Integrating online and offline channels is where the cross-channel marketing efforts of many companies tend to stall. 

Whether it’s a reluctance to place customers over channels, or a refusal to merge disparate marketing teams into a single, unified force, many enterprises are separating online and offline marketing programs at a time when they should be bringing these programs together.

A true cross-channel marketing campaign — where online and offline marketing channels work together — means prioritizing the single, accessible view of the customer. Once your brand has developed a comprehensive view of your customers’ needs, you can begin addressing those needs by using online and offline touchpoints to enhance the customer experience. 

Here are four ways to help your brand accomplish this: 

Use Mobile Devices to Involve Offline Customers

For example, remember when offline channels — such as video displays, posters and programs — were the only options for marketing messages at a sporting event?

Today, brands can enhance offline messages by promoting engagement through online channels — for instance, encouraging sports fans to respond to trivia questions displayed on a scoreboard by submitting answers via their mobile devices. 

Retailers can take the same approach by creating mobile apps that offer coupons and discounts to use with in-store experiences, increasing in-store and offline customer loyalty by utilizing online channels. Once a customer opts-in and engages, this activity becomes a part of their profile. 

Personalize Offline Content Based on Online Behavior

Tailoring and personalizing offline content based on what your customers are doing online is a prime example of cross-channel marketing integration. 

For example, some travel companies personalize vacation-package planners based on what a particular traveler is researching online. This allows brands to leverage online data to deliver personalized content that can be placed directly in the hands of their customers.

Learning Opportunities

Don’t Discount Direct Mail

Online channels may be more fun to talk about, but that doesn’t mean we should leave direct mail out of the conversation. 

Couple the response rate of direct mail with the power of the single customer view (which requires incorporating data gathered from online channels, too), and you have a recipe for online/offline marketing success. In fact, according to the DMA 2015 Response Rate Report, direct mail remains one of the most heavily used marketing channels, along with email marketing and social media. 

Monitor Online and Offline Integration

Brands can further ensure online and offline channels are connected by using direct attribution to determine how marketing channels complement one another. For example, some brands may ask for catalog codes before completing online orders to determine whether a sales catalog had any effect on final purchasing decisions. 

By monitoring which offline channels are influencing online purchases, marketers can direct future campaign efforts toward the preferred marketing channels of their customers.

View Online and Offline As One

True cross-channel marketing is more than just a talking point. It means developing a single view of the customer while deploying an overall campaign strategy capable of using online and offline channels to enhance the customer experience. 

It’s time to stop treating online and offline marketing channels as two separate entities and start integrating these valuable touch points. The result will be increased engagement, that drives conversions, loyalty and brand advocacy.