Cross Media is Just a Tool!

 Guest Blogger Feature

 By Dr. John Leininger, Professor, Clemson University


Cross media means different things to different people since there are so many different types of media you can cross over together. It does not have to stop at two. Some people confuse cross media with multi-channel marketing. The difference is that cross media strategically integrate two or more channels, where multi-channel marketing just introduces the same message through more than one channel.

Advertising a new flavor of soda in the newspaper, on billboards, on TV, or through a direct mail piece is an example of multi-channel marketing. All forms of media are promoting the same message of introducing you to the new soda, but there is no connection.

Now, if you have seen the TV commercials that leave you hanging, with the closing message to see the ending of the message on’s webpage…that is using a mass media option for first contact and then once you bring the consumer to the webpage you can start to gather information and create a working relationship with each prospective customer. The problem with this is timing and hitting a targeted audience.

In contrast, using direct mail to create a cross media experience allows you to target a specific demographic audience. You might segment the initial contact based on age, gender, geographical factors, purchasing power, number and age of children, etc. If you are mailing to various demographics you can even personalize the direct mail piece with images and text that target the right age, gender, ethnic background, etc. Once you have their attention, then you bring each prospective customer to a web page that might be personalized for a group (ex. gender), referred to as GURL (a general universal resource locator) or you could create a PURL (personalized universal resource locator).

Once you have zeroed-in on the person you can create a web page that is more informative and it can also be interactive. This allows for a continued interaction between the company and the customer, solidly reinforcing the concept of a cross media marketing campaign.

There are many different media options that can be combined. Below is a sample list. Depending upon the audience, the tools need to be selected just as you would select a tool to build a house. You can hammer in a screw or pound in a nail with a screwdriver, put the outcome will not be optimum.

  • Personalized Direct Mail with a PURL
  • Personalized E-Mail with a PURL
  • All Mass Media with GURL or PURL
  • QR Codes
  • Social Media
  • Mobile Marketing
  • SMS [Short message (or messaging) service]
  • Real-time leads to sales team by territory

The bottom line, cross media is only a tool and you need to know how to use it before you commit to a campaign. Next time we will talk about testing to determine what works best.

See the ROI benefits of a cross media campaign, from a familiar face… Fineline’s client The Indianapolis Motor Speedway: IMS Case Study.

To learn more about Fineline’s integrated marketing products, go here.

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