Common Challenges Organizations Face with Multichannel Customer Engagement

7 Common Challenges Organizations Face with Multichannel Customer Engagement

 

Multichannel customer engagement is set to become the gold standard for marketing.

Did you know that 51% of companies today use at least eight channels to interact with their customers? The world of marketing has changed so much that marketers no longer have rigid control over the buyer’s journey.

Think about it.

The internet has given the modern buyer a broad range of options: what brand they buy from, which products they purchase, what content they consume, and so much more. Today’s consumers know exactly what they want and where to get it—and they expect their buying experience to be seamlessly tailored to their needs.

In line with that, businesses must be ready and willing to dance to the buyers’ tunes to succeed in a competitive market. But how can marketers comply with the changing needs and preferences of individual buyers?

Enter multichannel customer engagement.

Investing in multichannel marketing and customer engagement can take your business to the next level. However, it also comes with a number of challenges that bar the successful implementation of such a strategy.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the challenges you’re likely to encounter as you work to scale or spin up a multichannel customer engagement strategy. But first, let’s get down to the basics.

 

What Is Multichannel Customer Engagement?

Marketers use the term “multichannel” to describe how a brand interacts with potential customers across multiple channels.

A multichannel customer engagement strategy aims to boost buyer interaction with a brand across all channels—online and offline.

A multichannel strategy has the potential to transform your marketing strategy. It can help you improve customer retention, boost brand awareness, and streamline your marketing activities. Moreover, it can help you handle your campaigns in a more targeted way.

Multichannel marketing has become the norm, and more and more marketers are leveraging it to achieve a competitive edge. In a recent Forrester survey on 226 marketers:

  • 40% of the marketers considered themselves mature practitioners of marketing across multiple channels
  • Another 40% of the respondents described themselves as transitional, with plans to fully engage customers across all platforms
  • Only 5% of the respondents said they had no plans to embrace multichannel marketing

Among the top challenges that prevented them from adopting a multichannel strategy is the lack of skills and knowledge of how to market to customers on multiple platforms. Let’s get to the common challenges of adopting a multichannel strategy.

 

Common Challenges Organizations Face with Multichannel Customer Engagement

Without further ado, here are the common challenges organizations face when implementing a multichannel customer engagement strategy.

 

1. Cross-Channel Messaging

One of the biggest challenges organizations face when it comes to multichannel is keeping messaging and branding consistent across all channels.

When you’re selling and engaging customers on one channel—say, your website only—it’s easier to keep track of your messaging. But when you start reaching your customers across multiple channels, you have to manage messaging across multiple platforms (social media, email, push notifications, landing pages, etc.), each with different requirements and nuances.

Moreover, messaging must be tailored to the customer’s preferences and take into account behavior, demographics, transaction history, and preferred channel of communication.

Engaging customers this way ensures they’re receptive, attentive, and willing to take action. However, it becomes challenging when you’re engaging customers in more than one channel. With so much to handle across platforms, marketers find it hard to reengage with their customers across the buyer’s journey.

 

2. Knowing Your Customer

No marketing campaign, even a multichannel marketing campaign, should start with channels. Or even a pitch.

All marketing should start with a person; the customer.

The most important puzzle in marketing is to put our knowledge of marketing, technology, and market assumptions aside and give precedence to our customers’ needs.

That said, businesses should leverage the potential of their databases to have a 360-degree view of the customer. Once you know what makes your customers tick, you’ll be able to serve them better on the platforms they love most.

The problem with multichannel marketing is that companies use multiple systems, software, and databases to obtain customer data from different departments. Some software programs are complex to integrate with others to offer a 360-degree view of the customer.

These systems capture data in different structures and formats, making it difficult to centralize and standardize the data across the customer journey. Implementing the right systems can help you understand your customer and serve them better.

 

3. Customer Support and Experiences

When you’re selling products through one channel, like your business website, its easy to create the right experience for your customers.

But supporting and nurturing relationships can become a challenge once you start selling on more than one channel.

The goal of every merchant is to engage the customer pre-purchase to conversion, then retarget and reengage them post-purchase. But when you’re selling across multiple channels (Facebook, Instagram, email, search, etc.), things can get tricky.

Tracking the buyer journey also becomes a nearly impossible task as you’re managing prospects from different platforms with different messaging needs and practices.

To win these prospects, you’ll need to engage them consistently, provide world-class support, and create unmatched experiences for them. Keep these tips in mind to ensure you’re providing personalized experiences for your customers no matter what channel they use.

  • Develop a robust content marketing strategy
  • Map out the customer journey and nurture them accordingly
  • Invest in marketing automation tools
  • Document guidelines
  • Hire the right people
  • Listen to your customers

If your customers/prospects are happy, your business will thrive. And to achieve that, you’ll need to master the art of providing excellent support services in a multichannel setup.

 

4. Creating Personalized Content

71% of consumers say they prefer personalized ads. Unsurprisingly, customers love relevant, personalized messages tailored to their specific needs.

Unfortunately, 27% of marketers admit that they are unable to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.

The problem?

Most marketers don’t know who their customers are. If you don’t know your customers, providing them with cohesive messages across platforms is impossible.

A company’s data is just one piece of the KYC puzzle. Failing to fill those knowledge gaps makes for insubstantial and weak data sets.

The solution? Gather stronger data to feed your automation tools. And marketers agree with this notion. 20% of marketers cited a lack of robust technology tools as a barrier to implementing multichannel marketing.

Organizations looking to implement a multichannel marketing strategy should fill their data gaps with relevant, accurate, and complete data to stitch together reliable and vibrant customer profiles.

 

5. Expensive and Time-Consuming

As you can imagine, creating content for so many different platforms can be expensive and time-consuming. Businesses must invest in CRM and analytical tools to track and manage leads from different sources. You’ll also likely spend considerable time training your employees on how to use these tools and manage multichannel leads.

Often, most businesses don’t have a role for this kind of content marketing, so approaches can be disorganized and scattered.

Engaging customers from different platforms can also be time-consuming and inconsistent. Different marketing channels and platforms don’t have the same content requirements and outreach opportunities. The strategies you might apply to reach prospects on Facebook might not be applicable on email.

Multichannel users spend more, so it’s important to allocate more to marketing across channels to ensure nothing falls through the cracks due to inadequate financing. If possible, designate a few staff to coordinate your multichannel engagement strategy and ensure everything is consistent and high-quality.

 

6. Reaching Customers Where They Are

The purpose of a multichannel customer engagement strategy isn’t to get your message out to as many channels as possible.

Rather, it’s to get your message to the most effective and efficient channels.

For example, a Gen Z buyer is more likely to interact with your brand on mobile, so mobile would be a top priority for this generational cohort. If your target audience is a senior B2B buyer, that might not be the most effective channel.

Social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn may provide insights into how customers engage with your brand.

You’ll need all these insights to know who to target and where to target them. For instance, the techy guy might like more product demos. Millennials, on the other hand, might like more video content. And when you’re selling on multiple platforms, it can get even more complicated because you’ll need to know the platforms they visit most and the channels that drive the most engagement. Google Analytics can come in handy here.

 

7. Finding Their Voice, Not Your Voice

Once you know where to say it (the platform), you’ll need to know what to say.

Many businesses make the mistake of adopting a product-focused messaging approach. This approach often puts customers off, as no one wants to engage or associate with a brand that’s all “salesy.” Simply put, you’re trying to sell them something without providing them value.

To succeed in multichannel customer engagement, you’ll need to focus on customer needs first. You need to start conversations that address their pain points, then find a solution to their problems after multiple interactions.

Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating and distributing valuable content that helps customers along the buyer’s journey.

This involves the creation of marketing materials (such as blogs, videos, and social media posts) in a way that engages your audience and raises your numbers. To better drive conversations, identify a brand voice that resonates with your customers. This voice should be used in all your content marketing materials.

 

Wrapping Up

A multichannel customer engagement strategy aims to boost buyer interaction with a brand across all channels—online and offline.

Adopting such a strategy is critical as almost 72% of consumers prefer to interact with businesses through multichannel before making a purchase.

While important for building trust and fostering retention, multichannel strategy isn’t easy to implement, and businesses often face challenges in adopting it.

Common challenges businesses face in implementing a multichannel customer engagement strategy include cross-channel messaging issues, providing positive customer experiences, reaching customers where they are, and finding their voice.

 

Multichannel customer engagement is set to become the gold standard for marketing.

Did you know that 51% of companies today use at least eight channels to interact with their customers? The world of marketing has changed so much that marketers no longer have rigid control over the buyer’s journey.

Think about it.

The internet has given the modern buyer a broad range of options: what brand they buy from, which products they purchase, what content they consume, and so much more. Today’s consumers know exactly what they want and where to get it—and they expect their buying experience to be seamlessly tailored to their needs.

In line with that, businesses must be ready and willing to dance to the buyers’ tunes to succeed in a competitive market. But how can marketers comply with the changing needs and preferences of individual buyers?

Enter multichannel customer engagement.

Investing in multichannel marketing and customer engagement can take your business to the next level. However, it also comes with a number of challenges that bar the successful implementation of such a strategy.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the challenges you’re likely to encounter as you work to scale or spin up a multichannel customer engagement strategy. But first, let’s get down to the basics.

 

What Is Multichannel Customer Engagement?

Marketers use the term “multichannel” to describe how a brand interacts with potential customers across multiple channels.

A multichannel customer engagement strategy aims to boost buyer interaction with a brand across all channels—online and offline.

A multichannel strategy has the potential to transform your marketing strategy. It can help you improve customer retention, boost brand awareness, and streamline your marketing activities. Moreover, it can help you handle your campaigns in a more targeted way.

Multichannel marketing has become the norm, and more and more marketers are leveraging it to achieve a competitive edge. In a recent Forrester survey on 226 marketers:

  • 40% of the marketers considered themselves mature practitioners of marketing across multiple channels
  • Another 40% of the respondents described themselves as transitional, with plans to fully engage customers across all platforms
  • Only 5% of the respondents said they had no plans to embrace multichannel marketing

Among the top challenges that prevented them from adopting a multichannel strategy is the lack of skills and knowledge of how to market to customers on multiple platforms. Let’s get to the common challenges of adopting a multichannel strategy.

 

Common Challenges Organizations Face with Multichannel Customer Engagement

Without further ado, here are the common challenges organizations face when implementing a multichannel customer engagement strategy.

 

1. Cross-Channel Messaging

One of the biggest challenges organizations face when it comes to multichannel is keeping messaging and branding consistent across all channels.

When you’re selling and engaging customers on one channel—say, your website only—it’s easier to keep track of your messaging. But when you start reaching your customers across multiple channels, you have to manage messaging across multiple platforms (social media, email, push notifications, landing pages, etc.), each with different requirements and nuances.

Moreover, messaging must be tailored to the customer’s preferences and take into account behavior, demographics, transaction history, and preferred channel of communication.

Engaging customers this way ensures they’re receptive, attentive, and willing to take action. However, it becomes challenging when you’re engaging customers in more than one channel. With so much to handle across platforms, marketers find it hard to reengage with their customers across the buyer’s journey.

 

2. Knowing Your Customer

No marketing campaign, even a multichannel marketing campaign, should start with channels. Or even a pitch.

All marketing should start with a person; the customer.

The most important puzzle in marketing is to put our knowledge of marketing, technology, and market assumptions aside and give precedence to our customers’ needs.

That said, businesses should leverage the potential of their databases to have a 360-degree view of the customer. Once you know what makes your customers tick, you’ll be able to serve them better on the platforms they love most.

The problem with multichannel marketing is that companies use multiple systems, software, and databases to obtain customer data from different departments. Some software programs are complex to integrate with others to offer a 360-degree view of the customer.

These systems capture data in different structures and formats, making it difficult to centralize and standardize the data across the customer journey. Implementing the right systems can help you understand your customer and serve them better.

 

3. Customer Support and Experiences

When you’re selling products through one channel, like your business website, its easy to create the right experience for your customers.

But supporting and nurturing relationships can become a challenge once you start selling on more than one channel.

The goal of every merchant is to engage the customer pre-purchase to conversion, then retarget and reengage them post-purchase. But when you’re selling across multiple channels (Facebook, Instagram, email, search, etc.), things can get tricky.

Tracking the buyer journey also becomes a nearly impossible task as you’re managing prospects from different platforms with different messaging needs and practices.

To win these prospects, you’ll need to engage them consistently, provide world-class support, and create unmatched experiences for them. Keep these tips in mind to ensure you’re providing personalized experiences for your customers no matter what channel they use.

  • Develop a robust content marketing strategy
  • Map out the customer journey and nurture them accordingly
  • Invest in marketing automation tools
  • Document guidelines
  • Hire the right people
  • Listen to your customers

If your customers/prospects are happy, your business will thrive. And to achieve that, you’ll need to master the art of providing excellent support services in a multichannel setup.

 

4. Creating Personalized Content

71% of consumers say they prefer personalized ads. Unsurprisingly, customers love relevant, personalized messages tailored to their specific needs.

Unfortunately, 27% of marketers admit that they are unable to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.

The problem?

Most marketers don’t know who their customers are. If you don’t know your customers, providing them with cohesive messages across platforms is impossible.

A company’s data is just one piece of the KYC puzzle. Failing to fill those knowledge gaps makes for insubstantial and weak data sets.

The solution? Gather stronger data to feed your automation tools. And marketers agree with this notion. 20% of marketers cited a lack of robust technology tools as a barrier to implementing multichannel marketing.

Organizations looking to implement a multichannel marketing strategy should fill their data gaps with relevant, accurate, and complete data to stitch together reliable and vibrant customer profiles.

 

5. Expensive and Time-Consuming

As you can imagine, creating content for so many different platforms can be expensive and time-consuming. Businesses must invest in CRM and analytical tools to track and manage leads from different sources. You’ll also likely spend considerable time training your employees on how to use these tools and manage multichannel leads.

Often, most businesses don’t have a role for this kind of content marketing, so approaches can be disorganized and scattered.

Engaging customers from different platforms can also be time-consuming and inconsistent. Different marketing channels and platforms don’t have the same content requirements and outreach opportunities. The strategies you might apply to reach prospects on Facebook might not be applicable on email.

Multichannel users spend more, so it’s important to allocate more to marketing across channels to ensure nothing falls through the cracks due to inadequate financing. If possible, designate a few staff to coordinate your multichannel engagement strategy and ensure everything is consistent and high-quality.

 

6. Reaching Customers Where They Are

The purpose of a multichannel customer engagement strategy isn’t to get your message out to as many channels as possible.

Rather, it’s to get your message to the most effective and efficient channels.

For example, a Gen Z buyer is more likely to interact with your brand on mobile, so mobile would be a top priority for this generational cohort. If your target audience is a senior B2B buyer, that might not be the most effective channel.

Social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn may provide insights into how customers engage with your brand.

You’ll need all these insights to know who to target and where to target them. For instance, the techy guy might like more product demos. Millennials, on the other hand, might like more video content. And when you’re selling on multiple platforms, it can get even more complicated because you’ll need to know the platforms they visit most and the channels that drive the most engagement. Google Analytics can come in handy here.

 

7. Finding Their Voice, Not Your Voice

Once you know where to say it (the platform), you’ll need to know what to say.

Many businesses make the mistake of adopting a product-focused messaging approach. This approach often puts customers off, as no one wants to engage or associate with a brand that’s all “salesy.” Simply put, you’re trying to sell them something without providing them value.

To succeed in multichannel customer engagement, you’ll need to focus on customer needs first. You need to start conversations that address their pain points, then find a solution to their problems after multiple interactions.

Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating and distributing valuable content that helps customers along the buyer’s journey.

This involves the creation of marketing materials (such as blogs, videos, and social media posts) in a way that engages your audience and raises your numbers. To better drive conversations, identify a brand voice that resonates with your customers. This voice should be used in all your content marketing materials.

 

Wrapping Up

A multichannel customer engagement strategy aims to boost buyer interaction with a brand across all channels—online and offline.

Adopting such a strategy is critical as almost 72% of consumers prefer to interact with businesses through multichannel before making a purchase.

While important for building trust and fostering retention, multichannel strategy isn’t easy to implement, and businesses often face challenges in adopting it.

Common challenges businesses face in implementing a multichannel customer engagement strategy include cross-channel messaging issues, providing positive customer experiences, reaching customers where they are, and finding their voice.