Putting all eggs in one basket when your target audience spends time on various digital platforms can largely hamper your brand awareness and sales. Hence, to ensure that your business is visible on multiple platforms, leveraging more than one channel is crucial to interact with more customers. This is where multichannel marketing comes into the picture. Keep reading to know what is multichannel marketing and how you can build a successful strategy for your brand.
What is Multichannel Marketing?
Many people mistakenly use the terms multichannel, omnichannel, and cross-channel interchangeably. While these three refer to similar marketing strategies as they leverage more than one channel, they are quite different from each other. The key difference is that multichannel marketing is brand and channel-centric, while omnichannel and cross-channel marketing is shopper-centric. So, what exactly is multichannel marketing? Let’s understand.
Multichannel is a marketing approach that uses two or more mediums or channels to engage with customers. The channels can either be direct or indirect. Direct refers to channels through which a brand proactively interacts with customers. They can be catalogues, brick-or-mortar stores, or emails. Indirect channels, on the other hand, can include social media ads or website content, which is also known as inbound marketing. Multichannel marketing thus offers a wide choice of channels for the customers to make a purchase decision.
Benefits of Multichannel Marketing?
The following are the benefits of multichannel marketing:
- Increased interaction: More channels mean a higher number of touchpoints for potential customers. Multichannel marketing not only broadens customer choices but also opens up new interaction channels between a company and its customers.
- Greater reach: By expanding your marketing channels, you can increase your reach to a greater audience, and target customers with untapped buying potential.
- Effective: Multichannel marketing is an effective way to amplify your marketing campaigns through effective messages. By taking your content and ads across various platforms, you can reach a larger audience at lower costs.
Cons of Multichannel Marketing
While multichannel marketing has several benefits, it has its own set of challenges, such as:
As you collect more data from customers, you need to change platforms and tools to understand data. Each channel may have different resources and technology needs. This makes it challenging to coordinate technology and staff between multiple channels.
In multichannel marketing, creating a coherent message across all channels can be difficult. This is because each channel is unique with its own requirements. Moreover, the information silos that separate channels may lead to repetition or loss of important information.
Difficulties with measurement
When it comes to multichannel marketing, you may not be able to measure the impact of your marketing message across channels, such as the level of customer engagement, brand reach, or coherence. This makes it difficult for marketers to make budget decisions.
How to build a successful multichannel marketing strategy?
Here are the steps that can help build a successful multichannel strategy for your brand:
Before laying out a multichannel strategy, organizations must strive to understand their audience. This can be done through the collection and analysis of customer data from multiple sources. Building analytics can help you understand how customers engage with brands, what devices or platforms they use, and what their needs and preferences are. Having a clear picture of customer behavior and demographics can allow brands to create personalized marketing messages that can lead to improved customer engagement and experience.
Recognize your channel selections
Today, customers interact with brands in various ways that include more than one touchpoint. It is, therefore, crucial to have insight into how customers engage with each channel and touchpoint. You must also understand every customer’s value to your business to target them across multiple channels. Once you recognize what channel a customer prefers the most, you can target them at the right place with the right message.
Be reliable across all platforms
Customers are more likely to recall your brand and consider it reliable if your message is consistent across every channel. However, this does not mean that you deliver repetitive and static messages to your audience wherever they find you. Whether a customer is using digital channels or shopping in-store, make sure that you create a consistent brand voice across every platform to create a strong brand reputation.
Once you lay the foundation of a multichannel marketing campaign, evaluating its performance will keep it on the right track. This essential step lets you know which channel was most successful and had the most impact on your audience. You can choose from various marketing attribution models to determine the effectiveness of your multichannel approach. Doing this, you can identify where your campaigns brought the most sales and measure your ROI (Return on Investment) on each channel.
Choose the appropriate platform
Choosing the right platform for your multichannel marketing campaign can make all the difference. You must ensure that the platform allows you to manage your campaign and do predictive and marketing attribution analysis to achieve your business goals effectively.
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Multichannel marketing channels
Below, we have listed channels used in multichannel marketing:
Messaging your customers through Short Message Service (SMS) is one of the preferred channels in multichannel marketing. Through this, you can send short text messages to your customers about happening deals or discounts. You can also update them about products that pique their interest on other channels.
Push notifications are clickable pop-up messages that appear on the user’s device. They are a quick way of communicating messages even when people are not using a mobile app or website. Push notifications can allow you to convey offers, messages, or other information to customers.
An email is a direct marketing tool that allows you to connect with your customers in a seamless manner and make them aware of discounts, new products, or other offerings. It plays a vital role in a multichannel approach with increased customer engagement, lead generation, and brand awareness.
Marketing through social media platforms can elevate and empower your multichannel strategy. No matter what type of business you run, social media can help you find your ideal customers everywhere. Hence, a robust social media strategy can help you get seen on mobile devices and communicate with your audience more effectively.
While online shopping is gaining popularity, you cannot deny the importance of physical storefronts to reach customers and increase sales. Physical stores play an essential role in gaining customer satisfaction, trust, and loyalty. They can also optimize your strategy on other channels to enhance customer experience.
Podcasting is another channel that is constantly evolving. They allow you to expand your advertising efforts to audio formats which are much similar to radio ads. Focusing your podcast content on topics relevant to your target audience can help reach listeners that may turn into potential customers.
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Examples of Multichannel Marketing
Following are examples of multichannel marketing:
With the help of its website and app, CVS provides an in-store pharmacy experience to its customers where they can check and fill prescriptions and look for other needs. The in-app and text notifications help customers know about their prescriptions. Not only this, it has an online chat feature through which customers can communicate with the pharmacist. With its multichannel marketing approach, CVS is better able to integrate its digital channels and in-store experience. This helps the brand increase its outreach, deliver consistent messages and offer a seamless customer experience.
Gatwick Airport is an international airport in southeast England and is the busiest airport in Europe. The airport launched its round-the-clock customer service support via Twitter. Further, it installed huge QR codes in under-construction areas through which visitors could view the future plans of a particular location. The airport also used a location-based marketing service that allowed visitors to review the airport booths. These initiatives offered Gatwick Airport a lot of customer information to fine-tune their campaigns and offerings.
Vrbo’s mobile application and website can work on various devices and targets customers wherever they are. The brand’s app allows short-term vacation rentals. To increase its brand awareness and customer base, Vrbo distributes user-generated data, such as reviews and images of vacations booked through the app on multiple social media platforms. Also, Vrbo uses search query information from various platforms to launch targeted ads on social media. By doing this, Vrbo can reach a greater pool of audiences and improve customer loyalty and retention.
Now that you know what is multichannel marketing, it is up to you what channels you want to integrate into your multichannel approach. If implemented the right way, this marketing strategy can help you achieve your business goals effectively at lower costs. However, each channel in this marketing approach exists in a silo. Some information may be restricted to a single channel creating boundaries and inconsistencies between channels. This can lead to customers providing or viewing the same information.
Why does multi-channel marketing work so well?
Audiences today use many different platforms to search for their needs. Hence, a single channel may not be enough to ensure increased sales and brand awareness. Through a multichannel approach, you can integrate various channels and strengthen your brand’s reach and customer relationships. It helps you target your customers wherever they are and expand your customer base at affordable costs.
Multi-channel: What does that mean?
Multichannel refers to a marketing approach that uses two or more mediums or channels to engage with customers. The channels can either be direct or indirect. Direct refers to channels through which a brand proactively interacts with customers. They can be catalogs, brick-or-mortar stores, or emails. On the other hand, indirect channels can include social media ads or website content, which is also known as inbound marketing. Multichannel marketing thus offers a wide choice of channels for the customers to make a purchase decision.
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