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Are Marketers Missing Multichannel Opportunities?

Brands and agencies focus on digital basics, neglect multiscreen experiences

According to March 2012 research from marketing solutions provider PulsePoint (formerly Datran Media and CONTEXTWEB), US marketers, agencies and publishers may recognize that a seamless experience across channels is important for consumers, but they are not yet following their targets down that path.

The survey asked these three groups about their current capabilities when it comes to multichannel or cross-channel marketing. PulsePoint defined multichannel marketing as any program that uses at least two channels, while cross-channel marketing refers to more highly coordinated programs that use multiple digital channels. Real-time interactive marketing, the most advanced advertising form queried, “leverages real-time or dynamic interactions to automatically deliver the most relevant messages and content across digital channels and programs.”

Marketers, agencies and publishers were all more likely to say their capabilities and effectiveness were closer to the multichannel marketing side of the spectrum than the real-time interactive side. Agencies were more bullish than the other two groups about their capabilities, likely because for them, digital is both an area of expertise and an important selling point in terms of the services they offer brands.

But even with so much room to improve their cross-channel and real-time efforts, implementing these tactics was not a digital marketing priority for the vast majority of respondents. Instead, they were still experimenting and trying to improve the basics of measuring campaign performance and optimization within channels, rather than across them. Applying cross-channel lessons was a priority for only 13.1% of marketers, and even fewer agencies and publishers, and while attribution across channels and forming a unified customer view were more popular priorities, they still made the list for less than a third of respondents in any group.

Of course, it’s not a matter of one or the other—a strong foundation of measurement and channel optimization will make true cross-channel or real-time interactive marketing more effective.

“Marketers and agencies have to do both,” said Rose Ann Haran, CMO of PulsePoint, in an interview with eMarketer, referring to the basics as well as the advanced activities around integrated marketing. “We have to deal with tomorrow and today; it can’t be one or the other.”

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Check out today’s other articles, “Paywall Resistance Softens When Content Is Right” and “Digital Is the Place to Reach US Asians.”

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