Marketers have a tough job! No juggler's job has ever been as tough. With 13 or so online marketing channels (and just as many offline), the job of cross-channel marketing is difficult. But creating a successful cross-channel marketing organization is possible.

Building a strategy and organization to implement cross-channel marketing usually requires changes in the following:

  • Marketing strategy and tactics
  • Organizational structure
  • Team skills
  • Individual channel manager skills
  • Technology and tools

That list may seem overwhelming, but don't stop reading. You can minimize those barriers and build a cross-channel marketing force with greater focus, impact, and alignment.

Building a cross-channel marketing organization requires three processes:

  1. Creating a cross-channel marketing strategy. Create an overarching marketing strategy that aligns with your company's strategic objectives.
  2. Integrating cross-channel activity. Create a single point of integration for all your online channels.
  3. Measuring a common cross-channel metric. Use of a common metric allows comparison among all channels and campaigns.

1. Create a cross-channel marketing strategy

Many marketing departments transformed their online marketing processes the same way: With each new online marketing technology, they added a new marketing manager, tactic, skill set, and channel-specific metrics. That has created marketing departments with strategies, tactics, and metrics that aren't aligned. Each channel is doing what it thinks it does best, but that may not be what's best for the company strategy.

To build a marketing strategy that aligns all channels and supports the company's strategic objectives, you must first identify your company's strategic themes. Whether you know them explicitly or not, most companies have two (and not more than three) strategic themes, which are complementary.

The following are a few common strategic themes for all organizations:

  • Build the brand.
  • Be cost effective.
  • Strive for customer intimacy.
  • Be a leading edge innovator.
  • Expand the franchise.
  • Focus on the niche.

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Ron Person is director of analytics for Sitecore, a provider of a Web content management system (CMS) software. His most recent book is Balanced Scorecards and Operational Dashboards with Microsoft Excel.