaction and create a follow-up experience.

That follow-up experience could be on any of the channels the customer is active on, whether it’s a social media ad or SMS message sharing a discount code – it can all be done without manual intervention.

If you were to try to connect with each of your customers with this level of personalization manually, you’d never be able to reach each customer and you’d miss opportunities as their needs change.

That’s why this is another one of the things you want to consider when vetting a new cross-channel marketing platform.

4) Opportunities for Continued Audience Growth

The success of your cross-channel marketing strategy doesn’t only sit on the ability to reach customers from one channel to the next. You also need to remember that reaching new audiences and growing your subscriber base is vital to success.

While it is true that attracting new customers can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer, you can’t ignore the fact that you have to continue to grow your audience base.

Customer acquisition is important and it’s something you should also consider when looking for a cross-channel marketing platform. Without a steady influx of new customers, your subscriber lists will start to suffer and your list of inactive users will continue to grow.

Customer churn is going to happen and the only way to outweigh the number of churns is to continue attracting new subscribers.

Image courtesy of Marketing Charts

Customer churn happens to everyone, across all industries. It’s something you can’t avoid, but you can work to attract new subscribers over time to keep your list healthy and return positive engagement and conversion metrics.

Many platforms today offer a variety of different solutions to help you continue to grow your subscriber lists such as website pop-ups, simple sign-up forms, gated content capabilities, and more.

Taking these capabilities into consideration will allow you to not only identify a platform that can simplify your communication efforts with your audiences but also allow you to continue to grow and expand your business.

A well-rounded platform will set you up for success in all areas of your marketing strategy, from customer acquisition to seamless cross-channel experiences.

5) Knowledgeable and Available Support Teams

Last but not least in our list of platform must-haves – look for a tool that comes with great support.

Having a dedicated support team is very important to your success with any marketing platform. There will be times when you’re at a loss on how to use the platform or make the most out of it for your strategy. A knowledgeable support team that is just a phone call away will help you address the problem quickly and easily.

Chances are good you’re not a technical expert and are likely juggling a number of responsibilities as part of your day-to-day job responsibilities. So adding technical and platform experts to your resume probably isn’t likely to happen.

And that’s ok.

You shouldn’t be required to be an expert in all areas and take on this new platform independently.

It’s important that when you’re narrowing down your options, you ask questions about what support comes with the platform. This support should extend beyond the initial migration to the platform and set-up.

Look for a marketing platform that can partner and help your marketing team make the most out of the investment. Choosing to work with a company that doesn’t support you after the initial platform launch will leave you lost, confused, and wasting money on the platform.

You’ll also want to understand the level of expertise of the support teams. If you’re leaning on them for support, you’ll want to ensure that they can answer your questions and provide you with the information you need.

8 Cross-Channel Marketing Platforms

Alright, now that you know what cross-channel marketing is all about and the must-have items you should be looking for in a new platform – it’s time to start putting all that knowledge to work.

In this section, we’ll provide you with a starting point for your research on some of the best platforms available. Each platform has its unique services, but all of them will allow you to centralize your marketing efforts and drive cross-channel experiences.

1) Listrak

If you’re looking for a cross-channel marketing platform that allows you to do everything you need from one platform – you’ll want to consider the Listrak platform. This tool will enable you to manage all of your channels, create customized journeys, and build unified customer profiles through data collection.

Image courtesy of Listrak

The Listrak platform makes it easy to connect with your customers across various platforms when it’s most relevant. With the insights you’ll gain from real-time customer data and the expert team’s support at Listrak, this tool is all you’ll need to manage your cross-channel marketing strategy.

Platform highlights:

  • Manage all of your marketing channels in one central location and use real-time customer data to drive interactions across all of them
  • Build customer journeys that integrate data from anywhere and reach the actions and behaviors of your customers
  • Gain access to AI recommendations, predictive recommendations, and machine learning capabilities to improve targeting and data understanding
  • Continue to grow your subscriber list with their Growth Xcelerator Platform to attract new audiences and increase conversions.

Here’s what their customers are saying:

The growth of our online business has been off the charts, thanks to Listrak. Their solutions have taken us to the next level very quickly” – Listrak Customer Testimonial

Channels: Email, SMS/MMS messaging, social, push, web, and direct mail

Pricing: The Listrak cross-channel marketing platform has customized pricing based on your business needs. You’ll need to speak with a company representative to learn more.

2) Zoho

Zoho is another all-in-one marketing platform that will allow you to create and manage your cross-channel marketing experiences from one place. From managing all of your marketing channels in one place to using advanced analytics to improve campaigns – this tool has it all.

Image courtesy of Zoho

Know exactly how and when your customers are interacting with your content to identify key touchpoints. This will help you pinpoint where your leads are coming from and allow you to improve your strategy and more effectively reach your audiences.

Platform highlights:

  • Connect all of your channels together with this centralized platform that can connect data and drive action on each
  • Easily build customer journeys that are personalized for each customer with a simple drag-and-drop builder
  • Understand how your customers are interacting with your content and use that to create better experiences that drive conversions
  • Tap into tracking and analytical information to better understand how your campaigns are performing and where you may be able to improve

Here’s what their customers are saying:

“I’ve used many of the products in the market, and now, I can honestly say that Zoho Marketing Automation is absolutely a leader in this space.” – Zoho Customer Testimonial

Channels: Email, SMS, and social media

Pricing: There are two plan options available for the Zoho platform including the Standard plan starting at $23 per month and the Premium plan starting at $46 per month. Prices vary based on the number of subscribers you have and add-ons.

3)  Keap

Keap is a marketing automation platform that is designed to help you connect with your audiences via email and text marketing. It’s a great tool for businesses looking to close the look between marketing and sales to ensure no opportunity is missed.

Image courtesy of Keap.

Keap makes it simple to get to know who your customers are and make informed marketing decisions to drive them towards converting. This platform will allow you to simplify your marketing efforts and bridge the gap between marketing and sales.

Platform highlights:

  • Keep all of your customer data in one place and use it to improve segmentation and create targeted campaigns
  • Automate the customer journey and move customers through the sales funnel based on their real-time interactions
  • Attract new customers and capture leads to continue growing your subscriber list
  • Know exactly how your campaigns are working and make informed decision with data and analytical insights from one dashboard

 Here’s what their customers are saying:

“Automation allows you to have a full lifecycle that is literally always on, always checking up, always making sure that nothing falls through the cracks.” – Keap Customer Testimonial

Channels: Email and SMS

Pricing: There are three plan options available for the Keap platform including the Lite plan starting at $40 per month, the Pro plan starting at $85 per month, and the Max plan starting at $100 per month. Prices vary based on the number of subscribers you have.

4) Maropost

The Maropost platform provides you with the tools you need to connect with your audiences across multiple channels while connecting your ecommerce efforts to sell more products. This platform will make it simple for you to create cross-channel experiences with it’s wide product range.

Image courtesy of Maropost.

With the Maropost platform, you’ll have everything you need to create highly effective cross-channel marketing experiences. Check campaign performance and know how your customers are interacting with your content from one centralized dashboard.

Platform highlights:

  • Easily create and manage cross-channel marketing campaigns that drive conversions all within the platform
  • Build complex customer journeys that include things like triggered emails, coupon codes, mobile notifications, and more
  • Make data-driven marketing decisions to improve campaign success and connect with your audiences based on real-time data insights
  • There is a support team available to help you with any questions or concerns you may have

Here’s what their customers are saying:

“Maropost’s staff is extremely knowledgeable about the platform and consistently provides excellent customer service.” – Maropost Customer Testimonial

Channels: Email, mobile, social, web

Pricing: There are three plan options available for the Maropost platform including the Essential plan, the Professional plan, and the Enterprise plan. You’ll need to speak with a company representative to learn more about exact pricing for each.

5) GetResponse

GetResponse is another great option if you’re looking for a marketing platform that can help you achieve your cross-channel marketing goals.

Image courtesy of GetResponse

The GetResponse platform will allow you to reach your customers across various channels and collect data along the way. These insights will allow you to continue creating relevant content that is more likely to engage your customers based on where they’re at in the purchasing journey.

Platform highlights:

  • Collect customer data and insights to improve segmentation, targeting, and the relevancy of the content you’re sending
  • Create individual contact profiles to better understand your customers on a personal level
  • Automate your campaigns to save time and resources with pre-built workflows that move people through their purchasing journey
  • Identify new customers to continue growing your subscriber list and nurture those new subscribers into loyal fans

Here’s what their customers are saying:

“GetResponse is one of the best email platforms we use in our organization, which fulfills almost all of our email marketing needs. It includes all the features to target our subscribers in the best way efficiently. The drag-and-drop editor is one of the best in all the competitive products, which helps to create all of our email templates beautifully easily.” – GetResponse Customer Testimonial

Channels: Email, paid ads, web push notifications, landing pages

Pricing: There are four plan options available for the GetResponse platform, including the Free plan, the Basic plan starting at $12.3 per month, the Plus plan starting at $40.18 per month, and the Professional plan starting at $81.18 per month. Pricing does vary based on the number of contacts you have.

6) SharpSpring

SharpSpring is an all-in-one revenue growth platform that provides you with the tools you need to connect with your audiences across multiple channels. This is an excellent option for businesses looking to connect marketing and sales with one centralized platform.

Image courtesy of SharpSpring

Building custom workflows allow you to connect with your audiences and react to their real-time actions and behaviors. Whether it’s a welcome campaign, nurturing campaign, or something else – you can connect with your audiences at the right moment with the right message.

Platform highlights:

  • Easily build automation workflows that react to customer interaction and lead them through the nurturing and purchasing journey
  • Collect customer data and create rich personas, segments, and dynamic lists that make personalization simple
  • Create dynamic landings pages that allow you to drive more conversions and attract new leads
  • Automate your marketing efforts to save time and ensure that your customers are staying engaged with your brand

Here’s what their customers are saying:

“SharpSpring has grown in a lot of different directions, and it’s a much more powerful tool to this day. I think it’s one of the best on the market, and it’s one of the most cost-effective as well.“ – SharpSpring Customer Testimonial

Channels: Email, social media, landing pages, chatbots

Pricing: There are three plan options available for the SharpSpring platform including the Small Business plan costing $399 per month, the Enterprise plan, and the Agency plan which are both customized based on business needs. You’ll need to speak with a company representative to learn more.

7) Sendinblue

Sendinblue is a marketing automation platform that is designed for growing business and will help you reach your customers across various channels. This platform has everything you need to make an impact and reach your customers at the most opportune moments.

Image courtesy of Sendinblue

The Sendinblue platform makes it easy for you to get to know your customers on a personal level and communicate with them at scale. From creating customized workflows to sending emails to individuals based on their interactions, you can do it all with the Sendinblue platform.

Platform highlights:

  • Communicate and connect with your customers where they’re most active to increase engagement and drive revenue growth
  • Use customer data and insights to create more personalized experiences that interact based on real-time engagements
  • Automate your marketing efforts to save time and keep your brand top of mind for your audiences
  • Grow your subscriber list and convert new leads with landing pages, signup forms, and Facebook Ads

Here’s what their customers are saying:

“We recommend Sendinblue to all the startups we advise. It adapts perfectly to their needs, even at rapid growth!” – Sendinblue Customer Testimonial

Channels: Email, SMS, chat, inbox

Pricing: There are four plan options available for the Sendinblue platform including the Free plan, the Lite plan starting at $25 per month, the Premium plan starting at $65 per month, and the Enterprise plan with customized pricing. Prices do vary based on the number of emails you send monthly.

8) Braze

Braze is a marketing automation platform that drives customer-centric experiences and can help you manage your cross-channel campaigns and data. You’ll have everything you need to create, manage, and improve your marketing efforts with this platform.

Image courtesy of Braze

Braze allows you to easily create custom journeys for your customers based on their real-time interactions and behaviors. This keeps content fresh and relevant to their needs and encourages them to make a purchase.

Platform highlights:

  • Create responsive, cross-channel experiences that engage your audience on multiple channels based on their personal preferences
  • Collect and manage data from all of your channels, apps, and websites to better understand who your audiences are
  • Send personalized messages to your audiences every time with dynamic segmentation and journey orchestration
  • Track and report on campaign success to better understand how your customers are engaging with your content

Here’s what their customers are saying:

“Braze amplifies the value of our existing technology ecosystem and powers our award-winning campaigns. The company has become a strategic part of our marketing team, and we look forward to our continued partnership as we develop personalization at scale, strengthen our customer relationships, and drive revenue growth.” – Braze Customer Testimonial

Channels: Email, SMS, mobile and web push, in-app and in-browser messaging, content cards

Pricing: The Braze marketing platform has customized pricing based on your business needs. You’ll need to speak with a company representative to learn more.

 Make 2022 the Best Year Yet for Your Cross-channel Marketing Strategy

If implementing or improving your cross-channel marketing is one of your goals for the new year, then you’ve come to the right place. After reading this article, you should feel more prepared as you start to search for the right cross-channel marketing platform for your business needs.

Now that you know what some of the must-have items you should be looking for and a list of platforms to get started with – it’s your turn to take the next step and find the perfect platform partner for your needs.

So what are you waiting for?! Start setting up demos and asking the hard questions. You’ll find the perfect match for your needs in no time.

The post How to Choose the Right Cross-Channel Marketing Platform in 2022 first appeared on Mind My Business.

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