What is Multi-Channel Marketing?

As the name suggests, multi-channel marketing means managing one campaign across different channels, from physical locations to digital marketing tools to advertising in media. You could also think of it as “multi-media marketing”, or a “multi-media campaign.”

You can reinforce your message by targeting the same audience across multiple channels.   In a recent case study, combining email and display showed a significant lift in conversions vs. running the campaigns independently.

While it’s always been true that marketing works best when it makes multiple touches, that’s even more true today when mobile devices and unlimited digital options compete for the attention of your customers and prospects.

One way to look at multi-channel marketing and how it works best when it work together is to understand difference between the two primary forms of marketing -- direct and indirect.

Direct marketing involves targeting a specific individual. It could mean mailing a postcard to people in a certain geographic area, a calling campaign to specific prospects or an email campaign. Indirect marketing casts a wider net. Think of a billboard or broadcast campaign.

At its most focused, an indirect marketing campaign targets customers at the closest point of the sale, or the narrow end of the purchase funnel. For instance, use your Google Adwords ads when a consumer’s searches suggest an immediate purchase. Search phrases that include words like “near me” or “emergency” suggest an urgency to make a purchase decision.

Generally speaking, a very small number of potential customers need your goods or services at any given time – what’s called a thin market. Reaching them at the point of peak consideration, right before a purchase decision, is good positioning in the buyer’s journey. This has also been called pull marketing.

An example of very broad indirect marketing is a television commercial that airs during prime time network sitcoms, a radio campaign during drive time or a print ad in a major publication. This has also been called push marketing, trying to drive awareness and a desire for a new product or service.

A multichannel marketing campaign taps into all of these avenues. Suppose you send a postcard with an offer to prospects in a certain location, follow that up with phone and email campaigns along with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising targeting searches related to your product or service. Now your marketing campaign delivers repeated exposure in the different channels while your target moves through the purchase journey.

Your campaign should include consistent promotional offers, graphics, colors, and overall message. You don’t want your postcard to offer one discount with blue graphics, and then your email to offer a different discount with orange graphics. Everything should look the same, feel the same, and say the same thing. The importance of a multichannel campaign is to coordinate all the pieces so they have one cohesive message, delivered in various way and locations, to drive sales.

Multi-channel marketing done well tracks your customers through the purchase journey, and employs multiple channels together to help boost sales. The customer chooses their channels, so multi-channel marketing needs to follows them. Let your customers choose when and how they purchase from you to increase your conversions, sales and customer base.

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