We live in a connected device world. No one is ever doing one thing at a time.
The focus level of consumers is becoming more and more frantic, and the way that they interact with brands has evolved significantly. That’s where cross-channel marketing comes in. There are lots of names for it, including omnichannel, but whatever you call it, it’s incredibly important in today’s world.
We recently interviewed Chris Slovak, VP of Global Solutions Consulting at Tealium, who laid out cross-channel trends, Do’s, and Don’ts.
Here’s an overview of that interview.
Consumers don’t think about their actions in terms of “omni-channel.” They just think about brand experiences.
Consumers now have the expectation of having an experience on a desktop, mobile, tablets, and phones. All those things should be connected.
When you look at the industry, the concept is evolving.
“The experience is almost greater than the product itself,” Chris told us.
His theory manifests itself in Uber, Airbnb, and Dollar Shave Club. Uber is just a livery service; those have been around forever, but they brought a better experience. Same with Airbnb. And all Dollar Shave Club did was get razors to your doorstep.
The emphasis on “experience” in many industries is the biggest trend at the moment.
Companies need to be set up to capture data coming across all different platforms. How should they go about doing that?
Collection is the key here.
There are thousands of technologies that can provide experiences, but there aren’t a whole lot that focus on data collection across all devices. In order to create a seamless cross-channel experience, you need to have data about a user. The key is providing an in-the-moment experience, and to do that, you need the data available in real-time.
There are a number of ways to capture this data, including using Tealium. But as far as why you should do it, you want to be at the point of data curation when the experience happens, and collecting everything you possibly can collect . . . that’s the starting point.
“Today, that’s probably the piece lacking,” Chris said. “Companies collect a piece of the puzzle, but if you’re not getting all of it, you’re going to miss out on those signals that are most important.”
Before we talk about metrics, we need to cover the relevant data points.
This discussion always leads to the idea of “user matching.” There’s a lot thrown out there: there’s “deterministic matching,” “probabilistic matching,” putting people in “cookie pools,” or using second-party vendors to do matching. All of those, though, require what Chris calls “ID harvesting.”
There are little breadcrumbs that people leave as they’re doing things. For example, let’s say I’m on an email on my desktop and I click a link. Even in that circumstance, something like a “subscriber ID” can pass with me onto the website.
On the mobile front, there are also IDs. There are IDFAs, which are Apple’s IDs For Advertisers. Most of the apps themselves nowadays will create some sort of app identifier.
One thing people don’t normally recognize, probably because of their nature, is that mobile devices are incredibly personal. If you ask someone to unlock their phone and hand it to the person to their right, they will probably be uncomfortable. So when you get an ID from a phone, you can with a high level of confidence know that that’s the same user every time.
In all the places that someone’s having an experience with you, they’re leaving pieces of who they are behind. Collecting those IDs and using them to identify how many users are overlapping is probably the first big metric.
The second is attribution, which is not so much a metric as a journey. We all know attribution: I put $500 into a particular campaign and made $1,000, so I should invest more. But to understand where somebody is in their journey versus trying to understand what path they took to purchase . . . that’s flipping the whole thing on its head.
What Chris thinks you should do is focus on identifying who a user is, doing your best to identify what they’ve done up to that point and making that data available so the next interaction you provide to them is the best in-the-moment scenario possible.
We asked Chris that question, and here’s what he said:
“You’d better hustle. Disruption’s around the corner. No one thought the taxi industry would change the way it did, or that hotels would have to worry about price points.
The next big thing is around the corner for your industry. You never know when it’s going to happen.”
Having the right data on hand creates powerful opportunities to disrupt a slow-to-move industry.
We like to ask all of our guests on the Appy Hour podcast this question: Where do you think the future of mobile is headed?
Here was Chris’s answer:
“I think you’ve got a couple of things going on. One is, the entry point is lower than it’s ever been. Infrastructures and service providers like Amazon and Google have made building apps that can scale relatively easy. It’s all on demand, so you come up with an idea and you can deploy it and pay as you go. That dynamic is what’s leading to a lot of disruption.
That’s coupled with something that I think is a larger change. The mobile phone represents, in my opinion, a sort of sea change of user behavior digitally. For a long, long time, we would go to Google and search for something. We looked to an authority to tell us what content was good or bad. Now, with mobile devices in our pockets and the proliferation of apps, it’s turned into a “tell-me” attitude. I don’t have to go out and search so much anymore, because I have it given to me and pushed to me. Think about news apps: when was the last time you went to search for your news?
“I think it’s a good thing, but it’s also scary in that we live in our own little bubbles that we curate for ourselves. Mobile’s there, but it’s going to pull the rest of the digital ecosystem with it in this concept of users wanting experiences curated and delivered to them . . . and personal. That’s going to be a fun thing for us to navigate.”
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