Posted November 12, 2012 11:25 am by with 2 comments

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Cross channel marketing is one of those subjects that is SO easy to throw around in a conversation about marketing but when you get down to the actual execution of the different facets of it things get a little less easy.

A recent study from ExactTarget and Forrester called “The Keys to Successful Cross Channel Marketing” gives us a look into the struggles that marketers encounter in trying to truly execute and measure the success of cross channel marketing efforts.

The study looked at marketers in companies of $100 million plus in revenue and it found that 78% of those surveyed feel cross channel efforts are important or very important to their business. Other major findings include

  • 76 percent of marketers are interested in an integrated messaging platform to manage all customer data and execute across all digital direct channels.
  • 51 percent believe their current marketing technologies fall short due to lack of analytics that provide cross-channel data to improve program performance or predict outcomes.
  • 44 percent power cross-channel campaigns through individual teams focused on individual marketing channels, such as email, mobile, social media and the Web.

These are all very heady concerns and big hurdles to success for sure but one that caught my eye was the area about staffing. Why? Well, of all the problems listed above, if you are not staffed properly the likelihood of those concerns being addressed effectively go WAY down. Here are the results from the question of staffing as it relates to cross channel marketing efforts.

Not having enough staff is a common / universal problem that has been used by marketers and every other business person since the dawn of business. No surprise there. It’s the second area that is the most troubling because it is a much more unique to a ‘new world’ marketing problem and one that has many facets. Lack of in-house technical expertise.

The major area of concern is the simple fact that there are not enough people having these technical skills but, just as important, is the type of person that is most likely to have the technical skill.

The old adage of it being tough to teach and old dog new tricks is troublesome here. While many experienced marketers don’t have these technical skills they shouldn’t be OK with simply saying we’ll hire someone who is more tech savvy (read: usually a lot younger and less expensive to hire) to handle the tech aspects.

Makes sense on a dollars and sense level but from a business point of view this kind of mind set could be disastrous. Why? Because the technical acumen is only one half of the equation and it may arguably be the less important half. What is critical in any situation is the business acumen, experience and skill to apply the findings that analytics and other more technical aspects of marketing uncovers.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that if someone has the technical know-how then they have the business know-how as well. Not to be too blunt here but that is lazy and stupid thinking. What is necessary is finding that rare mix of someone who can take piles of data and analytics and see what the business issues facing a company are and then parsing that data in a way to help solve a problem rather than possibly creating a bigger one.

This is an ongoing issue and one that is likely to only get worse for years to come until there are enough tech savvy younger business people who acquire knowledge that can only come through experience. Until then it could be rough sledding and then when there are more folks who fit that mold, older workers better be ready to re-jigger their careers because if they are not at least tech aware (not necessarily savvy) their work in marketing will be done.

OK so you don’t have the time to get this kind of training you say? You’ll go with an agency. Not a bad idea but not knowing what your agency is doing is not recommended, last time I checked. You still need to have a working knowledge of the technical aspects of marketing in today’s world no matter what option you decide is right for you.

What’s your take on this situation? Are you seeing the same concerns? How are you addressing them?

  • Krista B

    Cross Channel Marketing has been a major issue at our company. Managing multiple campaigns on multiple platforms isn’t simple, no matter how smart you think you are! We found a few tools out there that have helped enormously. Check out, for example, Wishpond. ( They have a super simple dashboard for all your digital marketing.

  • Nice post. An eye opener for veteran less techy marketers, don’t depend on younger technical experts without full business acumen because soon you will be caught by surprise by having no table and chair to work on. Thanks for sharing.