Australia’s cross-channel marketing knowledge gap

Despite a clear recognition of the benefits of cross-channel marketing there exists a sizeable knowledge gap among Australian businesses to understand and utilise cross-channel marketing.

Those are the findings of an investigation by Econsultancy, in conjunction with global information services company Experian, published today in ‘Australia Cross-Channel Marketing Report’.

The study found that, despite a clear commitment to ‘cross-channel marketing’ as a concept, there is a lack of understanding of what it means. Only 14% of respondents say they had a clear understanding of cross-channel marketing, while 63% say they ‘somewhat’ understand the distinctions between multi-channel and cross-channel marketing.

Matt Glasner, general manager at Experian Marketing Services, explains that cross-channel marketing is the happy marriage of data and evolved multi-channel communications, where previously messages pushed out to each channel had no backchannel for knowing how each member of the audience was interacting.

“To us it’s about focusing on the marketer’s dialogue or conversation with the consumer, and building a deeper relationship which is consistent [to each individual] across different channels and happens in real time,” Glasner says.

The knowledge gap

The biggest barrier to effective cross-channel marketing was a lack of clear strategy, with 57% of respondents saying this. Indeed, only 5% of respondents indicated they take a long-term view to cross-channel marketing. But, with almost half of marketers saying they plan to increase investment, who is responsible for developing those strategies?

“Increasingly it is marketers,” says Glasner, who points out the shift of technology spend from IT into the wider business, driven by data. In a sense, the breakout of data-driven technology upwards in the tree of business structure mirrors the release of data from simple channel-by-channel messaging that allows feedback and permissions to be gleaned from individual users – defining cross-channel marketing.

After lack of strategy, the other top challenges to effective cross-channel marketing were identified as a lack of knowledge (42%) and lack of budget (38%).

The insight gap

The research found that a full 91% of marketers say they are not maximising the insights from their data, mainly because they are not using the correct tools to enable them to pay attention to activity that leads to sales and improved customer experience.

29% of respondents admitted to using data badly, not only in the marketing department but company-wide. Customer data is not being shared effectively across organisations to provide valuable insights to management and all touch points.

The skills gap

Almost two-thirds of those surveyed for the report say they will focus on developing the skills of their team.

So which should be the bigger priority – getting the tech right or the skills? “I think they’re equally important,” says Glasner. “One’s easier to get than the other – it’s much easier to buy a piece of technology than to create the skillset within your organisation.”