3 Essentials of Cross-Device Direct Marketing

3 Essentials of Cross-Device Direct Marketing


2014, September

We’ve seen astounding changes in consumer media behavior lately. Digital research company comScore reports that 51% of a person’s total digital media time is now spent on smart phones and tablets. The always connected consumer creates new challenges and VAST new marketing opportunities for direct marketers.

Just as PCs required different marketing strategies and techniques from DRTV and direct mail, so too does the growth in mobile require us to rethink our strategies and tactics. Fortunately, “going cross-device” needn’t feel daunting if you remember three simple principles for doing it right:

1.  Start with a 360 view of the consumer.

With digital we can effectively observe consumer behavior in unique ways. But most targeting solutions base their decision-making solely on a person’s PC activity. Given that PCs now represent a minority of total time spent on the Internet, it’s easy to see how PC-only data results in an incomplete customer profile.

Granted, it is more difficult to track mobile activity owing to issues with cookies in mobile applications and 3rd party cookies in Apple’s iOS operating systems. But technology has advanced, and the best solutions providers can now combine a user’s PC, smartphone and tablet activity into a single, rich customer profile. By analyzing such profiles you can pinpoint ideal target audiences as well as each person’s stage in the buying process.

There’s something else to consider. Most people think about running integrated PC, smartphone and tablet campaigns when they think of “cross-device.” Such campaigns have been proven highly effective.  But you can also use your 360 cross-device data for targeting and then execute your advertising in just one channel, like PC or mobile. This can be a good way to get your feet wet before you commit to broader creative development and media buying.

2.  Connect with Users on Their Terms

Marketing success is all about right person|right time|right message. In digital that means that you need to ensure that the message you deliver comes to them when they are most likely to care about it, and that the desired action is conducive to the strengths of the device they are using.

Different devices have different interactive strengths. Phones are great for on the go. PCs for content creation. Tablets for viewing content. Make sure that you leverage the strengths of each device in the messages you deliver. For instance, give people ways to find a store in a mobile ad. Rely on PC for online sales, because people are more likely to make purchases on this platform due to easier data entry. Showcase product shots and videos in tablet executions.

3.  Use Every Campaign as a Learning Opportunity

Direct marketers are all about metrics and results. Reporting is essential to doing cross-device right. But you should also be learning about the specific cross-device behaviors of your particular customers with each campaign. The more we understand our audiences, the better we can design our programs to perform. 

Doing cross-device right requires techniques that are a departure for many direct marketers. But the results are worth the change. My company recently conducted testing that compared single device campaigns with cross-device campaigns that used a 360 customer view. The results showed enormous increases in both engagement and conversion rates. 

With figures like those, it makes sense for you to “take your brand cross-device” ASAP. 


Kurt Hawks
Kurt Hawks's picture

Kurt Hawks, General Manager, Mobile, for Conversant, Inc., spoke to DMCNY members at our May luncheon.  Reach him at khawks@conversantmedia.com.