It’s not debatable; the digital world is expanding faster than most of us can keep up with. The trends all show an accelerating growth in the connected world. Gartner estimates that worldwide device shipments (PCs, mobile phones, tablets, etc.) will reach nearly 2.5 billion in 2014. With the combination of these extraordinary growth rates and ever-increasing print and postage costs, it’s no wonder that firms are looking to multi-channel communications to help advance customer engagement and reduce operating expenses.

Today’s technology should make this easy, yet several challenges exist. One common issue is trying to hit a moving target. Often, firms jump into their multi-channel communications efforts or programs without fully understanding what it is they are trying to achieve. In other words, they haven’t got a strategy.

Before getting too far into your project, consider whether your strategy addresses these key topics and questions:

1. What is primary motivation?

When challenged to define a primary driver for the project, many firms are unable to differentiate their priority for enhanced customer experience vs. cost savings vs. speed-to-market improvement. Yes, they are all important and achievable, but a clear prioritization will help you make the right decisions along the way.

2. Are your desired types and levels of customer experience defined? 

A customer journey map is frequently used to define expectations. Knowing your key touch points and expected outcomes for each will help define the processes and services you need to support.

3. Is your brand voice clearly articulated? 

A consistent approach to how you present yourself to both prospects and customers is essential to building lasting relationships and loyalty. You’ll struggle to meet content delivery timelines if you’re haggling internally over voice, tone and terminology while trying to develop or re-develop customer communications.

4. How will platform, device or channel impact your communications and service offerings? 

Not only does each device or medium have a different optimum experience that can be achieved, you must also align with limitations regarding data protection and privacy.

5. How will you measure results? 

Every good strategy has a clear definition of success. If you’re not sure what success looks like, keep pushing or asking till you do. Some level of quantifiable result is important, whether in terms of increased sales, customer retention or customer satisfaction rating, cost reduction, ROI, etc.

The more well-defined your strategy is, the more chance you have in succeeding with your multi-channel communications program. You don’t have to wait for the strategy to be fully baked or you may never get started, but having some key questions answered will keep you from wasting precious time and effort on the wrong priorities.

Mr. Roberts will be presenting on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum. Don't miss his Power Session M304/M305 “The Next Chapter: Creating a Seamless Multi-Channel Communications Approach That Really Works.” For more information, visit

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