Managing campaign execution across multiple technologies is the top challenge for marketers, according to a study released Oct. 31 by email marketing company ExactTarget Inc.
The study, “The Key to Successful Cross-channel Marketing,” was based on an online survey of 211 U.S. marketers conducted in October by Forrester Consulting for ExactTarget.
According to the survey, the top three challenges marketers face with cross-channel marketing programs are managing campaign execution across multiple marketing technologies (35%); understanding customer interactions across channels (33%); and controlling marketing project budgets that are dependent on IT collaboration (25%).
“Cross-channel marketing requires a new approach to digital marketing—one that is built around the customer, not individual teams within marketing,” said Tim Kopp, CMO at ExactTarget. “Marketers must move quickly to adopt an integrated messaging platform to coordinate and manage the multiple customer interactions and resulting data that now influence nearly every purchase.”
Respondents said they are using a number of different marketing software packages and services to execute campaigns across channels. The most widely used were Web analytics platforms (60%); email marketing service providers (53%); social media management tools (39%); campaign management and automation platforms (32%); and social listening tools (29%).
When asked where their current marketing technologies fall short, the top responses were cross-channel analytics (51%); measurement of key performance indicators (44%); getting a unified customer view (42%); and reporting access and flexibility (38%).
The survey also asked respondents how they are organized to handle marketing across channels. Forty-four percent said they are decentralized, with individual teams handling individual channels; 39% have a centralized team that manages all interactive marketing, regardless of the channel; 14% rely on outside agencies to handle cross-channel marketing; and 3% reported some other structure.
The top organizational challenges cited by marketers when it comes to cross-channel marketing include not having enough staff (49%); not having technical expertise in-house to execute and measure cross-channel efforts (42%); and staff structured in separate groups with no visibility into each other's programs (37%).
The report identifies three lessons learned from advanced cross-channel marketers: Adopt an integrated technology platform; lobby for more technology budget; and organize for collaboration.