If you’re like most people, you use multiple technology devices on a given day. Maybe when you wake up, you check your email on your phone, then move to your desktop for work, followed by a little leisure time on your tablet in the evening.

This device-hopping has become a factor for how brands market to customers, and it’s something you need a plan of attack for in your own business. Reaching consumers now requires a multi-tiered strategy that ensures that you communicate with them on each device they use in the most appropriate way to engage them.

What Cross-Device Marketing Looks Like

For this example, let’s say you sell cashmere sweaters for women online. Potential customer Yvonne searches for “women cashmere sweaters” from her smartphone and your Google AdWords ad appears in search results. She clicks your ad, peruses your products, but ultimately doesn’t make a purchase.

Later when Yvonne has some free time, she hops on her tablet and visits her Facebook app. ‘Lo and behold: your ad appears on her sidebar. She makes note of it, and then proceeds to laugh at cute puppy videos. The next morning before work, she’s on her laptop and spies yet another of your ads on her favorite news site. She gives in, clicks, and buys from you.

Now that Google offers cross-device retargeting, a consumer who engages with your ad or branded content on one channel will see related content when she’s logged onto another device. This gives you more opportunity to grab potential customers’ attention, no matter where they are.

The Downside of Trying to Reach Customers This Way

Cross-device marketing is still in its infancy, but now that we know that 60% of all digital interaction happens on a smartphone or tablet and 40% on a PC, the need to figure out the formula has never been more needed.

The problem is: we’ve been marketing to devices the last few years, not people. And so marketers have had an understandably difficult time really connecting in a meaningful way with their audience.

Early adopters have realized that simply repurposing ad content for different devices isn’t working. People have different expectations about the content they engage with, depending on the device they’re using. This is where not really understanding your audience and what they want is a huge drawback. Yes, it takes effort to meet customers where they are, so if you’re not willing to do that, you will fail at cross-device marketing.

Why You Can’t Ignore It

One of the biggest complaints of brands who invest in digital advertising is having an over inflated ad spend without getting the results they aimed for. If you want to display an ad to a potential lead 5 times and you’re not using cross-device marketing, they might see your ad 5 times on each device they use, overwhelming them with your in-your-face presence, and costing you much more than you budgeted to try to convert that one lead.

Customers give you clues about who they are and what they want. They’re tech-savvy and rely on multiple devices throughout the day. Ignoring how they’re using them means you’re missing out on serious opportunity to have a conversation with them. On the other hand, staying close to them across all devices they use means you will continually deliver exactly what they’re looking for at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

As you build your advertising and marketing strategy for 2017, make sure that you include how you will reach your audience across multiple devices.

Here's what the DMA has to say: