Why Less is Sometimes More in Cross-Channel Marketing

Apr 17, 2019
Will Devlin

Let’s say that you’re a marketer without a budget. Or rather, let’s say that your budget is unlimited. Where would you market your product or service? Without concern for cost, you might be tempted to market to everyone; every minute of every day across every possible marketing channel. You could run advertisements on TV, radio, robocalls, email, SMS, mobile push, snail mail, AdWords, Facebook ads, podcasts, blog posts, and whitepapers ad nauseam. Everyone would hear your message. Your company would be a household name. But should it? Would that even make sense for your company? Even if you’re Coca-Cola and you want every man, woman, and child to buy your product, are there cases where it might make sense to hold back?

What if your potential customers feel inundated with all of those meticulously crafted marketing messages, their inboxes and mobile phones flooded with poorly targeted ads? What if they are annoyed by the lack of relevance to their needs? More importantly, what would be the cost of marketing with such reckless abandon? Does it make more sense to be selective about your target audience for each campaign?


It’s so easy to think that more is better. After all, any time that we upgrade a purchase, whether it be by up-sizing a fast food meal, or getting a new TV for the home, more is what most of us want. But sometimes more isn’t better. Although it makes sense to send a variety of email campaigns, imagine you sign up for a new service and you receive marketing messages from two or three welcome campaigns (one for each program subscribed), an educational and an abandoned cart email, an order status push notification, a birthday reminder and newsletter to your inbox, something about an upcoming event by SMS, a sales announcement via push, and a cross-sell opportunity email for that particular product you looked at.

Such a cacophony of messaging would probably send even the most stalwart fan of your product running for the hills. No one wants to be overwhelmed with marketing material, even from a beloved brand. Message count is important. So, if you’ve already sent a welcome message and a sales announcement, maybe you can skip that newsletter or the birthday reminder email. But before you can temper the message count, you’ll have to keep track of what messages are being sent and who’s getting them. This is where direct access to your data source of record is important. In other words, to determine the segment of your list that’s unlikely to be irritated by another marketing message, and to know which channel will be most effective for reaching them, you’ll need to consult your customer data.

Return on Investment

Even if you use all the campaign types listed above, it’s unlikely you have unlimited funds for marketing. You pay for every message you send, so why send more than you need? Targeting those interested in or receptive to your message is the best way to maximize your return on investment. A great way to do this is to track clicks and opens to gain insight into your most engaged customers. Attributing them to particular customers will help you greatly in going forward with content and channel segmentation.

However, clicks and opens aren’t the only ways to measure engagement. Visits to your website could be used as well. Involvement in a particular program is worth noting. Progress through the typical sales funnel should also be considered. Any customer-related data that measures a touch point is important. When deciding which users should receive a message within a campaign, all of these metrics provide insight, in addition to connecting subscribers to their on-site purchases at your brick-and-mortar stores. The typical software as a service (SaaS) marketing service provider doesn’t have easy, real-time access to your customer data. This makes using customer data for segmentation purposes more difficult.

What if you took the idea of segmentation by engagement even further, by examining conversions? For the purpose of this blog post, a conversion is turning a lead into a sale, subscription, or whatever your final goal for the potential customer may be. Those customers who have already purchased your product or subscribed to your service are more likely to reconvert than a new prospect is. If you can attribute an existing customer back to a particular marketing campaign, then that customer should likely be retargeted in the next similar campaign.


Using your customer data to find active leads will aid in keeping your costs down and achieving your marketing goals. Inundating your potential customers with unwanted cross-channel messages can hurt more than it helps. Determining those most receptive to your message — and to the channel they’re most likely to engage with — before sending can reduce your costs significantly. Finding that happy medium between too many marketing messages and too few can be a tricky balancing act. But, as long as you’re using your in-house data to intelligently segment your list, then you are probably on the right track.

About the Author

Will Devlin

A 20-year email marketing veteran, Will has focused on marketing strategy and execution for MessageGears since 2014. He has extensive experience on both the retail customer and service side of email marketing, and he’s interested in helping businesses better understand how they can make the most of the work they put into their email campaigns.