“15 years ago, the average consumer typically used two touch-points when buying an item and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today consumers use an average of almost six touch points, with 50% regularly using more than four.” Marketing Week
While there is no doubt that marketing was simpler 15 years ago when there were less channels to use, the opportunities were also limited. Today we have an ever-growing number of channels to reach potential customers, including the internet, social media, paid and free ads, display ads, email marketing and re-targeting, and that is only the online platforms. As a result, marketing is more complex than ever, but we also have more opportunities to reach potential customers. Using a single channel to reach out to customers is no longer a sufficient strategy.
Multi-channel marketing refers to the process of engaging with prospects, leads and customers, using a single strategy across a combination of channels. Prospects and leads require multiple touchpoints before becoming a customer and multi-channel marketing allows us to hit multiple touchpoints. A multi-channel approach allows customers to engage with businesses on their terms, giving them a choice in the channels they use to interact with businesses.
There are a number of steps in involved in creating a multi-channel strategy:
Step 1: Agree on a unified approach and message – It is important before you decide what channels you are going to use that you agree on a consistent message across all channels and create a seamless experience. Marketing channels do not operate independently, and it is important that a consistent brand and message is portrayed across all channels.
Step 2: Define your audience – The next step is to define who your audience is and have a clear understanding of their needs, likes, dislikes, and pain points, as well as their communication preferences.
Step 3: Prioritise your channels – Unless you have a huge marketing budget, you will not be able to target every possible channel. You will need to identify which channels make the most sense for you. You need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What channels do our customers use?
- Historically, what channels have delivered the best quality of leads?
- How cost effective is the delivery of our message?
- How likely is it that the prospect will complete a purchase or become a lead using this channel?
Once you have answered the above questions, you should have a good idea of which channels are delivering the best quality leads at the lowest cost. These channels should be your first port of call when developing your multi-channel marketing strategy.
Step 4: Create tactical plans for each of the chosen channels – While we will have an overall strategy, the tactical plans for each channel may differ. There should be a detailed plan in place for each channel, and this should be costed and inputted into an overall marketing schedule before being implemented.
Step 5: Identify the right Key Performance Indicators – Our strategy doesn’t end when the plans are implemented. It is important that we track our performance across each channel and to know where leads came from, as this information can be used to inform future strategies.