Steve O'Brien is Unica's VP of Internet Solutions Marketing, and I had a chance to talk to him about cross channel integration. This is an area of great focus for Unica, and Steve made some great observations as to why cross channel integration is important.
For example, if you have someone who is a loyal customer at your brick and mortar store, and you are also in email contact with them, you want to tailor your messaging to them based on the knowledge you have of their behavior. If they are frequent online customers, you want to tailor your message to that as well. Or, if they are frequent buyers of one type of product, you can target promotional activity towards their preferences.
All of this is subject to the privacy preferences of the individual, of course, but many people are willing to share that type of information in order to get better service. Once they have decided that they are willing to share that data, it is important to make effective use of it with marketing messages tailored to their preferences.
Another great application for cross channel integration is the implementation of programs to move people from using your call center for support to using online support. The cost differences are dramatic. Doing this well requires a strong understanding of which users are using the call center a lot, and not using the online support center.
Then you can selectively mail the right people to tell them about the advantages of online support, such as no call wait time. In addition, you can not annoy those people who are using your online support with a message the don't want pitching them on something they already use.