Centro Speaks: Untagling cross-channel, multi-channel and cross-device
By Erin Peralta Jun 17 2015

Catering to the Cross-Channel Customer: Takeaways from Argyle and a Brand New Video

I had the pleasure of attending the Argyle CMO Leadership Forum in San Francisco last week.  If you haven’t been, it’s worth a look. The event brings together CMOs and marketing leaders from a variety of industries to discuss best practices and share innovative strategies. With an impressive roster of speakers and attendees, the day was jam-packed with insights and inspiration. Interestingly though, regardless of vertical, product, brand size or budget, a very clear theme permeated nearly every single panel and presentation:

Data is the Key to the Kingdom

This point of view is easy to get behind. After all, the more you know, the better you can connect with your customers. No one questions whether data is important. The challenge today is understanding exactly how to handle it. How do you collect, measure, and analyze data across all channels? And (perhaps more importantly), once you have these insights, how do you apply them?

On my particular panel, ‘Catering to the Multi-Touchpoint Customer’ we talked a lot about data in the context of delivering a cross-channel experience – the new model for marketing. No matter where marketers fell on the maturity curve, whether working to get the basics in place or building very sophisticated, multi-touch programs, every practitioner was contemplating how to develop a holistic, cross-channel strategy. My advice to the group: start with the rule that data must be aggregated, accessible, and accurate.

Aggregate Your Data

In the era of programmatic media, mastery of data will define success. But, it’s not only about the customers you know (those already stored in your database) it’s also about acquiring new ones. For marketers, this means having a system that stores, analyzes, and refreshes what you understand today. It also means working with a variety of partners to collect and act on data you don’t have in-house. It takes a lot of technology to knit a cross-channel program together so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Build your tech stack and select your partners carefully.

Make it Accessible
Though all of us want to deliver a holistic brand experience, our marketing organizations are structured in silos. The team that manages your website is not the same as the team that manages your CRM which is separate from the team who manages your social channels. So how do you coordinate this ballet of elephants across teams and functional boundaries? Identify barriers and set clear expectations around who can use this information in what ways. Open communication and collaboration amongst your teams will enable you to effectively leverage your data — one of the most precious business resources you have.

Stand for Accuracy

We’ve all gotten those shoddy emails. Where suddenly I’m a mister, or my first name and last are merged into one long string of characters, or…well, I know you’ve been there. And it’s easy to pick on CRM data, especially when it can be based on opt-in data from customers who aren’t concerned with capitalization or punctuation. But it’s far more complex than that. Can you identify the customers and prospects who visit your site? What if they come via mobile device? Cookies (the basic tracking mechanism of the web) don’t work on mobile; can you correctly link visitors across screens? Technology is available to link IDs across screens and devices, but the match rate varies greatly.

This leads me to a final point. While data holds the keys to the kingdom, it takes a wide array of technology partners to make that data actionable and implement cross-channel programs. Keeping up with the growing list of vendors is a job in itself, but it’s further complicated by the fact that many are using terms that sound the same, but mean very different things. When it comes to building a data-driven, cross-channel strategy there are three terms that need clarification:

  • Cross-channel
  • Multi-channel
  • Cross-device


As you work to reach your customers on their path to purchase, it’s important to understand the three key terms above and how they fit into your overall strategy. We’ve outlined the definitions and uses in this quick video. Hope you find it helpful.