Let’s face it, as marketers we face a big challenge these days getting our message across to our target audiences. In the Mad Men era, all we had to worry about was print, radio and a dozen TV channels. But today, consumers are researching and making purchase decisions across many, many different platforms/channels including:
- Retail stores
- Paid and organic search
- Direct mail
- Mobile and more
These days, potential customers can be anywhere. So the savvy marketer develops multi-channel marketing strategies to find them, persuade them, and help them make a purchase when, where, and how they want.
What does this get you?
- Improved brand exposure: By developing multiple avenues for conveying your message, you’ll improve overall brand recognition and your ability to attract new customers.
- More point-of-sale options: The more channels you can provide, the greater your chances of completing the sale.
- Better data: Having more touch points in your marketing funnel allows you to collect more customer data, which will help you understand how well your promotions are working and where they work best.
- A stronger brand: as you adapt your brand to work in multiple channels, you get to hone your message and find new ways to deliver clear, compelling customer benefits that work best in the channels in which they live.
While there’s a tremendous advantage to providing customers with multiple channels to interact with your business, there are some drawbacks:
- Your business might align with a single channel: Multi-channel marketing is easier for some companies than others. For example, if your product is complex, it may be better suited to in-person meetings or over-the-phone conversations to close the sale. However, you can still use multiple channels to generate leads, convey information and increase overall brand awareness.
- Your marketing mix can become harder to manage: Successful multi-channel marketing requires a broader skill set, which can be overwhelming because businesses are always in the learning mode. In addition, the offers and corresponding consumer experience all need to align, which is not an easy task.
- It can be more expensive: Multi-channel marketing takes more resources, in terms of time and budget. But the upside potential will make the added effort and expense worth it.
Tips for succeeding
- Avoid silos: Make sure your customers and prospects have the best possible experience regardless of channel. Responsiveness and ease of ordering need to be carefully monitored, whether in-store, online, mobile, or over the phone. Never forget, people who have had a negative experience are happy to share it with others!
- Test, test and test again: Don’t be afraid to test different offers across channels and make sure you understand and optimize based on the results.
- Talk to customers in their preferred channel: some people prefer the phone, some email, and others want person-to-person interaction. Develop a customer database that includes preferred channels, and you’ll increase your overall response.
- Listen to your audience: Start with the platforms \ channels that make sense for your business. But if something is not working after a reasonable test period, move on. In today’s multi-channel world, there are always more options to consider!
MKP communications inc. is a New York City based communications company that delivers spot-on strategy, smart, fresh creative, combined with flawless execution, for financial services clients.