Digitisation has led to an explosion of new customer channels. Whether we’re reading the latest headlines, catching up on emails or watching funny cat videos on Youtube, we consume content constantly every day. And these channels present endless opportunities for brands to engage with customers, across every device – but are they a blessing or a curse when it comes to delivering excellent customer experience?

There’s no doubt that email marketers have long been wise to the opportunity here, and are rapidly expanding their strategies to encompass multichannel tactics. And by doing this, they are able to gather huge amounts of data that allow brands to gain rich insights into customer preference and behavior. In an ideal world, these insights would be shared collaboratively across every channel and device, and used to create a seamless shopping experience for customers. This, in turn, would boost sales and ultimately drivedeeper brand loyalty.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Unfortunately, many companies are being held back from reaping the benefits of a truly customer centric approach by the unwieldy and antiquated structure of their marketing teams. It’s not at all uncommon for functions such as display, social media, email, analytics and offline campaignsto be managed by more than one department, with limited coordination between them – meaning they often can’t take full advantage of the rich insights and access to customers available to them.

Big businesses with multiple channels and larger teams feel this the most. Experian’s recent 2016 Digital Marketer Report found that 59% of enterprise marketers work in teams broken out by channel and are 54% more likely to rank “facilitating alignment” their top priority.

So what does this mean in practice? Firstly, the endless merry-go-round of emails, slow responses and miscommunications can be frustrating and time-wasting for everyone involved. But perhaps more importantly, these silos can also cause a breakdown in the way that valuable customer insights and data are transferred – meaning they are largely responsible for inconsistencies across different channels that create friction across the customer journey and ultimately diminish customer experience. And the delays caused by all the back and forth mean brands are missing out on crucial opportunities to segment in real time across multiple channels.

For example, a homeware brand might target a consumer with ads on social media or marketing emails while they are shopping during their evening commute, flagging that a particular sofa they have been researching is on sale. This could be hugely effective – but not if the consumer is targeted three hours after their commute or a couple of days after they’ve purchased that exact sofa, which would be unhelpful and potentially damaging to the customer relationship.

To avoid this disconnect, it is critical that insights from one channel are transferred to other channels throughout the customer journey, and shared right across the business. Here are three ways that marketers can break down silos and create a more holistic approach to their marketing campaigns.

Don’t be outdone by attribution

The more complicated marketing attribution gets, the more tempting it can be to ignore it. But with different channels popping up all over the place, it has never been so valuable for marketers to have a clear understanding of attribution to help businesses align cross-channel goals.

It provides marketers with a really clear picture of how each business unit is contributing to the overall revenue. And as “Last Click” continues to lose ground to more nuanced attribution models, it is becoming easier to understand the value of each channel in moving the customer through their journey and allocate budget accordingly. This level of understanding is necessary to stimulate collaboration across different channel teams.

Paint a complete picture of the customer journey

It’s no longer enough to look at different touch points and devices independently. So much can be learnt about the way consumers interact with different channels throughout the day, but only if these interactions are considered in tandem. And the way that brands approach customers should be tailored according to their needs at different times.

For example, during a cursory check of their emails on mobile first thing, consumers will find a gentle nudge about an item they’d been researching more helpful than a hard sell from a brand they’ve not previously engaged with. They might then be open to more inspiring messages when browsing their favourite retailer’s website on their desktop later in the evening.

This understanding will help organizations to prioritise where and how marketing efforts should be directed, forge co-operation across teams and create a common purpose – focused on customer experience as the primary goal.

Follow the leader

Every marketing unit needs one core leadership team that can rise above competing agendas, and use the wealth of customer data and insights to join the dots across channels and create that complete picture of the customer journey. With visibility and clear ownership of the whole marketing strategy, this team will be in a strong position to decide on where, when and how they should advertise or direct market to customers.

At a time when consumers are choice-rich and time-poor, customer experience is everything. Customers expect to be engaged with seamlessly across every channel and if one brand doesn’t hit the mark, then another will. It is well worthbrands investing a little time and effort into putting the right teams and processes in place to optimize their organisational structure, and keep customers keep coming back again and again.

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