Why is multi-channel marketing important now?
Simply, it’s expected. Customers now expect to be able to move seamlessly from online to mobile to an office/shop and have a consistent experience. The way and frequency of how we communicate has also changed because of social and mobile.
Traditional channels such as radio, TV and print advertising are still effective but must work well with channels such as social and mobile.
All of this is easier said than done though.
Number of channels
Just the sheer volume of them (and what each of them contains) is mind-boggling. How do you know which ones to use and which ones work best? You may also not have the skills in-house to even do some of the channels.
Always start with the most important people – your customers. Analyse their behaviour and best of all, ASK THEM. Understanding how they want to hear from you and in what format will help plan the best multi-channel strategy.
Always start with the most important people – your customers.
There is also an element of experimentation. This helps you assess if a channel will be worth the commitment or not. For example, more and more social media networks allow you to advertise/promote posts so spending a few hundred pounds to advertise and measure the effects will give you better insight into whether part of your advertising budget should go to this.
However, there are some channels that you can’t afford to ignore and one of these is mobile. Growth in smartphone adoption and mobile search has seen this channel become even more dominant this year and it shows no signs of stopping.
Cutting through the noise
People see hundreds of messages a day. How do you make yours resonate?
Being in the right place at the right time is crucial. Getting this right will strike a chord and make you more memorable. Targeting the right audience also helps. Gone are the days of “spray and pray” – the right message to the right person will pay greater dividends.
Having the right data
Resonating means you need the right data. Data needs to be:
- Accurate – contact details validated and names spelt correctly
- Current – person is still at the same company/address
- Detailed – you don’t need hundreds of fields but make sure you have the data, e.g. sector
If you don’t have a CRM system, get one and make sure that other systems such as accounting and email marketing can exchange information within it.
Getting your CRM system in order (or setting one up) requires time and money and will pay off long-term as it will allow you to personalise communications and make the right impression. Analysing this data helps you make better marketing decisions by collecting intelligence on existing customers and those you didn’t win.
Also make sure you are looking externally to gather data too. It’s worth investing in subscriptions to key industry sources as well as general ones such as McKinsey and Harvard Business Review.
Every company faces this problem – you will never have enough people (or money) to do everything.
Spreading yourself too thin means you are a jack of all trades and a master of none. You are more likely to fail and not do anything particularly well. Be realistic and pick short and long-term activities that will bring channels together.
Don’t be a jack of all trades and a master of none.
When allocating budget or people power, make sure you stick to it. Some activities will require time to see a return, and most importantly, don’t distract the resource with something else. Always ask yourself “Is this the best use of their time?
How does this work in reality?
Plan! “Fail to plan, plan to fail”.
Econsultancy reported this year that 40% of companies do not have a strategy for integrating mobile into marketing campaigns.
If your strategy is not kept up-to-date, it will have limited success. It’s impossible to stick to a plan to the letter but at the least look at all the channels and plan for the ones that:
- Your customers use
- Have the most potential
Get your data in order
This allows you to segment and personalise. I won’t lie – it’s time consuming and will cost you, however, you cannot make effective decisions without it.
Review, review, review
Regularly review what you are doing to understand customer preferences:
- Site/phone surveys
- External research
- Analytics data from Google, Hootsuite etc
Combining a wide range of data will give you the best insight and alert you to key shifts in behaviour. This doesn’t have to be time-consuming either. If you put the right process for collecting and analysing data in place, this should reduce administration time and give top-level indicators of performance.
And don’t forget you don’t have to do this by yourself. Often external help from a digital agency (like us!) can help clarify data, relieve the analysis burden and keep you on the right track.