Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy
Every passing day marketing is becoming more and more difficult for companies belonging to all verticals. The high competition and significant presence of companies in the digital medium make the situation even worse.
Multi-channel marketing offers an effective way for marketers to reach a wider audience and boost their chances of getting a response from the targeted audience. However, many businesses are still not taking a multichannel approach to their marketing efforts.
Here in this guide, we will explain what does multi-channel marketing means and why businesses must consider implementing them. Furthermore, the article also discusses the challenges involved in implementing a multi-channel marketing strategy and even discusses how to overcome those challenges.
What is Multi-Channel Marketing?
Multi-channel marketing is a marketing strategy that combines different distribution and promotional channels in a unified manner to attract prospective customers. It is one of the most efficient ways for companies to communicate with their prospects and highlight the value of their products or services.
Some of the most popular communication channels in multi-channel marketing campaigns are:
- Direct Mail
- Social Media
- Display Ads
- Website Content
- Retail Storefront
You can include even more communication channels in your multi-channel marketing strategy depending on your unique marketing goals. Using such diverse channels also makes it easier for customers to procure products or redeem coupons through their preferred channels.
For example, let’s say that you provide a discount code on direct mail you send to your customers. Let us also assume that this discount is redeemable on a website or brick-and-mortar store. The customer can choose whichever option is most convenient for them.
Similarly, you can make the discount code redeemable exclusively in the store or website. It is an effective way for businesses to boost traffic to a specific distribution channel.
Benefits Of Multi Channel Marketing System
Multi-channel marketing strategy offers numerous advantages to marketers and business owners. It is not surprising that the popularity of multi-channel marketing strategies is growing every passing day. A study published on a Harvard Business School-affiliated website claims that customers spend two to five times more through multi-channel than single-channel marketing.
Regardless of whether these numbers are true or not, multi-channel marketing offers some great advantages to businesses. Some of the significant benefits of using multi-channel marketing are discussed below.
#1 Expand The Reach Of Your Marketing Campaigns
The main advantage of employing a multi-channel strategy is the significantly greater reach of your marketing campaign. When using just a single channel for marketing a product or service, you can only target a very small audience compared to multiple channels.
Most customers interact with multiple communication channels, and most of these interactions are on digital media. However, customers also prefer not to see any ads while browsing through channels such as social media and email.
Incorporating another channel such as direct mail into your marketing mix can enhance your reach. Furthermore, many of your target customers may not be present on a specific channel. Diversifying your marketing channels ensures that you can reach more prospective customers.
#2 Increase Your Marketing Engagements
By increasing the number of marketing channels, you effectively increase the number of customer touchpoints. It means that your customers or prospects will have the opportunity to engage with your brand.
Furthermore, when you use a multi-channel marketing approach, the customer can choose a communication channel. Some customers prefer shopping from a physical store, while others prefer shopping online. A multi-channel marketing approach can meet the needs of both customers and boost your engagements.
#3 Meet The Customers Where They Are
In the highly competitive market we have today, marketers can no longer afford to come to them. Companies must find the channels where their target audience has a significant presence and pitch their products/services there.
The customers who intend to buy also play a vital role in the success of your marketing efforts. For example, a TV ad may be enough for customers who only have a cursory interest in what you are selling. In comparison, a customer who is seriously considering your product/service will likely read detailed reviews before purchasing.
#4 Marketing Campaigns Are More Effective When You Combine Channels
Multi-channel marketing campaigns create more opportunities for marketers to deliver an impactful message to their customers. Furthermore, such messaging considers the customer journey.
More often than not, the combination of two marketing channels turns out to be more effective than either of the channels used individually. You can understand this difference better through the multi-channel marketing examples discussed below.
Social Media & Television
Let’s assume that a business uses TVs for marketing a product it is selling. Using TV ads alone is not enough for customers to recognize your brand. Still, when you bring Social media to the mix, everything changes. Social media is a channel that lets marketers run highly targeted and frequent ads.
As a result, companies can reinforce their marketing messages and familiarize the audience with their brand. And the next time the customer sees the TV ad, they will automatically recall your brand. The process keeps on repeating until your prospects can identify your brand at a glance.
Direct Mail & Website
Many marketers have ignored direct mail as a marketing channel for years now because of the complex processes it involves. However, direct mail offers one of the best response rates a marketing channel can offer. Furthermore, software solutions like PostGrid can automate the direct mail process.
You can use the high response rate of direct mail to target customers who ignore your marketing emails. Include a discount coupon that the customer can redeem on your website to ensure they take the next step. You can use a QR Code or PURL in the mailer so that customers can conveniently access your website.
Challenges Involved In Multi-Channel Marketing
We know that the multi-channel marketing strategy combines different marketing channels. Even running a marketing campaign using a single channel can sometimes be overwhelming. Hence, it is natural to encounter some challenges when implementing a multi-channel marketing strategy.
Luckily for you, we will list some of the major challenges you are likely to encounter so that you can prepare yourself for the inevitable. So, here is a list of major challenges you should expect when implementing a multi-channel marketing strategy.
#1 Managing Multiple Channels Together
One of the challenges you will face when implementing a multi-channel marketing campaign is managing the different channels together. The more channels you incorporate into your marketing campaign, the more challenging it will be to manage the campaign.
It means companies need to be ready to pour in additional time, resources, money, and above all, effort when creating their multi-channel marketing strategy. Furthermore, you must be extra careful about the combination of marketing channels you choose as it can influence the effectiveness of your campaign.
How To Counter The Challenge?
Data Sharing And Cross-Communication Within The Company: The best way to ensure easy management of your multi-channel marketing campaign is to encourage data sharing and cross-communication within the company. Break down heavily siloed departments in your organization and bring together different teams, including finance, operations, and marketing.
Doing so will help you understand the various aspects of customer behavior that the marketing team may be unaware of. The combined data and knowledge from different departments are crucial in determining how to manage your marketing campaign.
#2 Keeping Accurate Track Of Marketing Attribution
Marketing attribution is vital for marketers to optimize their different marketing campaigns. When it comes to multi-channel marketing campaigns, the role of marketing attribution is even more vital. As you employ a larger number of marketing channels, it becomes increasingly difficult which channel or message triggered a response from the customer.
Suppose businesses cannot find which marketing channel or message works for them and which doesn’t. In that case, they cannot optimize their marketing efforts. There is also a good chance that companies will waste money on marketing messages that do to get the desired results.
How To Counter The Challenge?
Use An Effective Attribution Strategy: Businesses must employ an effective attribution strategy to keep track of their marketing efforts on the different channels. According to the Multichannel Marketing Survey 2019 from Gartner, Media Mix Modeling or MMM is an attribution strategy employed by most business organizations.
A significant portion of businesses also use Multi-Touch Attribution or MTA for their attribution strategy. However, many marketers feel that these attribution strategies don’t provide a holistic view of their multi-channel marketing strategy.
Unified Marketing Measurement is another attribution strategy that quickly gains popularity among businesses. It provides accurate insights on impressions/engagements across various marketing channels, whether online or offline.
#3 Complex Marketing Analytics
Marketing analytics is not something that businesses have to struggle with as long as they have the right tools. However, the analytics part of marketing gets a lot more complicated when employing a multi-channel marketing campaign.
Some of the most common analytics challenges in multi-channel marketing campaigns involve the following:
- Leveraging customer data
- Adding new data to existing customer profiles
- Ensuring data quality
Such issues can be disheartening for the marketing team and pose many operational challenges in optimizing their marketing efforts.
How To Counter The Challenge?
Use Advanced Analytics Platforms: You can significantly simplify data analysis for your business by employing advanced analytics platforms, even if you are relatively new to marketing. It would be best to consider using tools with advanced analytic capabilities for each channel.
For example, MailChimp comes with superior data analytics for its automated email campaigns. Even for offline marketing channels like direct mail, you have tools like PostGrid that automate your entire direct mail process and provide advanced analytics.
Provide Necessary Training For Marketers
Even if your business has some of the most advanced analytics solutions, your marketers still need to be able to put the data together. Hence, providing adequate training to marketers to identify relevant data and use them should be a priority.
#4 Update Yourself With The Latest Marketing Innovations
The marketing landscape is rapidly changing, with new potential channels and platforms for marketing emerging every day. Take social media platforms, for example. Just a few years ago, Orkut was a mainstream social media channel.
Today it’s so irrelevant that many people do not even know about its existence. At the same time, other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok saw exponential growth. Similarly, smart devices such as smart TVs and smartwatches were alien concepts just a few years ago.
Mastering a new platform or channel can be challenging, especially when there is no precedent. It only gets tougher for multi-channel marketing because the whole idea is based on diversifying the channels you employ for marketing.
How To Counter The Challenge?
Research Up-And-Coming Channels: The only way to counter the challenges posed by new-and-coming channels is to do your research. Companies must always look for new technologies and devices that can be incorporated into their multi-channel marketing campaigns.
#5 Quality Targeting Of Message
Drafting a quality marketing message is perhaps one of the toughest things for a marketer. Even if you have a way of ensuring that the prospects see your message, it may still not be enough for a conversion. A quality marketing message must resonate with the target audience and their values.
You can see only such impactful messages with quality message targeting. Furthermore, the communication channel you use can greatly influence your messaging. For example, the attention span for online messages such as texts or emails is relatively low.
This low attention span means that the reader can often get distracted by other notifications when they are viewing a message on their phone. Whereas messages on offline marketing channels like direct mail offer zero distractions, enabling you to use relatively longer messages.
How To Counter The Challenge?
Use Demographic And Psychographic Data: Make sure your marketing messages are based on the customer’s demographic and psychographic data. This data enables marketers to create a quality targeting message that resonates with their target audience.
Additionally, companies must also look at the purchasing history of their target audience and their most frequented channels. Taking an in-depth, personalized approach to the marketing messages works best for your multi-channel marketing campaigns.
How To Implement A Multi Channel Marketing Strategy Successfully?
Above, we discussed the challenges in implementing a multi-channel marketing strategy. Let’s see how you can implement a successful multi-channel marketing strategy despite these challenges. The first thing marketers need to do is pick the correct marketing channels based on their target audience.
We also know that companies need to develop the right marketing or creative content that resonates with their target audience. All of this ultimately points to one thing: a better understanding of marketing data.
A business organization that successfully understands the marketing data and uses it strategically and effectively succeeds in its multi-channel marketing campaign. Below we list the key steps businesses can take to understand marketing data better and create a successful multi-channel marketing strategy.
Step 1: Avoid Organizational Silos
One of the main operational challenges in implementing a multi-channel marketing approach is the organizational silos. The worst thing about organizational silos is that they develop and spread naturally like a virus unless you take extra precautions to avoid them.
Humans have a natural tendency to stay loyal to their specific groups whenever they are given a chance. Such tendencies can lead to people not sharing information or datasets with members of other teams in an organization.
As a result, your communications get disrupted, and collaboration between groups becomes increasingly difficult. You need to bring your whole organization together and unite them with a single purpose or goal. Furthermore, it would help to encourage internal communication between teams through activities and clubbing their responsibilities.
Step 2: Use a Multi-Channel Marketing Platform
One of the essential aspects of implementing a multi-channel marketing strategy is a robust marketing measurement and optimization platform. Such marketing technologies help companies to track their campaigns across various marketing channels.
But, what makes it unique is that the tracking data is shared with every relevant department, so everyone is on the same page. Furthermore, these marketing technologies provide advanced analytics that allow your business to evaluate the customer’s purchase journey.
As a result, you can get more accurate marketing attribution, enabling you to get reliable behavioral insights for specific channels. You may then use this information to optimize your multi-channel marketing efforts.
Step 3: Understand The Target Audience
Every marketing strategy requires you to understand your target audience. But, when it comes to multi-channel marketing, the importance of understanding the audience is much more severe. Marketers must conduct extensive market research across various channels and create buyer personas.
You may then use these personas to determine which marketing mediums or channels they frequent. It will also tell you what type of ads the audience engages with most and reveal the relevant demographic data.
Use A/B Testing To Check The Validity Of Buyer Persona
The best way to check whether the buyer persona that you came up with is accurate or not is to test it. A/B testing is the best way to determine whether specific aspects of your marketing campaign, such as the messaging, the visuals, etc. resonated with the customer the way you had hoped. You can keep using the A/B test to find the optimal marketing solution for your marketing campaign.
Step 4: Ensure Consistency In Messaging
One of the common mistakes marketers make when implementing a multi-channel marketing campaign is not ensuring consistency in their messaging. However, consistency here is not about repeatedly sending the same message to your target audience.
Consistency in messaging, especially for multi-channel marketing, is about maintaining a consistent brand image and tone in the communications. It means it is okay to change the wording of your message as long as the message still aligns with your brand’s image and attitude.
Step 5: Use Advanced Marketing Tools For Specific Channels
Use advanced marketing tools for the relevant marketing channel. There are several advantages of using advanced software solutions for your multi-channel marketing. They enable you to automate a significant part of your marketing efforts, saving you valuable time and avoiding unnecessary errors.
For example, PostGrid is an advanced direct mail automation tool that enables businesses to automate their direct mail marketing fully. It also allows business access to advanced insights and analytic data, essential for multi-channel marketing.
Advanced systems like PostGrid enable you to connect it to your CRM system for easy and accurate personalization. Furthermore, you can integrate such software solutions into your other marketing software and even implement omnichannel marketing campaigns.
Omnichannel marketing is an even more advanced version of multi-channel marketing.
Multi-channel marketing strategies enable companies to take a more holistic approach towards marketing and reach a wider audience. It offers numerous advantages, such as increased engagements and more effective marketing campaigns.
However, there are several challenges involved in multi-channel marketing too. Companies must employ advanced software solutions specific to each marketing channel to overcome these challenges. PostGrid is a direct mail automation tool that perfectly exemplifies how software solutions can streamline multi-channel marketing campaigns.
Systems like PostGrid come equipped with advanced insights and analytic capabilities. Furthermore, it allows you to automate your entire direct mail marketing campaign and connect it with your other marketing tools.
Additionally, most advanced solutions also offer other features to help you create effective marketing campaigns. For example, PostGrid’s system offers an address verification API that ensures the validity of mailing addresses. It can help you streamline your direct mail campaigns and enhance the quality of your customer database.