Multichannel Marketing – 2 years later: Digital is at a crossroads now (part 1/3)

In the two years since publishing the Multichannel Metrics book, the face of marketing has changed drastically.

We are entering a critical crossroads in 2010.

By 2013, will we look back and find that this was the year when marketers from online and other marketing teams first realized how similar their goals have become and took steps towards integration across camps?

Or will we look back and find that the camps remained ignorant of each other and instead set in stone silo’d technologies making integration more difficult than ever? 


What do you mean, web and direct marketers’ goals are aligned now?

Marketers have had no choice.

Greatness has been thrust upon them!

Direct marketers

  1. Have seen marketing dollars beginning to shift from offline to online
  2. Finally see clearly that a large portion of interactions with their customers has moved online. For example, according to anecdotal feedback from several older European banks, 25% to 50% of their clients use online banking now. Some financial institutes acquire the majority, if not all, customers online.

Online marketers

  1. Have had to abandon their silo’d, website-centric thinking because their websites are now only one component of their total web presence. Other presences include social media, mobile sites, behaviorally targeted ads and personalized emails.
  2. They may continue to treat the offline as a step child for another couple years. Yet, they are already adopting multi-online-channel marketing practices for the purpose of integrating all these web presences.
  3. The latter has required them to move from their traditional focus on aggregate level metrics and dashboards to looking at data about individuals across website, mobile, social, and advertising. This experience with individual level data will also make it easier for them to integrate their customers’ offline interactions down the road.

As a result, both online and direct marketers are now pursuing multi-channel data integration at the level of individual prospects and customers. Both camps do this for the purposes of

  1. behavioral targeting,
  2. better understanding of marketing ROI.


The technology gap is closing

While all vendors talked the talk for 360 degree views, the reality was different. Web analytics data was far removed from a direct marketers’ access.

  • After all, the data are owned by the web team who couldn’t care less about individual level data at that time.
  • The data are also hosted remotely at SaaS based web analytics vendors that prioritized reporting and good looking charts over granular data. As a result, data feeds (while available) would come with no SLAs. A feed might or might not arrive at the agreed time of night. That made it too unreliable for driving interactive (let alone real time) marketing programs.

Meanwhile, web marketers could integrate analytics based targeting into email marketing only by bridging the gap between several vendors and paying for integration services.

These technology gaps are now increasingly closing.

  • Omniture is positioning its online marketing suite along with integrations with ESP partners through its Genesis program.
  • Unica is positioning both
    • Its eMessage and Interact products for email and web personalization integrated with Unica’s web analytics and campaign management products for enterprise clients
    • Its recently launched Interactive Marketing OnDemand product where SaaS based customers use web analytics, email, and web personalization within a single application and UI.


The crossroads

This alignment of methods, goals, and technology represents our arrival at a crossroads.

(note added on March 12th): Maybe the word alignment is too much said.  But methods, goals, and technology are now more parallel and similar than ever.

But will we leave these crossroads into an integrated future or will we set in stone two silo’d multichannel worlds between online and direct marketing teams?

That is the big question.

In part 2 we will look at direct marketers vs. digital. Then in part 3 we will review where multichannel web marketing stands in 2010.

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