The range of engagement channels available to marketers is ever increasing. It’s no longer enough for marketers to rely on a single digital channel to effectively engage with customers. This is especially true as customer preferences and trends become increasingly volatile and complex.

Today, the multitude of data sources available provides a great opportunity for marketers to understand and engage customers on a deeper level, and to optimise advertising performance. Marketers are quickly adapting to this changing landscape. In 2018, it was reported that marketers used an average of 6.2 data sources in their digital advertising, up from the 5.4 average in 2017.

Customers globally are projected to own an average of 6.58 connected devices by 2020. For marketers to execute an effective omnichannel strategy, having the capability to leverage first-party data across web, mobile and smart devices to develop a holistic understanding of each customer—their interests, preferences, purchase history, intent—is crucial.

However, the true value of data can only be fully realised with an intelligent and strategic application to each engagement channel. Marketers need to know how to leverage available data to actually understand individual customers, before defining and executing on performance strategy.

With an intelligent approach to data as every marketer’s starting point, there are a number of ways we’ll see cross-channel data impacting, and optimising, performance channels this year:

1. Consolidating the view of the customer journey

While marketers have a data goldmine readily available, too often this data is collected from multiple sources and channels, while remaining siloed across numerous technology stacks. In an always-on digital era, where customers regularly switch between multiple devices, scattered and fragmented data presents a great obstacle for marketers. This makes it harder to create a true understanding of individual customers.

A customer intelligence platform can aggregate information from disparate sources onto a single platform for marketers to glean insights into customer demographics, preferences and behaviours across devices. A cross-channel view combined with identity resolution capabilities enables marketers to truly understand where each customer is in their unique path to purchase. The customer intelligence platform can then act on those insights in real time, informing when, where and how to engage customers for optimal engagement and performance. 

2. Increased ROI

It’s no secret that a data-driven approach to marketing yields higher ROI. While it may seem obvious, it’s important to acknowledge that the more data available to inform performance strategies, the stronger ROI that can be generated. If marketers are able to deliver informed, truly personalised messages to the right customers, at the right time, on the right channel, companies can ensure they’re creating stronger experiences. This leads to greater brand reputation, stronger affinity, and longer-lasting relationships.

3. More efficient, more informed marketing strategy

Customer insights gathered from cross-channel data is not only of use to a marketer for programmatic advertising. The sheer breadth and depth of data available can also be leveraged to inform marketing strategy from conception to execution.

From audience mapping through to campaign measurement, with a real-time understanding of customer behaviour and preferences, marketers can intelligently align their performance marketing with their overall strategy. This ensures a seamless, omnichannel approach to customer engagement across email, display, social, search and more. This, in turn, this helps cultivate brand-customer relationships and build lifelong customers. Ultimately, this will only become more challenging as more channels and touchpoints emerge, and customer profiles become increasingly complex. Taking this data a step further by leveraging customer intelligence will enable marketers to stay one step ahead of these challenges.

4. Reduced business risk

With a more informed approach to key marketing decisions, marketers also reduce the risk and uncertainty involved in executing strategies for the business and brand. Drawing on historical data, including past purchases and interests, marketers can better predict future customer trends and behaviours. With this insight, marketers can adjust their strategies in accordance with the most resonant and engaging content, including promotions and incentives, for a specific customer segment. Effectively leveraging customer data takes means marketers can take the guesswork out of the performance channel.

Ultimately, with access to customer intelligence – a real-time comprehensive and individualised understanding of each customer – marketers can ensure performance strategies are personalised every time, and that ad spend is focused on a brand’s most engaged, most in-market customers for truly optimised advertising performance. With this in place, it’s possible to execute true omnichannel personalisation.