4 Reasons Why Marketers Need a Cross-Device Strategy

Let’s declare once and for all that “the year of mobile” is dead. Mobile is now where U.S. adults spend the majority of their digital time–and over 60% of their time with retail sites. So it’s an understatement to say this catch phrase has played its course. It’s replaced by a new reality in which the number and type of connected devices owned by the average consumer is virtually unlimited.

Beyond laptops, smartphones, and tablets, think about the wearables, game consoles, and connected TVs that have become staples in our everyday lives. Now imagine what the next few years have in store. A smart refrigerator that notifies you when you’re low on milk and, even better, orders another gallon for home delivery. A mobile device-controlled home that can lock the doors, turn off the lights and adjust the temperature while you’re away. A connected car that enables hands-free driving – and one day may practically drive itself.

As connected devices continue to empower consumers, they are also opening up marketing opportunities brands cannot yet imagine. But only if marketers are able to continuously recognize the real people behind the devices. This is the essence of people-based marketing.

A people-based approach to cross-device tracking is now a strategic necessity. By collecting and connecting a brand’s first-party data to known customers, marketers can identify and relate to actual people – not just device or cookie IDs — as they move across screens. The ability to connect data across multiple platforms and tools that don’t talk to each other allows marketers to achieve a true single view of customer and deliver the type of 1:1 brand experiences consumers expect.

Here are four reasons why marketers need a customer-centric cross-channel marketing strategy:

  1. Power addressable marketing.

Consumers’ cross-device habits have not only changed how they shop, it’s changed what they’re in the market for. More than just a great product, customers want personal, immediate and meaningful brand experiences. By tying data back to real people, marketers can interact with customers with the right content and in the right context across any of their addressable devices. In a recent study conducted by Signal in partnership with Econsultancy, 83% of marketers in North America and 86% in Australia report that addressable media campaigns outperform standard campaigns on similar media. No wonder nearly 50% of these marketers are increasing their budgets for addressable ad buys.

  1. See the entire customer journey

Relying solely on cookie-based or device-restricted identifiers means marketers may be blind to 20% to 80% of a consumer’s journey, depending on the devices, browsers, platforms and apps the customer uses. In fact, more than half of senior-level marketers recently polled said they are not confident in their company’s understanding of the customer journey. With a people-based approach to cross-device identification, marketers can map any number of personal identifiers to a single person across screens and appropriately react to individual wants, needs and behaviors at each stage of the buyer journey.

  1. Target with laser precision.

Targeting people with irrelevant messages can do a real number on a brand’s bottom line. Without the ability to recognize the customer across multiple devices, the brand risks inundating – and annoying — that same person with the same ad. Not only will the shopper likely tune out, the marketer will be unable to tell which device had the most impact. With a cross-device strategy built around first-party data, marketers can precisely reach actual customers, reducing wasted ad spend and over-saturation while improving overall brand presence.

  1. Continue the conversation.

When shopping, people don’t think about which device they’re using, they think about the experience they’re having – and they want it to be meaningful and consistent, no matter the touchpoint. If it isn’t, today’s fickle consumers can turn to another brand with a click or a swipe. Being able to recognize customers as they switch among devices allows marketers to maintain an ongoing, genuine dialogue throughout the path to purchase, opening up opportunities to upsell, cross-sell and increase a customer’s lifetime value.

With the continual emergence of new connected devices, consumers’ cross-device habits will become even more complicated. Marketers need a cross-device strategy that focuses on identifying and relating to real people, not a device type or screen size, to be prepared for whatever becomes the latest, greatest screen of choice tomorrow.

Originally published September 12, 2016

Kathy Menis

Kathy is an expert in technology marketing, with 20 years of experience creating and leading strategic, results-driven marketing programs. She was formerly the CMO at Signal.

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