Our means of doing marketing has come a long way. Today, there are plenty of different approaches marketers can use when it comes to advancing their products or service. Emerging channels such as digital marketing enabled many companies to reach their target audience across the globe and drove them to expand to deliver its corresponding demands. Also, the techniques provided by digital marketing are highly measurable especially in determining traffic and quantifying results.
On the other hand, traditional marketing channels such as tri-media advertising remain relevant and effective. It may be true that measuring the success of a campaign that relies on TV, radio, and print can be a challenge, but they still make for good alternatives especially for customers that do not always have Internet access. Face-to-face interaction is another edge traditional marketing has over digital marketing and is still preferred by many consumers when dealing transactions.
Case in point: with the variety of techniques available to us, each with its own set of advantages, the field of marketing has evidently expanded, and the possibilities are practically limitless. It also made connecting with clients, customers, and other business partners easier. But what if you can combine all the techniques effective for your business to form one powerful marketing strategy?
This is where multichannel marketing comes in. A promising marketing approach with the strategy of achieving business success by making the customer’s journey as convenient as possible. In this post, you will learn what multichannel marketing is, its importance, and how you can pull it off.
Multichannel Marketing Defined
The core premise of multichannel marketing is providing your customers multiple channels – both direct and indirect – and giving them the power to choose which means they prefer communicating with you throughout the buying process.
Say, for instance, you’re running a real estate business. Apart from having a website, you also have an office where you can accommodate potential clients. While clients may have learned about you online and first made inquiries through email, they may prefer to visit you at the office or receive a catalog via post to learn about your services. By offering your customers several ways to inquire, browse, shop, and avail of customer support, you increase the chances of achieving your business goals faster.
Regardless of the channels you make available, the whole point of multichannel marketing is giving your clients a holistic and satisfying customer experience by giving them options and control.
Importance of Multichannel Marketing
The multichannel approach to marketing may still have a lot to prove as a successful strategy, but it has shown its share of advantages. Here are three of those benefits:
1. It makes You Omnipresent
One of the limitations of tri-media advertising is the time it took for traction to occur. This changed when the Internet was introduced to modern marketing and applied to the traditional techniques. Since then, customers can quickly look up a product or service from the comfort of their home.
Using multichannel marketing means being accessible from every place your customers believe is convenient, whether it’s your website, your social networking profiles, your mobile app, or your brick-and-mortar shop. Utilizing these channels would mean better exposure for your brand since you are easy to find, and can give you an edge over your competitors.
2. It Shows You Which Channels Work Well Together
Multichannel marketing, as a practice, encourages putting at least two channels to work together when used in a campaign. If in the past, marketers were compelled to customize – for example, ad copy – according to specific channels (TV, radio, print, website), with multichannel marketing you integrate one channel with another to come up with copy that will either work for every platform or complement its match. This allows marketers to experiment with different channels and figure out which ones are effective when put together.
Take for example a magazine ad that comes with a QR code. While the print version works as the main advert, the QR code will allow your target audience to access your website, a promo, or other information pertinent to the print ad.
3. It Makes Your Brand Customer-Friendly
Going multichannel gives you the opportunity to cater to the multitasking slice of the consumer pie. These people are also the ones who have the best access to information using the best devices available. Enabling your customers to get in touch with you using their preferred devices significantly increases the chances of conversions.
Also, being omnipresent across multiple platforms can draw attention to your brand. It also increases the possibility of your customers communicating with you whether it’s in the form of inquiries, orders, or feedback – all of which are critical to running a business efficiently.
Challenges to Multichannel Marketing
As multichannel marketing becomes more prevalent by the day, those who implement it have the headway of making improvements to the technique. However, speed bumps are also encountered and included in them are these risks:
1. Mediums Management
Many marketers would probably agree that to handle a campaign using a preferred medium can be overwhelming, but to supervise a campaign distributed through multiple channels is a different story.
Ideally, the use of multichannel marketing is to help brands communicate a clear message through all mediums used, but sometimes a generic copy that isn’t modified to suit each channel can risk sending irrelevant messages.
2. Knowing Your Audience
It is crucial to any marketing campaign to know who you’re talking to, and this is why it’s imperative that marketers determine who their target audience is. Some build audience and buyer personas, while others go as far as conducting surveys to make sure they know to whom they should address their message. However, not all marketers are keen on identifying their target demographic and simply rely on the assumption that their ads will not go amiss just because it’s highly visible across platforms.
While this is possible, multichannel marketing isn’t just about reaching out to as many people as possible. For it to be effective, marketers should be able to identify their target market and to tailor the brand’s message into what appeals to every portion part of that demographic.
3. Optimizing the Channels
Having a marketing omnipresence is like having powers, but they can only be considered special when you know how to use them. One of the pressing challenges of multichannel marketing to practitioners is the optimization of preferred channels .
Optimization of the mediums you use in multichannel marketing will give you a good and accurate idea how your channels are performing and/or what kind of results they are getting. These are essential types of data that will help you improve certain aspects of the campaign, and you can learn more about this later in this post.
Multichannel Marketing vs. Cross-channel Marketing
Many people often confuse multichannel marketing with cross-channel marketing and use them interchangeably as they share the same meaning. But the fact is, while these two have similar characteristics, they have different meanings and shouldn’t be traded off for the other.
Multichannel marketing means having an active presence across several marketing channels or platforms. These may include promoting through your website, sending brochures via mail, or meeting with clients in person.
Cross-channel marketing is a lot like the multichannel approach in the sense that cross-channel means that you are present in various advertising platforms. However, its main distinction is that in cross-channel marketing, you should be able to interchange these platforms so that they practically work as one effortlessly. Either that or one platform supplements one platform until customers convert their interest into sales.
Take online shopping, for example. A customer may have been browsing your online catalog but eventuallyabandons the cart without buying anything. You can use a cross-channel strategy to remarket your products by posting your ads in websites the customer will visit next so that they will be reminded of the items they were initially looking for.
You can also make use ofemail marketing as a cross-channel. Basically, the goal is to complete the buying process by redirecting the customer back to the online catalog and making a purchase.
How to Do Multichannel Marketing Right
The thought of using several channels in every marketing campaign may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Below are fundamental steps to making sure that your multichannel marketing efforts are on the right track.
1. Identify Your Target Market
Knowing your target audience is the cornerstone to every marketing campaign. If you have been familiar with different marketing strategies for quite some time, you might already have an idea how to determine your audience, who and where they are, their socio-economic status, age range, and buying behavior. These are all important when tweaking your sales pitch depending on the platform so as to appeal to the share of the audience who prefer that channel.
2. Choose Your Channels and Set Your Goals
Some marketers fail at using multichannel marketing because they fall short in setting goals for each platform they use. While a marketing campaign set to utilize a multichannel approach should serve a general objective, you should also set goals for every channel in the program, and make sure that these channels work together.
It’s also important that you choose the channels involved in your campaign. Just because there’re a wealth of platforms available doesn’t mean you have to use all of them. You should only enlist those that will best echo your brand message and your target audience prefers.
For instance, if millennials are your target audience, it’s highly likely that they prefer to shop using their mobile phones. On the other hand, middle-aged consumers might find it more convenient to browse through an online catalog using their computer or receive a detailed brochure in the mail. These are some of the things you need to determine when creating a multichannel marketing campaign.
3. Provide a Consistent Customer Experience
Multichannel marketing may compel you to customize your approach according to the channel, but it’s crucial that your brand message keeps a consistent message and value regardless of the platform your customers are using.
Customers also tend to switch from one channel to another, and it’s important that the message they see remains consistent. This helps the customers retain as much product information as they can and keep them focused on the purchase.
4. Maximize Each Channel’s Capacity
Your chosen platforms are only as effective as how you utilize them. Multichannel marketing is about giving people choices to make their experience as convenient as possible. This means that you need to utilize each channel optimally, not just for the sake of using them. For instance, if you’re selling makeup, you can shoot tutorial videos using your own products and post them on your YouTube channel. This is an opportunity that other social networking sites will not afford you.
However, you can still use your other social media profiles by promoting different types of content from your other sources. Twitter may have a character limit, but it’s an ideal place to launch hashtag campaigns. Pinterest is perfect for photos, while Facebook is good for promos. The point is, whatever channel you decide to use, take full advantage of it by putting up the type of content that fits it best.