Dealing with Channel Jumpers

Does your company have a customer journey map? These tools have become popular over the last few years as organizations attempt to address customer’s needs as they maneuver through the buying process. Journey maps are good for identifying gaps in your content strategy where a piece of follow-up mail, an email, or some mid-funnel informative content will nurture leads more effectively, so mapping is worth the effort. Believing you have the power to lead customers sequentially through the steps outlined in your journey map though, is misleading.

Controlling customer journeys from awareness to purchase is nearly impossible. Customers use different devices and channels, and every path may be different. Improving customer experiences requires near real-time analytics that trigger responses to customer actions occurring in any channel. You need an omni-channel approach.

When companies adopt omni-channel communications strategies, all channels support the others. Companies may receive customer input via the web, mobile, social, chat, or on the phone for instance. What happens next should incorporate information from the most recent customer interaction along with data previously collected—regardless of the channel in which the next customer interaction takes place.

This is not an easy task. Most companies must overcome well-established internal barriers between business units and communication channels before they can fully implement omni-channel strategies.  As organizations integrate customer communications, they often concentrate on connecting only digital channels. Neglecting printed communications can be a mistake.

Print is still a channel, and an important one. Integrated with other communication avenues such as web, mobile, or SMS companies can print items that cut through the clutter and the filters typical of most digital channels. Print impacts customers with precisely timed coupons, offers, catalogs, or in-depth content. Marketers can experience superior results, particularly when print is paired with supportive messaging in other mediums.

Fulfillment strategies are super powerful ways to advance customers in their individual journeys. Examples of items fulfilled in response to digital actions might include product samples, flash drives loaded with digital content, binders full of investment worksheets, gift cards, or branded merchandise. Customers open this kind of mail almost 100% of the time. Marketers can even track shipments through the postal service, sending reminders via email or text messages timed to coincide with item deliveries.

Planning and coordination are the keys to successful omni-channel customer communications. Channel jumpers are not a problem when businesses anticipate the behavior and set up systems for seamless communication across all environments. Digital printing technologies allow marketers to respond to evolving customer preferences with high-impact personalized material. Print should be an integral component of your omni-channel strategy.

If you are unsure how to integrate print with your digital communication plans, contact us here at EarthColor for advice and ideas.

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