6 Tips to Choose the Right Cross-Channel Marketing Platform
Cross-channel marketing is a highly effective way to connect with your audiences across various platforms and drive higher engagement rates. It allows you to connect with your customers where they’re most active and use real-time data to create more relevant and personalized experiences.
But to create a successful cross-channel marketing experience at scale, you need to invest in a marketing platform that can help you manage everything from one channel and create automated customer journeys.
To help you determine what you need from a cross-channel marketing platform, we’ll provide you with a number of considerations you’ll want to think about when searching for a new tool.
Once you’re done here, you’ll have a good idea of what questions you should ask, the features you should look for, and have a list of platforms to get you started.
Here’s a quick look at the main topics that are covered below:
- Six things to consider when selecting a cross-channel marketing platform
- Eight cross-channel marketing platforms to consider
Selecting a Cross-Channel Marketing Platform
When it comes time to start shopping around for a new cross-channel marketing platform, there are several things you’ll want to consider.
Before you get too far into your search, the first thing you should do is sit down and determine what your must-haves are, what features are nice to have, and what you don’t need. This will help you go into the process with clear goals in mind and will help to weed out platforms easier.
Once you’ve determined what your list of requirements includes, you’ll be in a good starting place. But, there are still a few other things you’ll want to take into consideration that you may never have thought of.
This section will provide you with a list of things to consider beyond what features the tools can offer you. When selecting a new platform, it’s all-important to consider, from looking for a singular integrated platform to understanding how your data is used and stored.
1. Choose a Singular, Integrated Platform That Can Do It All
To truly accomplish a cross-channel marketing strategy, you need a singular platform that can do it all.
Many of the marketing automation platforms you’ll encounter have one or two focus areas. Whether that’s email, social media, or text marketing – they only provide you with the tools for that specific focus area.
Those channel-specific platforms might be great for managing one part of your marketing strategy, but if you’re trying to bring together various channels, they might fall short of your needs.
You might be broadcasting inconsistent messaging from one platform to the next or may find that the timing of your messages isn’t lining up.
That’s why you should be looking for an integrated platform that can meet all of your marketing needs. A platform that not only allows you to manage and send emails but also integrates text marketing, social media, mobile push, and other digital channels from one central dashboard.
Having a centralized platform to manage your cross-channel marketing needs is vital to creating successful campaigns. It is much easier to integrate all of your channels into one comprehensive experience when you can easily connect them and see an entire campaign view from one place.
This will allow you to create comprehensive cross-channel experiences that you curate from start to finish. You’ll know exactly what messages are going on, to what customer, and when, allowing you to drive customers down the journey you want them to take.
When looking at different cross-channel marketing platforms, look for channels like:
- SMS/MMS marketing
- Mobile push
- Social media
- Browser push
But don’t feel like you’re limited to just digital and mobile channels. There are also ways to build cross-channel marketing experiences with radio and TV if those are part of your marketing stack.
It’s also essential to understand what capabilities the platform has. Some platforms you’ll come across will promote themselves as an integrated cross-channel marketing tool, but that claim may not hold up.
Finding a truly integrated cross-channel marketing platform is one of, if not the most, important things you can do when choosing a tool for your needs. Take time to do your research and ask questions about the platform to identify any red flags early in your search.
2. Take Time to Really Understand the Features Each Platform Offers
Before you start your quest for a new cross-channel marketing platform, you’ll want to identify what features are must-haves for the success of your campaigns.
This list will help you quickly narrow down whether or not a platform will work for your needs. But even if a platform seems to hit everything on your checklist, you’ll still want to proceed with caution.
That’s because not all features are created equal.
One company that promotes predictive analytics might simply be query-based segmentation when you want something that provides you with advanced machine learning tools. While the query-based segmentation will give you some insights, the platform that utilizes machine learning will serve a much better experience.
It can get challenging to know what platforms provide you with the best solution and which are more superficial solutions – especially when they all use similar terms to describe their services.
To understand the features of each platform, you need to go beyond the surface and dig a little deeper. Ask questions about what drives the features you’re interested in and how they can create a better cross-channel marketing experience.
Going the extra mile to understand the features each platform offers will pay off in the long run. You’ll end up with a platform that will improve your customer experience and drive more successful cross-channel marketing campaigns now and into the future.
3. Find a Platform That Provides You with the Support You Need
To help you achieve success, you’ll want to look for a platform provider that can provide you with the support you need.
That support should go beyond the initial setup and migration. You’ll want a partner that can provide you with active support throughout the entire process and one that wants to see you achieve your goals.
Having a solid support system can make all the difference to the success of your cross-channel marketing efforts. It’s essential to understand how your platform partner will be able to help you during the initial set-up, but also what the response and support look like after you’re up and running on your own.
When speaking with different providers, you should ask questions like:
- Do you have dedicated account managers?
- What is the account manager-to-client ratio?
- What is the provider’s client NPS Score?
- What does support look like?
- When a problem arises, do you get to speak to a knowledgeable team member, or are you directed to a help article?
You’ll also want to make sure to know what support is available for any outages or service interruptions. Every minute of downtime will cost you revenue, so you’ll want a partner that can react quickly to any issues that may arise.
Understanding what level of support you will receive from each cross-channel platform provider is vital for companies that don’t have a large enough team to designate a platform expert. It will allow you to do more, address issues quicker, and reach the goals you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s also important to remember that a simple live chat or help center won’t get you very far when problems arise. If these are the platform’s help and support resources, it might be a good idea to keep looking.
4. Understand What the Entire Process Looks Like from Beginning to End
The initial migration to a new marketing platform is important, but it’s also vital to understand the entire process from start to finish.
Almost every platform you look at will provide you with the tools you need to create, send, and analyze your marketing campaigns. But if they don’t have a native send engine, the message deliverability and inbox placement could suffer.
This is one of the common areas that often gets overlooked is the actual sending process when it comes to email and text marketing – and it can make a huge contribution to your campaign success.
With low delivery rates and poor inbox placement, then your messages simply won’t make it to the customers you’re trying to target. If your messages don’t make it in front of those audiences, you’re wasting your time and money on campaigns that will continuously perform poorly.
For email, many companies have great tools and resources for the front-end but use a third-party send engine to get the message to the customer. When a company uses a third-party resource, there is little to no control over the inbox placement and deliverability of the message.
If you’re using text marketing as part of your cross-channel strategy, you’ll also want to pay attention to the sending process. Look for a platform provider that works with a Tier 1 aggregator to ensure you have the highest level of control, reliability, and performance.
To make the most out of your cross-channel marketing experience, you’ll want to make sure to ask questions about how they manage to send across channels. Those with a weak send strategy will likely result in lower deliverability and less support when problems arise.
5. Don’t Fall Victim to Feature Bait
You need a few key features to achieve success in your cross-channel marketing strategy when it comes down to it.
Some of those key features include things like:
- Simple message creation tools like drag and drop editors and predesigned templates
- Messages sending and scheduling tools that help you communicate with customers at scale
- Automated workflows and journey tools to build comprehensive cross-channel experiences
- Analytics and reporting to track and measure the success of your campaigns
Some marketing platforms will boast unique features that may be different from the competition. In many cases, these additional features do not add any additional value to your marketing efforts and may hike up the service price.
If these features will truly help you achieve your goals and take your marketing to the next level, then it’s worth looking into. But proceed with caution and remember that you don’t need the extra flashy features they may be selling you on in most cases.
To help you better understand whether these unique features will or will not benefit you, ask questions about how other customers have used these features and what the impact was on their success. Look for real examples of how other companies have used the features to improve their marketing efforts.
Asking questions like these and looking at real use cases will help you determine whether the feature is an added benefit for your company or just feature bait to get you hooked.
6. Know Where Your Data Is Stored and Where It Is Shared
Data privacy is a hot topic these days, and it’s something you’ll want to understand when looking for a new cross-channel marketing platform.
The rules and regulations on data privacy are actively changing. You need a tool that stays up-to-date and compliant with these ever-changing rules to protect your data and your customer’s data.
Alright – your data won’t be stored in cabinets like this one, but it is important to understand how each platform manages your data. As data privacy rules continue to change, you need to ensure your information is safe and handled properly now and into the future.
To better understand how a provider manages your data, ask them where they store it and if any of your information is shared as part of a co-op or other inter-client exchanges. These things are sometimes listed in the fine print, and companies don’t even realize their data is not as secure as they believe it to be.
As the data privacy environment continues to change, it’s important to choose a marketing platform that is upfront about its data storage and sharing policies.
Top 8 Cross-Channel Marketing Platforms for 2022
Now that you know what to look out for when comparing different cross-channel marketing platforms, it’s time to start doing some research.
There are tons of different services available today that can help you manage your marketing efforts, but as we just discussed, not all are created equal. You should consider several other platforms during your research phase and choose a select few to request more information on.
In this section, we’ll provide you with a list of eight cross-channel marketing platforms to help get you started on your research. Each of these tools has its pros and cons, but we’ll provide you with a few highlights you’ll want to know about each.
Ultimately, choosing the right platform for your business comes down to the needs of your business and what you want to accomplish with your cross-channel marketing strategy.
Listrak is an industry-leading cross-channel marketing platform that will provide you with everything you need to create highly successful campaigns across all of your digital channels. It comes with a dedicated and knowledgeable support team to help you reach your goals from start to finish.
Listrak makes connecting with our customers across various channels simple. You’ll have everything you need to drive successful campaigns and manage customer insights in one, reliable location.
With Listrak, you’ll have everything you need to manage each channel and take your marketing to the next level with advanced technology like machine learning and artificial intelligence to understand your customers better.
- A customer journey hub where you can build customized cross-channel experiences that move your audiences through their purchasing journey
- Email automation capabilities that allow you to inject personalization, send behavioral-based triggered messages, share predictive product recommendations, and more
- Text marketing tools that ensure your messages make it to your customers and allow you to connect with your audiences on their most-used device
- Advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence tools that allow you to integrate customizable merchandising decisions and share data-driven personalized product recommendations
Channels: Email, SMS/MMS, social media, push, web, direct mail
Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that will provide you with the tools you need to build unified customer experiences. It provides you with everything you need to create, manage, analyze, and optimize your customer interactions from each stage of the customer journey.
Building cross-channel marketing experiences is made simple with the Iterable platform. With this tool, you’ll have all the tools you need to create, send, analyze, and optimize your campaigns.
This platform was built to integrate all of the marketing channels you’re using into one centralized platform to build cohesive cross-channel campaigns.
- Use real-time customer data and insights such as demographics and behaviors to create personalized experiences through triggered messaging
- Create cross-channel marketing campaigns to reach audiences where they are in the purchasing journey, from welcome to retention campaigns and everything in between
- Personalize each message with segmentation and artificial intelligence-powered copy optimization
- Build a seamless experience from one mobile experience to the next with deep links that send customers to the right place with one click
Channels: Email, mobile push, SMS, in-app notifications, web push, social
3. Oracle Marketing
Oracle Marketing is a comprehensive, integrated marketing solution that can help you create and manage your cross-channel marketing campaigns. This platform simplifies the process by bringing all of your customer data together into a single view.
With the Oracle Marketing platform, you’ll have the tools you need to create cross-channel experiences and dive into the metrics on what performed well and what didn’t. These insights will help you improve and build better campaigns based on real customer and campaign data.
The Oracle Marketing platform has customized solutions for various business types, including B2C and B2B, to ensure your platform has the tools you need to succeed.
- Unified customer data that allows you to connect things like behaviors, transactions, and demographics across the entire user experience to build personalized messages
- Improve the cross-channel experience by recognizing your customers across all of their interactions to engage with them in a more consistent, personalized manner
- Increase customer loyalty and retention by developing campaigns based on each individuals shopping behaviors and preferences
- Predict customer needs and provide them with the right content, at the right time, on the right channel
Channels: Email, SMS, mobile, push, web push, social
SharpSpring is an all-in-one revenue growth platform that can help you achieve a cross-channel marketing experience through automation and data collection. Having the ability to easily connect with users across various channels and build journey-specific workflows will help you reach the right person at the right time.
Easily track and manage campaign metrics. This will help you identify areas of opportunity and improvement for future campaigns and provide you with even more customer data to improve your personalization efforts.
SharpSpring is a tool that will help you connect with your audiences more effectively and connect leads with your sales team and complete the entire purchasing process from one central tool.
- Create automated email marketing campaigns that start conversations with your audiences and respond to user behaviors and interactions
- Increase the number of leads coming into your pipeline with dynamic forms and start gathering more customer data to create even better experiences
- Quickly build visual workflows that automate your marketing efforts and connect with leads across various touchpoints in their buying journey
- Designate buyer personas for different products and services to automatically respond to their needs with targeted messages based on their persona details
Channels: Email, ads, social media
Cordial is a cross-channel marketing platform that provides you with the tools to collect customer data and build comprehensive customer experiences from one centralized platform.
The Cordial platform gives you all the tools you need to create data-driven cross-channel marketing campaigns. With the right insights, each interaction with your customer can be another chance to lead them towards completing a purchase.
With a robust data platform like Cordial, you can easily create personalized cross-channel experiences that connect with your audiences at the right time, on the right channel.
- Use real-time customer data to create personalized, relevant experiences that drive higher engagement and improve campaign success
- Collect data points such as events, behaviors, products, and purchases across all of your systems and channels to understand better who your customers are and apply that to your campaigns
- Build cross-channel experiences from one central platform to connect with your customers where they’re most active
- Tracking and analytic data to understand how your campaigns are performing and find opportunities for future improvements
Channels: Email, SMS/MMS, mobile app, in-app
Autopilot is an automation platform that brings your customer data and marketing channels together to create a full cross-channel marketing experience. Autopilot has you covered with the tools you need to connect with your audiences where they’re already active and integrate eCommerce technology.
The better you understand who your customer is, the better you can market to their needs. With a marketing tool like Autopilot, you can collect all the right data points and put them to work for your needs.
There are customized solutions for businesses focused on eCommerce, SaaS, and B2B to help you make the most out of your marketing efforts.
- Collect customer data across various channels and put that data to work by creating comprehensive cross-channel experiences
- Send highly personalized messages to the right customer, at the right time, on the right channel with cross-channel journeys
- Automate each touchpoint in the customer journey from welcoming new subscribers to recovering abandoned carts and everything in between
- Learn from campaign reporting and analytics to take immediate action and improve for future campaigns
Channels: Email and SMS
Omnisend is a marketing automation platform that will allow you to create cross-channel marketing experiences between your email, SMS, and web push channels. With the right tools, you can know when to connect with each customer individually to create more effective marketing messages.
Easily create cross-channel marketing experiences that engage with customers based on their real-time actions and behaviors. These types of campaigns will get your message in front of your audiences and increase the success of your campaigns.
By simplifying the campaign-building process and using customer data to drive successful campaigns, Omnisend can help you achieve your cross-channel goals.
- Use pre-built workflows that allow you to quickly build comprehensive experiences for your customers, including welcome series, product and cart abandonment campaigns, order confirmations, and more
- Make creating, sending, and managing emails, SMS, and web push notifications simple with a simplified dashboard
- Integrate personalization across all of your marketing channels with product recommendations, dynamic discount codes, and triggered campaigns
- Easily see what campaigns are working and which ones might need adjusting with reporting and analytics insights
Channels: Email, SMS, web push notifications
Zapier is a marketing platform that allows you to connect existing apps to create automated workflows. It’s important to note that this platform would not be a single source of truth, but it’s an option for companies that already have various platforms in place and simply need a tool to connect them all.
Easily connect your social channels to your master list of leads to keep track of new contacts. From there, you can continue to grow insights and connect customer data to develop more personalized experiences.
The Zapier platform makes it simple to connect your existing apps and pass information between them to automate campaigns and begin to create cross-channel experiences.
- Seamlessly connect data from all of your apps to create comprehensive experiences from one channel to the next
- Build workflows that work across apps and react to specific actions and behaviors to keep audiences engaged across channels
- Create automated responses and triggered messages to connect with new leads or react to customer interactions
- Automate customer data sharing between programs to ensure you have the most up-to-date data across the board
Channels: This platform does not manage specific channels within it, but you can connect it with hundreds of platforms and channels you’re already using to build cross-channel experiences.
The first step to creating a successful, comprehensive experience is finding the right tool and partner for your business. Once you’ve narrowed down the options and considered all of the different scenarios – you’ll find the perfect solution for your company’s needs.
Remember that now is the time to do your research and ask questions. Once you’ve decided to move forward with a specific platform, it’s not as simple to go back.