Cross-Device Marketing: How Brands Can Keep Messages Consistent

To keep con­sumers inter­est­ed in your prod­ucts and offers you you have to effec­tive­ly coor­di­nate your mes­sages across dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing chan­nels.

Stephanie Maziol By Stephanie Maziol from Adobe. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Dig­i­tal mar­keters know how impor­tant it is to deliv­er con­sis­tent brand mes­sages across dig­i­tal chan­nels. But sim­ply talk­ing about engag­ing cus­tomers through the­se rapid­ly emerg­ing chan­nels and actu­al­ly deploy­ing an effec­tive cross-device mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy are two entire­ly dif­fer­ent sto­ries.

The dif­fi­cul­ty of deploy­ing a cross-device approach begins with the seem­ing­ly end­less pro­lif­er­a­tion of dig­i­tal devices such as smart­phones, tablets, and lap­tops. Accord­ing to Nielsen, con­sumers in the U.S. spend an aver­age of 60 hours per week con­sum­ing con­tent on the devices that give them the abil­i­ty to access infor­ma­tion about your brand 24/7 from any­where in the world. Cou­ple that with the aver­age Amer­i­can own­ing four dig­i­tal devices, and you’ve got a sce­nar­io where poten­tial cus­tomers may be engag­ing with your brand sev­er­al times a day on sev­er­al dif­fer­ent devices. This mod­ern dynam­ic gives con­sumers the pow­er to engage in both inbound and out­bound mar­ket­ing at their dis­cre­tion, tak­ing the ball out of mar­keters’ hands and plac­ing it in the customer’s court as they search and shop for prod­ucts and ser­vices on their own terms. The rules of engage­ment have changed. If your brand is going to keep con­sumers inter­est­ed in your prod­ucts and offers, then you are going to have to effec­tive­ly coor­di­nate your mes­sages across a num­ber of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing chan­nels. So how can your enter­prise keep mes­sages con­sis­tent for cross-device mar­ket­ing?

Big Data Doesn’t Have to Mean Big Problems

Before a wide vari­ety of afford­able dig­i­tal devices surged onto the mar­ket and into the hands of eager con­sumers, mar­keters kind of had it made. That’s not to say that our jobs were easy, but mar­ket­ing depart­ments def­i­nite­ly had more con­trol over what cus­tomers could learn and find out about their brands through out­bound mar­ket­ing chan­nels. Those were the days when cus­tomers had lim­it­ed access to prod­ucts or brand infor­ma­tion, few price com­par­ison points, and lim­it­ed deliv­ery options. Now that cus­tomers have the abil­i­ty to inter­act with brands in real-time through the dig­i­tal devices of their choice, what was once a one-way street has diverged into two, with many enter­pris­es strug­gling to keep up with the influx of poten­tial­ly valu­able con­sumer data. Such data can help mar­keters engage with con­sumers in more rel­e­vant and incre­men­tal ways—as long as mar­keters are pre­pared to han­dle it. Dig­i­tal devices cre­ate many oppor­tu­ni­ties for mar­keters to engage with cus­tomers, cap­ture infor­ma­tion, and receive feed­back to deliv­er bet­ter offers in the future. But the pro­lif­er­a­tion of dig­i­tal devices means com­pa­nies must be ful­ly equipped and pre­pared for a steady stream of incom­ing con­sumer data around the clock. 

Consistent Messaging Across Diverse Digital Screens

The essence of cross-device mar­ket­ing involves cre­at­ing con­tent to meet the needs of every dig­i­tal chan­nel. Although con­tent should be repur­posed when applic­a­ble, focus­ing on unique ways to deliv­er the same over­all mes­sage on dif­fer­ent dig­i­tal screens means inte­grat­ing your mes­sage into con­tent designed for the speci­fic dig­i­tal device you are tar­get­ing. For exam­ple, if you’re cre­at­ing an email tar­get­ing desk­top users, you’ve got more lee­way to work with images and text than you would on a mobile device. Large images that look great on a desk­top or lap­top may ren­der a mess on mobile, and small dig­i­tal screens on smart­phones mean every line counts, leav­ing lit­tle room for fluff. Fur­ther mes­sage refine­ment might be nec­es­sary when engag­ing con­sumers through a social net­work, and even more so when send­ing push noti­fi­ca­tions. You have the abil­i­ty to get cre­ative here, as long as the over­all mes­sage remains con­sis­tent across dig­i­tal chan­nels. Anoth­er con­sid­er­a­tion when approach­ing con­nect­ed screens is mes­sage con­text. Ask your­self ques­tions like, “Who is my audi­ence?” and “What is the con­text of that audi­ence?” Push noti­fi­ca­tions should be straight to the point for audi­ences on the go, where­as land­ing pages may provide in-depth infor­ma­tion for con­sumers sit­ting still. Always con­sid­er dif­fer­ent screen sizes of cross-device chan­nels while keep­ing your mes­sage in the right con­text.

Start With What You Know

As if engag­ing con­sumers on smart­phones and tablets wasn’t enough to keep your mar­ket­ing depart­ment busy, the steady wave of dig­i­tal devices isn’t expect­ed to let up, well, ever. Accord­ing to ana­lysts at Gart­ner, an esti­mat­ed 25 bil­lion devices will be con­nect­ed to the Inter­net by 2020. That’s 25 bil­lion poten­tial touch points for mar­keters to engage con­sumers on. Talk about hav­ing your work cut out for you. But hav­ing access to bil­lions of dig­i­tal devices doesn’t mean you should attempt to con­nect with cus­tomers on every sin­gle one. When it comes to decid­ing which chan­nels to focus your dig­i­tal-mar­ket­ing efforts on, go where your audi­ence will find you. If your audi­ence doesn’t use Face­book or Twit­ter, then don’t invest time in those chan­nels. Your pri­ma­ry focus should be on start­ing with what you know before expand­ing your efforts to deter­mine where your audi­ence is most recep­tive. Nev­er invest time where you don’t have a recep­tive audi­ence.

Create Consistent Cross-Device Messages That Truly Connect

The con­cept of con­nect­ed screens and cross-device mar­ket­ing doesn’t mean tak­ing a sin­gle, speci­fic mes­sage and dupli­cat­ing it across as many dig­i­tal devices as pos­si­ble. Rather, cross-device mar­ket­ing is about tak­ing your over­all mes­sage and keep­ing it con­sis­tent by fol­low­ing the cus­tomer jour­ney incre­men­tal­ly across dif­fer­ent devices. This means cre­at­ing an incre­men­tal inter­ac­tion based on pre­vi­ous inter­ac­tions on one chan­nel that will influ­ence the next. Take a pop­u­lar hotel deliv­er­ing mes­sages across dig­i­tal chan­nels to enhance the cus­tomer jour­ney. Per­haps they’ll cre­ate emails to remind future guests about their hotel reser­va­tions, or deliv­er suc­cinct reser­va­tion con­fir­ma­tions through push noti­fi­ca­tions. This hotel may even con­sid­er push­ing SMS to make hotel check-ins a breeze, while wrap­ping things up with social media engage­ment, allow­ing cus­tomers to express their sat­is­fac­tion with their recent expe­ri­ences. All of the­se mes­sages may vary in appear­ance and length, but they share a key take­away: keep­ing mes­sages con­sis­tent isn’t about hav­ing the exact same mes­sage across every sin­gle chan­nel. Work to improve the way your com­pa­ny process­es data, con­sid­er the most effec­tive dig­i­tal devices and chan­nels to engage con­sumers on, and start with what you know.

Stephanie Maziol

Written by Stephanie Maziol

Senior Product Marketing Manage, Adobe

Stephanie Maziol is responsible for product marketing and go-to-market strategy for Adobe Campaign. She is an expert at deriving superior customer experience from cross-channel marketing. Stephanie has experience at startup, mid-size, and Fortune 500 companies, including Oracle where she led product marketing activities for governance, risk, and compliance applications.

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