Multi-channel marketing definitely has its advantages. Several studies have shown a campaign that employs multiple channels is more effective than running single-threaded campaigns featuring the same offers. Customers spend more, and a greater number of them respond. This means more conversions, lower customer acquisition costs, and better ROI for marketing campaigns.
Before jumping into a multi-channel campaign strategy, however, spend some time on research. To make investments in multi-channel pay off, marketers should be able to identify their audiences, understand where to reach them, and be clear about why customers buy their product or service. They must also be able to connect the channels.
Who is the Audience?
Most organizations have several audiences. They may be separated by age groups, geography, or many other factors. The characteristics of each audience will affect the messaging, imagery, and the distribution channels in a multi-channel campaign. Therefore, marketers must be clear about who they are attempting to reach. B2B transactions involve several decision-makers or influencers (personas) within a targeted company, so a single prospect can have many audiences.
It may seem that adding channels would automatically make marketing material more productive because it exposes the content to a greater number of potential buyers. That isn’t necessarily true. Multi-channel marketing isn’t about volume; it’s about getting the right messages seen by the right people. Multiple channel distribution improves the odds of achieving this goal.
How Will You Reach Them?
Channel choice combines applying known (or assumed) data about audience preferences and selecting mediums well-suited to the product or campaign. There is no magic formula. Many marketers use their instincts and then watch the results, making adjustments or trying different channels as necessary.
Interviewing or surveying customers is a great way to gain insight into where they spend their time and how they research purchase decisions. This preliminary work can keep marketers from wasting time on non-productive channels while they develop a multi-channel strategy for their company.
Why Do They Buy?
Customers don’t buy products or services. They buy solutions. Marketers must understand the challenges and problems faced by their target audiences and connect them to the product being sold. Blogs and social media are good channels for this purpose, particularly if they are interactive communications instead of purely broadcast mediums.
Trustworthiness and reputation are also factors controlling purchase decisions. White papers, case studies, and testimonials can show off a company’s knowledge and their ability to solve customer problems.
Value is a make or break decision point. Publishing printed comparison charts or providing online ROI calculators or product configuration tools are helpful in this area.
How Will You Tie It All Together?
Part of the value of multi-channel marketing is repetition enabled by strategies such as online ads, email drip sequences, and repetitive direct mail. Even more powerful is using a connection made in one channel to enable further communication in another. Printed materials can include personal URL’s (PURLS), QR codes, or augmented reality. Social media posts can direct readers to blogs or landing pages on the web.
Marketers can connect print and digital channels in both directions. They can easily send customers from printed materials to static or dynamic online content to fill out forms, watch a video, or download eBooks, for example. Online actions can also generate personalized printed communications, such as mailed catalogs, coupons, or offers. Most companies outsource the actual fulfillment work to a print/mail service provider.
A multi-channel marketing strategy includes more than simply sending the same message through multiple outlets. To achieve maximum benefit from this method requires research, planning, testing, and adjusting.
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