The Best Versus the Rest: Evaluating Cross Channel Optimization Tools

Adobe Campaign turns insights into experiences.

by Adobe Experience Cloud

posted on 10-17-2018

While Travelocity generates billions of customer touchpoints per year, those moments add up to more than just a big number. Because of the company’s powerful cross-channel marketing and optimization efforts, every customer experience is designed to align with a particular traveler and their real-time objectives.

It’s a tall order considering Travelocity deploys about 50 different marketing campaigns per month, and sends more than 3.5 billion emails annually. And it wasn’t possible — at least not with the scope, scale, and success they wanted — until the company left their sales-centric campaign management system and moved to Adobe Campaign.

Now, Adobe Campaign leverages Travelocity’s digital marketing analytics to identify and interpret traveler patterns. This enables Travelocity to optimize outreach based on real-time searches, bookings, and other key touchpoints. “We take that information into Adobe Campaign and we can target what they are shopping for, and match it to the best deals that are available for those destinations,” says Keith Nowak, Travelocity’s director of communications.

Also supporting Travelocity’s enhanced optimization efforts are the artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in Adobe Campaign. Powered by Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s AI and machine-learning engine, Travelocity has been able to optimize its outreach with greater scale and personalization — and that’s translated into bigger, better, and more actionable customer experiences.

“Before we came to Adobe Campaign it took us a lot longer to be responsive to deals,” says Tony Arbelaez, senior database manager for Travelocity. “If we were to find out an airline was having a fare sale, it would take us days to be able to respond to that.” With Adobe Campaign now in place, “we were able to respond within an hour of the notification of that fare sale.” What’s more, they’ve been able to reduce the number of dedicated staff and programmers assigned to campaigns, getting more done — and delivering stronger results — with a smaller team.

Orchestrating campaign management

Think of optimizing cross-channel campaigns as assembling an orchestra. In an orchestra you have a diverse group of instruments that work together to produce a unified sound — a sound that changes moment by moment. To achieve the sounds and the versatility, you need the right musicians, the right instruments, the right sheet music, and the right conductor, all coming together at the exact right time.

Orchestrating a cross-channel marketing campaign starts with the tools — specifically, technology that communicates across platforms and devices, and pulls fragmented data from diverse sources into a single, real-time customer view. Armed with those views, it’s easier to optimize and personalize to individual customers and segments.

While reaching customers when, where, and how they want to engage seems like a simple enough goal, many sales-centric campaign management systems don’t deliver. Not only do these limited solutions lack the ability to process and interpret massive amounts of data, but they simply ignore what’s coming in from offline or in-store touchpoints — and that’s a major miss. Some, for example, just pull data from email, digital ads, and mobile. Stop there and your brand won’t be able to see and engage with customers as they move through a true journey.

Ensuring every touchpoint provides an optimal customer experience also requires brands to integrate a customer’s entire contact history into a unified customer view. That means utilizing a system that’s capable of connecting first-party data with third-party data from offline interactions, amplifying your understanding of each unique customer.

It sounds like a simple request, but, in reality, many sales-centric campaign management solutions limit marketers’ abilities to build a detailed profile of every customer — one that’s immediately accessible for helping you determine who to contact, when, and how. This is the core of cross-channel optimization — and if your campaign management system can’t deliver, it’s time to trade up.

Listening, learning, and optimizing

The more deeply you understand your customers, the better you can optimize and personalize their journeys. Getting here means tapping a cross-channel marketing solution that leverages automation with AI. The ability to use machine learning to help manage the vast amounts of real-time data generated by your campaigns ensures your messaging is always relevant and in context.

From here, automation can also augment your creative efforts, brand engagement strategies, and customer outreach efforts, for example, by predicting optimal send times, or even ideal subject lines, for the emails you send. With AI, look for solutions that are constantly pushing the boundaries for what’s possible.

Saving time and talent

Choosing the right campaign management system can drive unparalleled experience delivery anchored in cross-channel optimization and data-driven personalization. That much is clear. On the flip side, though, choosing the wrong solution or clinging to outdated technology can put your company at a considerable disadvantage.

Sales-centric campaign management systems often force marketers to jump from one platform to another, collecting data and attempting to piece together the customer journey. In other cases, the campaign management system will attempt to use third-party partnership integrations to pull the parts together — and, in the process, add friction and reduce speed. Either way, both approaches are tedious, time-consuming, and, even with a tremendous resource allocation, it’s still nearly impossible to effectively connect the dots between data, content, and delivery.

Without an automated and unified interface, it’s virtually impossible to optimize your workflows at scale. But with one, your marketers can spend more time doing meaningful work — getting to know customers firsthand and spending time creating perfectly personalized experiences for them.

Missing the messaging mark

That’s just the beginning. If you can’t identify and target your consumers effectively, you can’t deliver relevant messages and experiences — especially not at scale. This often leads to excessive messaging that’s irrelevant, redundant, and inappropriate to the end recipient. From here, it’s just a short leap to contact fatigue and a mass “tune out” of your brand — exactly what you don’t want.

To avoid these outcomes, it’s important to understand what makes a good cross-channel optimization system and what doesn’t. If you can compare options side by side, you’ll be better positioned to integrate the right solution for you, your business, and your customers — and that, at the end of the day, is always the goal.

First off, for successful optimization you need a system with robust analytics capabilities. Again, it sounds fairly standard but many campaign management systems don’t offer this. A system that can’t handle automated data collection and reporting will never be able to provide a single, unified customer view or reflect real-time updates across your entire ecosystem.

While some solutions integrate with other analytics software, the result can still be a fragmented picture of customer interactions if the data isn’t processed correctly. As mentioned before, without native integration powered by AI, it’s impossible for enterprises to analyze the data pouring in from diverse customer touchpoints — data that’s streaming in every second of every day.

One final challenge: marketers need to know what to include and exclude in messaging, as well as who to contact with a particular message, when, and on what device. Limited campaign management systems are unable to create multitiered rules and filters for messaging, targeting, and delivery.

Optimize how you manage your campaigns

If you’re serious about cross-channel marketing at scale, you need automated, streamlined, and simple technology designed so even non-technical marketers can implement and optimize. You need campaign management solutions that don’t just say they get the job done but actually excel at what you need them to do — solutions that have Forrester and Gartner backing their cross-channel optimization capabilities.

You need a campaign management system that can optimize everything from email, to mobile marketing, to point-of-sale, to call centers, all with personalized, contextually-relevant messages driven by real-time insights and a single customer view.

Travelocity knew they needed to do more to optimize their cross-channel strategy, and they tapped Adobe Campaign with Adobe Sensei to better connect the dots on insights, delivery, and optimization.

The travel behemoth isn’t alone, either. Companies including BT, Virgin Holidays, and 1,000 other leading-edge brands are among the organizations that have replaced their sales-based campaign management solutions with Adobe Campaign.

Now, it’s your turn

Take the time to evaluate and assess your existing and would-be campaign management systems, and make sure they checks all of the boxes. Your customers want to be treated like individuals — and, to keep them coming back, you need to deliver. To achieve this goal, you need the technology in place to reach customers wherever they are, culling data, acting on real-time insights, and optimizing every step of their journey. It needs to be relevant, it needs to be consistent, and it needs to be cohesive. It needs to be Adobe Campaign.

Don’t settle for the status quo. If your campaign management system isn’t up to the challenge, find a solution that delivers. Adobe Campaign is a truly cross-channel solution — and Adobe Campaign delivers.

Topics: Digital Transformation

Products: Campaign