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The digitization of cross-channel marketing



Michel claassens

With such a diverse array of cross-channel marketing touch-points, the process of engaging with customers is more complex than ever before. We know what people are thinking and feeling at precise moments, and can anticipate their behavior and decision-making.


But it is only by planning how to incorporate multi-channel operations into corporate life ­– both in terms of digitizing our infrastructure and training staff to act in more agile, customer-centric ways – that we can truly harness the awesome power of such a marketing revolution.

Change is difficult, especially in large companies like Philips. But it can be inspiring, too. It’s not enough to simply have the tools and capability; we also need to change the way people think, behave and work within and between departments.

cross channel marketing

For marketing processes to evolve, we must embed change throughout the entire company. Our integrated, cross-channel digital marketing system has led us to retrain thousands of staff so they understand not just how to use the system and embed it into their jobs, but how to measure its impact. Building the system is not enough, staff need to understand the philosophy behind it.

And that philosophy is focused on engagement through utilizing extraordinarily detailed sets of data. Such information complements the way we go to market and the way in which we engage with our customers before, during and after launch. Data insights are crucial to managing the different digital touch-points where our customers engage with and buy Philips products, systems and services.


To manage these relationships in an optimal way, are building robust data models that focus on both product and customer, enabling us to interpret those data sets rapidly and effectively. For example, we insist upon capturing detailed cross-channel product information so that we can publish across different digital touch points, and then link customer interest to our offerings through additional sets of data, passing that information onto our sales force so they can capitalize on leads.

cross channel marketing

It’s vital, of course, to harvest high quality sets of data. So, we aim for a more sophisticated customer database (we need to be sensitive to the freedom we offer users in supplying us with data) and employ a ‘data marshall’ to manage the incoming material so it is kept consistent and controlled. This means that we can prevent the corrupting of data.

An old-fashioned 2-D website model has its limitations, so to ensure our data is rich, deep and empowering, our cross-channel marketing processes need to focus on behavioral targeting. We need to measure the behavior of people who visit through different touch-points and then monitor their interest by setting certain parameters – how long they stay on the website, the clicks they make, when they return, what times of day they visit.


These are the triggers that can help us build a vivid customer profile, allowing us to nurture anonymous users into named ones, via personalized engagement – asking, for example, if an individual wants to attend an event connected to the types of products he or she has been searching for.


The structure of that ‘nurture flow’ becomes integral to how we engage with customers, raise awareness of our products, systems and services and use data to build customer profiles. And all of that information from multiple channels and social platforms is centralized in one place – a powerful data hub fuelling not just highly targeted marketing strategies but the entire product chain, from innovation through to procurement and then sales.


By embedding such digital strategies end-to-end, we can better connect the physical product with digital capability. In that way, digital becomes a supremely efficient channel to create, inform, increase loyalty and sell.

MichaelClaasens image

Michel Claassens  

Head of Digital Marketing at Philips Lighting

Michel has over 15 years of experience in strategic digital marketing and of managing high performance global teams. He has led multiple successful global digital transformations in large complex organizations which have resulted in improved business revenue.


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