As a marketer, you’ve probably heard the term multi-channel or multi-modal marketing. It is the process of using more than one communication channel, such as email, SMS, voice, fax, RSS, direct mail, etc. to create a more comprehensive marketing campaign. It’s really no different than traditional forms of media, like advertising in print, radio and T.V. to capture a larger audience. However, such efforts are typically spread out across different systems and aren’t triggered by a single by a single campaign. This is where Cross Message Campaigning comes into play.

Cross Messaging Campaign or CMC is a term I came up with about two years ago. I consider this pure multi-channel or multi-modal marketing. I define it as:

The integration of multiple message types into a single campaign that is triggered by specific user behavior allowing a marketer to communicate with consumers via a carefully controlled and targeted path.

I have not seen a true CMC system working in the market today; but some companies, including mobileStorm, have bits and pieces of this concept. At the very least, one would need a marking platform that is multi-modal with at least 3 or more methods of communication (not to mention all of the other features and reports you need in order to be true CMC). In my first example, let’s take the fictional CMC Web-based platform called Smarty™ that allows you to communicate via direct mail, email, and voice messaging. Of course, we have to remember that all of the regulations concerning bulk messaging would still apply so a business would still need to have a physical mailing address, email address, and telephone number of their subscriber as well as their explicit permission to communicate with them.

Let’s see how a major retailer like Nordstroms might use CMC to drive traffic into their store during the Women and Kid’s Half Yearly Sale. Using their current digital marketing strategy, they would send out: an email campaign to their email subscribers, a postcard in the mail, and possibly voice messages to their VIP clientele. Each of these methods can be very effective on their own, and there are many in-house and outsourced solutions readily available. However, if one were to combine all of these into a single, unified campaign with rules set to send each message type based upon specific user behavior, the total impact would be much greater. This is the power of Cross Messaging Campaign.

Let’s now explore what needs to happen before the campaign is created. Nordstroms would build a dynamic site (microsite) for each person in their database. Each microsite would have a custom URL per subscriber. This microsite would be personalized with their name as well as include some items on sale that would be of interest to them based upon previous purchases. Nordstroms would promote the URL to this microsite on their first channel of communication, a postcard.

Using the campaign wizard on our Smarty CMC platform, Nordstroms might put together a campaign that looks like this:

Content/Rule Date/Time of Campaign
Postcard P1 Send via U.S. mail with custom URL to microsite 2 weeks before sale
Email E1 Send “sale alert” email. Set a rule that email message #1 (E1) will only be sent to women who have not visited their respective microsites. 5 days after postcard is sent
Email E2 Send “sale alert” email. Set a rule that E2 will only be sent to women who have visited their respective microsites. 1 day after microsite is visited
Email E3 Send “sale alert” email E3, to any women who have not opened either E1 or E2 Send 1 week from sale
Voice V1 Send voice broadcast V1 to any women who opened message E2. This voice message would thank them for visiting the microsite and would let them know they can expect everything they saw on the microsite and more on sale in a week. 4 days after E2 is opened
Voice V2 Send voice broadcast V2 to all women who received message E1 and opened it alerting them what times the store will open and close. Send day before the sale
Voice V3 Send voice broadcast V3 to all women who didn’t open message E1 or E2. This message would prompt everyone to check their emails for special news about the Half Yearly Sale. 3 days before sale
Email E4 Send “thank you email” E4 after the sale is over to all women who visited the microsite. This email would have links back to the site offering items still for sale. 3 days after Half Yearly Sale ends
Email E5 Send “thank you email” E5 after the sale is over to all women who didn’t visit the microsite. 3 days after Half Yearly Sale ends
Voice & 
V4 & P2 Send voice broadcast message V4 and Postcard P2 to all women who did not open any emails. These messages would alert everyone that they can pick up a gift for their boyfriend or husband in the Men’s Half Yearly Sale which will be in a couple of months. 7 days after Half Yearly Sale ends

As you can see from my example above the possibilities are endless. Email and the microsites can be dynamic and serve up content and messages specifically tailored to each person, making the cross messaging campaign that much more effective.

Once the rules are set, everything is automated based upon what the Nordstroms customer did or didn’t do. They are communicated to in a timely manor and in multiple ways, ensuring the Nordstroms brand is fresh on their minds. CMC if done right can be personalized, timely, relevant, persistent, and multi-channel. Imagine the response rates!

As I mentioned before, there are companies today that have pieces of this platform, but I still think we are a ways off before it can be perfected. There are still too many issues with messages not being delivered due to spam blocks and carriers overwhelmed with traffic.

I would love to hear what you have to say, please leave your comments below. Maybe you can help me come up with another great CMC example or add on to the one above. Until next time…

Jared Reitzin
mobileStorm Inc.
Starting Small Business