What is multi-channel marketing? And why is everyone talking about it? Essentially, multi-channel marketing taps into the premise that customers are no longer just on one channel. We’re on our phones, watching the TV and shopping on our laptops. We’re savvy, and we know where to look to find the honest reviews, best offers and fastest delivery.
Take booking a hotel for example. My initial first step might be typing in google:
‘Hotels in Manchester’
Up comes a map of Manchester and a list of hotels around the city centre. So I have a look at a few, visit the websites, take a look at the facilities and eventually, I find one that I like.
I go onto Tripadvisor - check the reviews, just to make sure I'm making the right decision. I then remember from an ad on TV that there's a website which compares prices of 100’s of hotels to find the best price, so i have a look there, find the cheapest rate - and book.
You can see throughout that process, that it might have only taken 10 minutes for me as the user - however there were multiple touch points which influenced my purchasing decision. Google, Hotel website, trip advisor, TV and eventually a hotel booking website.
But the question is - how can you harness the power of multi-channel marketing for your own brand?
The aim is to reach your customers on their preferred channel - which sounds easy - and for some types of businesses, it can be. But for other businesses which have a longer buying process (high value items / service led businesses) you’ll often need to hit your customers more than once, if not multiple times during the prospecting process to ensure that your product/service stays in the front of their mind.
To do this, you need to have an understanding of how your customers move from one channel to another. Think about the journey your customer would likely take, and map out what that looks like. They may read blogs, listen to an influencer, read reviews, look at your social media, search google or check their inbox for the latest deals. Once you’ve identified their journey, you can then work out how you can best interact with your customer at each point of that journey.
Let's have a look at just some of the potential channels/touchpoints:
Once you’ve identified where your customers are likely to be - It is then a case of looking at those channels in terms of their end goal and KPI’s. For example; Organic Social Media might not drive direct sales, but its main goal may be to drive engagement with your existing customers to increase retention.
Email marketing strategies could have various KPI’s such as;
Don’t make the mistake of just setting a single KPI for all channels such as ‘direct sales’ - this isn’t the way a multichannel strategy works. The channels should work together to feed the end goal of the overall strategy. Whilst they should perform well in their own right, they should be judged by their individually tailored KPI’s, not just against sales.
Multi-Channel success doesn’t just come from being present across all channels. There are many aspects which should be considered in order to measure their success and their contribution to a strategy/funnel.
Brand Awareness - by expanding reach across a multitude of platforms the brand awareness channels need to be selected correctly in order to do this. (TV, Radio, Prospect Social Advertising, Google Display Advertising)
Messaging & Consistency - If your customers will be seeing your brand across many platforms, brand messaging and consistency is key.
Engagement - Which of your channels should boost engagement with your brand? Organic Social Media - Youtube ads - Google Display Ads.
User Experience - If customers are going to be interacting with your brand across various platforms, there needs to be a centralised brand identity and tone of voice.
Innocent Smoothies. They’ve cracked their audience. They've developed a brand personality unlike any other. Their social media is funny, engaging and always bang on trend.
See this campaign for the launch of their ‘blue’ smoothie.
Their bottles also have the same consistency, with cheeky messaging -
And their offline advertising is also just as funny;
For the past year we have been working with a new online boiler installation company. They offer next day installation and finance options on a new boiler.
After firstly identifying that our customer base was in fact anyone who needed a boiler, fast. We began to think about what journeys we would personally take if our boiler was to suddenly go bust in the depths of winter.
We identified that we’d probably start with google or we might ask friends on facebook for recommendations. So those channels are where we launched our initial marketing campaign. Over the last 12 months, we have begun to test and add more channels into the strategy - constantly iterating on what works for us and what doesn’t.
We optimise for brand awareness using radio and TV advertising, we also use Google Ads / Bing Ads for generic searches, and we retarget via facebook. We then utilise the Google display network and youtube advertising for retargeting previous visits and viewers of the TV ad.
Alongside this, we developed an onsite blog which is full of helpful hints and tips for customers, and helps to capture organic searches.
All of these channels compliment each other well, and make for a cohesive journey from initial research into eventually purchasing a boiler.
Each of these channels has its own KPI and targets, and together they all contribute to the overall marketing strategy and spend.
If you need help developing and implementing a multi channel marketing strategy for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch.