Cross-Channel Strategies That Unite Online and Offline

Michael McCarthy By Michael McCarthy Aug 27, 2020

Modern consumers move between offline and online marketing channels so swiftly that you won’t catch up with them using outdated strategies. One second, they’re browsing your website—the next, dialing your contact center. While you cannot fully control customer behavior, you can benefit from it by letting customer interactions guide how your brand engages with its users.

Cross-channel customer engagement strategies allow marketers to synchronize multiple channels and engage potential customers across them in thoughtful, cohesive ways. Regardless of the chosen point of contact, brands need to communicate the message they’re putting out in a consistent manner. This boosts customer satisfaction and helps you outperform competitors, since only 9% of marketers consistently engage customers across channels.

Customer Engagement: Benefits and Current Marketing Trends

Customer engagement includes all experiences and interactions with your customers. Each of these interactions is an opportunity to strengthen your relationships with consumers through whatever channels they use. In other words, it’s an approach that puts consumers and their preferences at the center and lays the foundation of a customer-centric marketing strategy. This makes your marketing efforts more effective overall and yields many other benefits:

  • Continuous engagement can build long-term relationships with customers, increasing their lifetime value, and promoting trust.
  • Since digital communications can be easily personalized, your marketing feels more human and responsive to what customers expect. This makes people feel connected to the brand and powers customer loyalty.

These are just the general benefits of modern customer engagement—it’s possible to see even stronger results by leveraging additional messaging channels (think web messaging, direct mail, or OTT business messaging) or tactics (think message personalization, triggered campaigns, etc.). Which of them to choose is up to you.

Offline and Online Marketing Channels for Cross-Channel Customer Engagement Campaigns

The most challenging thing about cross-channel customer engagement is the number of touchpoints you will need to connect. The more channels you use, the more complex integrations you may need. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on offline and online marketing channels that are best suited for customer engagement and for your brand’s unique needs and goals.

Digital marketing channels for customer engagement

When deciding what online marketing channels to choose as your brand’s main touchpoints, consider the most popular options first. Practically everyone has a social media account, reads content marketing materials, navigates the web, and uses a smartphone. So it will likely make sense for your brand to start out by testing the following approaches:

1. Push notifications and in-app messages

Building an app isn’t enough—you need to keep customers engaged by sending the right messages on the channels they use the most. Just avoid being too pushy and make sure what you’re saying adds value to their experience.

2. Paid search and contextual ads

Segment the target audience to offer them products that match their tastes on Google Search, visited websites, and social media. You can also use online ads to promote new products to loyal customers that might show interest in fresh arrivals.

3. Email

Send follow-ups, promote your products, express gratitude, or try to win customers back through emails. And, with modern marketing software, you can customize email content and delivery to ensure you’re always reaching customers on their terms.

4. Social media marketing

45% of marketers are satisfied with the volume of leads generated by social media. You can join their number by leaning into tailored social content, interesting posts, and personalized customer service offerings leveraging social. Use the customer data collected through other channels to better understand what consumers want even before they ask directly. This will make your cross-channel customer engagement strategy more data-driven and hence more likely to succeed.

Top offline marketing channels for customer engagement

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has limited offline interactions, it has also made them more valuable. It turns out that despite the strong impact of online marketing strategies, real-life communication still matters...and sometimes it’s the best way to capture your customers’ attention. That’s why you should use offline channels alongside digital marketing campaigns. Consider the following touchpoints to choose from:

1. Contact center

If you run a large ecommerce business, emails, website chats, or social media messages aren’t going to be enough to cover all your customers’ needs. In fact, even today 48% of consumers prefer to communicate with companies over the phone. Since customers also expect to quickly solve their problems and avoid repeating the same story to different support representatives, your support team must be able to access customer information obtained through other channels to inform their interactions with consumers. Similarly, connecting the systems they use with the rest of your customer engagement stack can help to prevent awkward, broken experiences (for instance, asking a customer to rate your app...while they still have a customer service ticket outstanding).

2. Direct mail marketing

Mail marketing is a perfect solution to engage those who haven’t heard a lot about your company or ignore online messages. Send personalized postcards to greet customers with their birthday, deliver remarketing mailings to reactive leads, inform about special offers with flyers, and more. Thanks to marketing software, modern direct mail is easy to integrate with other offline and online marketing channels, targeted, and highly personalized.

The Inkit and Braze Direct Mail Integration: Supporting Cross-Channel Customer Engagement Strategies via Offline and Online Marketing Channels

When you’re looking at leveraging online and offline marketing channels, it’s important not to see it as an either/or choice—ideally, you should consider combining different channels to make interactions complementary and to keep your use of any given channel from overwhelming recipients.

The Braze platform covers all the main digital channels, including mobile, emails, and the web, when it comes to cross-channel customer engagement campaigns. To bring in that complementary offline aspect, you can easily add mail marketing using the Inkit/Braze direct mail integration. This use of direct mail allows marketers to connect offline and online marketing channels in tailored and trigger-based mailing campaigns. A cross-channel strategy based on this integration between Braze and Inkit has a range of significant advantages:

  • Inkit + Braze direct mail may be based on online triggers and events that happen across all connected touchpoints (mobile, web, social, and email, for instance). This allows marketers to unite offline and online marketing channels in a single, cohesive strategy
  • Inkit + Braze direct mail leverages fully automated printing and delivery to allow for timely inclusion in your cross-channel campaigns.
  • Inkit + Braze direct mail taps into the rich personalization capabilities of Braze and ultimate mail delivery accuracy provided by Inkit to support full-spectrum personalization in your outreach.
  • Inkit + Braze direct mail is based on a direct integration between the two platforms, which makes customer data more secure and supports more effective coordination between your online and offline channels.
  • Inkit + Braze direct mail doesn’t require marketers to have specialized technical expertise to successfully configure cross-channel customer engagement campaigns.

For more information on how to make online/offline cross-channel campaigns a reality, check out the full deal on the Braze and Inkit integration.

Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy is a CEO and Founder of Inkit, a Software as a Service (SaaS) business that connects offline with the digital world. With a strong background in tech, marketing, and finance, he is an expert in automating offline customer communications and empowering teams with essential customer communications data.

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