Cross Channel and Multichannel can both be very successful, however knowing the difference between the two and how to execute both strategies is crucial.
I was in a meeting with an ad tech company recently, listening to its executives pitch the company's "multichannel" capabilities. Fair enough, I thought, their platform can execute buys in more than one channel. Pretty standard stuff. But as they described their capabilities in more detail, it struck me that what they were really talking about was their ability to find and target an individual user across a range of channels.
In using the term "multichannel" in this context, they were falling into a trap that many in the industry have been falling into for a long time now: incorrectly conflating multichannel and cross-channel. I have been arguing for a while now that they are very different things.
"Multichannel" is buying several channels concurrently to broadcast the same, or nearly the same, message.
"Cross-channel" is connecting with an individual across a range of channels to move that individual through the customer journey.