While it can be overwhelming to devise and execute a cross-channel marketing strategy that will effectively engage customers and convert their activity into profits, here are three key requirements that will help you to produce a successful campaign.

It has become the norm for companies to conduct an increasing amount of their core business online -– from marketing and sales to e-commerce and customer support. The connected nature of the digital experience provides businesses with a unique opportunity to enhance their overall marketing efforts by leveraging the increasing amount of customer data that is available both online and in company databases. In particular, this data opens the door to cross-channel marketing, which ties together a company’s business efforts across multiple channels (email, web, mobile, phone, etc.) to produce more efficient and effective marketing campaigns.

True cross-channel marketing goes beyond merely re-purposing the same content for different platforms, channels and devices. Rather than treating each channel as its own independent silo, you must be able to leverage customer information such as profile data and transaction history from all of your applications and data sources to provide a highly optimized customer experience across every channel.

This approach is more like an active discussion than a monologue. To be effective, you have to “listen” to your customer, learn from their experiences and dynamically adapt your marketing strategy to incorporate past behavior and respond to changes in context. This requires a deep understanding of who your customer is and how their experience evolves as they move from one channel to another at different stages in the sales and marketing lifecycle.

The online experience is more diverse and complicated today than ever before. Audiences are more fragmented, less loyal and increasingly overwhelmed and impatient. Attracting a customer’s attention and developing a one-to-one relationship with them that evolves over time is a holy grail for marketers, but it’s getting harder and harder to achieve.

3 Key Requirements for Success

While most companies now understand the need for an integrated cross-channel marketing approach, many fail to grasp the complexity and technical challenges involved when implementing such a strategy.

Here are three key requirements that will help your company address these challenges and lay the foundation for successful cross-channel marketing campaigns:

1. Interoperability for true contextualization

Interoperability is one of the most popular buzz words today, but it is absolutely essential to building a cross-channel marketing experience. Cross-channel marketing requires you to deliver a consistent, context-based experience to your customer, and the only way to do this is to have access to all customer data across your organization’s content ecosystem, whether it is social media check-ins or buying history. You can only do this with a web content management system that is built on a flexible architecture that can harmonize your content ecosystem around your business rules and integrate content dynamically at run-time.

2. Empowered business users

Having the right people in place to create and drive campaigns is another essential requirement for effective cross-channel marketing. Marketers and other business users need to be empowered to create, manage and modify their customers’ online experiences in real time. It is these business users who are best positioned to anticipate customer preferences and intents and create engaging customer experiences across all touchpoints. Providing marketers with access to the content ecosystem and giving them the tools they need to create, test and preview relevant Web experiences based on an ever-evolving set of business rules will get your company one step closer to implementing a true cross-channel marketing campaign.

3. Scalable infrastructure

The rate of change online is getting faster every day. The iPad went from new technology to ubiquitous platform in less than 18 months, and new platforms, devices, applications and services are being introduced at a dizzying pace. As a result, the solution that you build today –- no matter how many features it supports out of the box –- may not be suitable for tomorrow’s online ecosystem. Be sure that the solution you ultimately choose is based on an easy to extend CRM system that incorporates open technologies and APIs that are actively maintained and supported. This is the only way to avoid vendor lock-in to a dead-end system.

Final Thoughts

Making these three capabilities key requirements when building your marketing technology stable will position your company to deliver a genuine cross-channel marketing experience with less risk, lower cost and true performance. In the end, an engaged customer is a happy (and profitable) customer.

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