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Why Cross Channel Marketing Needs To Be Visual

Imagine you are working on building a cross-channel marketing campaign. Imagine it’s a launch of new webinar series or an introduction of a new product. You’ve planned out the strategy of different touch points, built out a sequence of messages, and you know what type of action you want your audience to take as a result.

But for the sake of this thought experiment, you have to do all of that without any visual images. No professional photographs, stock images, logos and definitely zero videos.

Would you be able to do it?

Even if you were to go ahead with the experiment and run such a campaign, the results would be very disappointing. According to 2016 Forrester Wave Report, “Rich media content is the soul of customer experience.” In fact, “rich media, like videos and images are unparalleled in their ability to drive customer attention and create emotional connections.”

The following 3 examples illustrate why rich media and images are at the core of cross-channel marketing and how three very different businesses were able to use imagery to drive the behavior and engagement with their target audiences.

1. Bloodline To Emotional Engagement

Canadian Blood Services (CBS) offers a multi-channel experience including an extensive website, mobile app, and very active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Their ultimate goal is to generate awareness and drive the level of donations necessary to save human lives. Every one of their campaigns evokes deep emotional engagement and empathy, and they select marketing channels that are the most effective in prompting that response.

Where their multi-channel experience becomes a seamless, continuous network of touch points is with incredibly powerful visuals that consistently build upon each other.

What they are trying to do: inspire people to donate.

How they do it: by leveraging powerful visuals that trigger people’s most fundamental emotions of worry and hope.

Across all channels, CBS’s visual story reminds us of the vital importance of blood to us and our loved ones. You see the word “blood” written, drawn or typed, the color red in almost every single image, and a red Band-Aid symbolizing the act of donation and a needle piercing skin. The following image shows people dressed head-to-toe in read mimicking red blood cells. 

Source: Canadian Blood Services Facebook

Sometimes CBS pairs an illustration with targeted messaging, which also has the effect of putting the color red in the front of our minds and making us think: BLOOD. 

Source: Canadian Blood Services Facebook

Paired with carefully chosen words, the message is not that you should donate blood, tissues or organs because it is the right thing to do. The message is that if you donate, you are literally giving people the chance for a longer or better life, and at the very least, you are giving people who need serious medical help another fighting chance. 

CBS is one of the most prominent non-profit organizations and had been incredibly successful in building awareness of blood donations and instrumental in helping hospitals across entire country get the required levels of donations to save lives.
2. When We See Nature 

Grouse Mountain Resorts, located in Vancouver, BC, is another business that takes a theme, visualizes it, and then pushes it consistently across all customer touchpoints and channels. Instead of blood, Grouse Mountain, shows you nature in all its beauty

Source: Grouse Mountain on Instagram

What’s beautiful about Grouse Mountain’s materials is that you see nature as a backdrop for wild animals and humans. We all likely assume this to be the case, but what the people are doing in these images makes them so powerful.

Grouse Mountain isn’t just an elevation in the Earth’s crust; it is a place to ride a gondola up to the sky, walk, hike, ski, do yoga, paraglide, drink wine, jump in the air with glee, zip line, and so much more, but you get to do it all above the trees and next to black & Grizzly bears, snow owls, Ferruginous hawks, bald eagles, and great horned owls. The message is: “Come Explore!” 

The images shared through social media, email, mobile and web and publications had been to a large extent responsible for an explosion of tourism, wanderlust and nature exploration tours and activities. Every newsletter, microsite and social post utilizes the imagery to literally “take an action.”

You can leave all of your stress from work behind and head to the mountain slopes.  Generating these visuals either through crowdsourcing or collaborating with photographers and multiple agencies and then using them across different channels is vital to the success of companies like Grouse Mountain Resorts.

3. Dreaming of Iconic Destinations  

Brand USA is a public-private combined marketing organization built to fuel tourism to the United States. What’s interesting about their images is that they highlight the value of knowing where your customer touchpoints are. Brand USA’s goal is to inspire travel to the U.S. To reach potential travelers by optimizing their “customer” experience. 

Since they aren’t selling a product directly, the customer touchpoints look a little different. They host a website, have award-wining social media presence, run hundreds of digital campaigns in US and internationally, but also ensure that the initial impact of their message – that the U.S. is a premier, friendly and easy-to-navigate travel destination – is best received at the point of travel. 

One of their marketing innovations has been to offer locally customized graphics displays in gateway airports. 

Source: Brand USA Blog

These displays offer valuable information and visually inspiring images of local feature attractions that are consistent with what travelers have seen in promotional materials online and in their hometowns. The images remind and help further inform travelers of what they can experience while in a particular location. 

Visual images work to influence people because they evoke human emotions. And when they are very carefully chosen in conjunction with a strategic cross-channel marketing strategy, visuals provide emotional consistency and associate that consistency with your brand at each and every customer touchpoint. With emotional consistency, customers are moved personally and can more quickly make their buying decisions. 

The Tools You Need

As we all know, the list of MarTech tools is almost endless, but there is a winning combination that many businesses are finding that helps them leverage the power of visual images. 

Marketing automation tools are at the core of delivering personalized customer-centric experiences across every channel to attract, engage and retain customers. They simplify execution of the complex campaigns and enable marketers to react to customer’s digital behavior and respond with the right messaging at the right time. Targeted content, powerful visuals, video and rich media elements are required in large volumes to support and run these campaigns.

Managing that volume of media, visuals and content is not an easy task and can create serious bottlenecks in campaign production if left unmanaged. That’s why a combination of a Digital Asset Management tool and a Marketing Automation tools is used to manage and run efficient campaigns by industry-leading organizations.

Download Cross Channel Orchestration Fundamentals to learn how you can deliver the most meaningful, positive, and consistent customer experiences across all channels that enhance loyalty and deliver results.

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