Remote Control: A New Perspective on “Channel Surfing”

“Cross-Channel Marketing” is the hot industry term right now, but I wouldn’t dare call it a trend – it’s our new reality. Both as a marketer and as a consumer, I am acutely aware that I am being targeted by hundreds of organizations everywhere I turn on a daily basis. And while I live and breathe online, interactive marketing, it’s important to remind myself that cross-channel doesn’t just mean “every device with a screen,” it means “every vehicle that can convey a message and everything that catches my eye.”

While it’s easy to discount “traditional media” in a world migrating toward “new media” (see: online, mobile, social, gaming, etc.), direct mail and telemarketing still play a significant role in fundraising for non-profit organizations. Not to mention TV, radio and print ads, and even out-of-home advertising on bus shelters and billboards. What has changed is the method of response, with calls to action pointing to .com’s and Facebook to take action, learn more or make a donation.

The explosion of the number of channels doesn’t mean having to choose one off of a menu and worrying if you made the right choice. Rather, it means thinking holistically about how to develop your message to work across multiple channels, playing off one another and supporting one another. It has been shown that SEM and display advertising have a 1+1=3 effect on conversion – enhanced performance in each channel by leveraging a campaign across both.

While “cross-channel” marketing is the hot term now, “attribution” will be the next hurdle. Sure, a user made a donation after receiving an email, but did they first see an ad on TV which reminded them to open the letter they got in the mail which inspired them to check the website to learn more before going back to the email they got a week prior? Maybe. But they also could have been really touched by the email. Analytics dashboards of marketing touch points will be a fundraiser’s best friend if it isn’t yours already.

Are you doing cross-channel marketing? How has attribution helped shape your future programs?


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