What is multichannel marketing?
Multichannel marketing is the process of using two or more channels or mediums to interact with customers in a way that is coordinated and synchronized across all of the channels.
For example, you might deploy multichannel marketing strategies to help prospects browse for information on your website, then jog their memory to trigger the purchase of the product through email, and later help them obtain more information about the product through chatbots.
You can carefully synchronize marketing channels to create more significant channel service outputs while delivering a seamless, hassle-free experience to your customers. With multichannel marketing, you can reach your customers through online and offline channels, including mobile push notifications, messages, email, website, direct mail, social media platforms, and search engine results based on their preferences and choices.
Jargon alert: channel service output
Channel service outputs are the productive outputs of the marketing channels that consumers demand and desire to have. It is a measurement of the channel effectiveness that empowers marketers to minimize channel cost and optimize the cost allocations among different channels.
With a good multichannel marketing strategy, you give your potential customers fewer opportunities to switch to competitors by providing them with the right message on the channel of their choice.
What are the benefits of multichannel marketing?
The benefits of multichannel marketing include the following:
Build lasting customer relationships
You can simultaneously offer prospects and customers information, products, and support through multiple synchronized channels to boost your market potential and customer engagement. In fact, the feedback received from different channels helps you build a 360-degree view of the customer that in turn enables you to deliver personalized experiences.
Increase sales and customer retention
By increasing convenience for your customers using cross-channel marketing, you will be able to reduce customer churn rates and maximize cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. This will help you retain more customers and, as a result, increase the customer lifetime value/value per customer.
Create competitive advantage
Using a multichannel approach helps you position your business in the right place where your target audience will easily find you. Moreover, it will help you open doors of opportunities by interacting with your customers on channels where your competitors are not yet present. If done right, customer data collected from interactions across multiple channels can help you identify customer needs and create new paths for growth.
Boost marketing efficiency
The streams of data collected from various channels can also be consolidated to create a unified view of your customers. You can use such customer data to create targeted, retargeted, and personalized messaging for your customers and attribute revenues to specific campaigns.
What is the importance of multichannel marketing?
Customers’ desire for convenience has largely fueled multichannel marketing models. Your customers today demand 24/7 access and choice in how and where they interact with your business. Therefore, a multichannel strategy is important for almost every business today.
“You can’t keep putting the same stuff on all these channels, or it’s going to get annoying... We need to aim for ‘distinctive ubiquity,’ so we need to be everywhere but we need to continue to surprise and delight our customers in a relevant and consistent way, wherever they are.”
— Mark Schaefer, author and executive director at Schaefer Marketing Solutions
Consumers who see ads on multiple channels also have a 24% higher conversion rate than those who see them via one channel. In fact, multichannel customers spend three to four times more than single-channel customers do. While you will be able to reap opportunities by selling to such high-value customers, you will also be able to optimize channel costs by assessing the most effective channels for your business based on return on marketing investment.
However, many businesses simply focus on providing marketing efforts across all channels and end up increasing the bounce rate.
What are the challenges in implementing multichannel marketing?
Some of the prominent challenges experienced by marketers in executing multichannel marketing campaigns are:
Each channel has its own unique characteristics. This makes it difficult for marketers to deliver a consistent message across all channels such that the transition across a customer journey becomes seamless for the customers. In many cases, the messaging gets repeated when channels are managed in silos.
Many marketers fail to prioritize channels based on customer segments and tend to offer all channels to all customers. On the other hand, many marketers simply try to allocate high-value customers to expensive channels. Needless to say, this process of adding channels indiscriminately for all customers simply adds to the complexities of the overall marketing mix. The solution for such a problem lies in orchestrating touchpoints for specific buyer personas and user groups that span multiple channels fluidly across their journey.
Uncoordinated systems and measurement gaps
For best results, marketers make use of tools such as analytics, management, and automation for different channels. When such systems are managed in isolation, data pools and resource silos can lead to marketing inefficiencies. Further, by executing multichannel marketing campaigns, the customer journey becomes non-linear and it becomes a difficult task for marketers to measure which attribution models or sequences of touchpoints generated qualified leads or conversions.
Marketing inventory grows, expenses grow
Resources, management and analytics platforms, and content services grow with the addition of newer channels to the marketing mix. This in turn increases marketing expenses.
Irrespective of the challenges listed above, one of the greatest feats of using cross-channel marketing may well be its suitability for quantifying the additive effects of running messages across multiple channels simultaneously.
And enterprising marketers not only create high absolute value using multichannel marketing, but also a higher value relative to competitors at a far lower cost. Such marketers have been able to move away from wasteful mass marketing to a more precise, multichannel strategy.
Multichannel marketing vs. omnichannel marketing
Multichannel and omnichannel marketing are often used interchangeably by marketers. After all, both approaches involve the use of two or more marketing channels to engage with users. However, they are different in practice. So what's the difference between them?
Multichannel marketing is an approach that spans numerous channels where every channel is independent and has its own strategy and goals with specific benchmarks to reach different targeted audiences.
On the other hand, the guiding principle of omnichannel marketing is that it’s customer-centric, not channel-based, and solely focuses on providing an integrated, seamless experience to the users through different content across different channels irrespective of the channel service output.
How to build a successful multichannel marketing strategy
Companies with multichannel marketing usually observe a 9.5% growth in YOY annual revenue. But building a successful multichannel marketing strategy requires careful planning and a great deal of investment. So, how should a company invest in a multichannel approach so that the gains exceed the costs?
Identifying and establishing channels
Carefully study your existing and potential customers to decide their preferred channels. Accordingly, segment your audience based on customer journey phases and the respective channel choices. Do research on the channels used by your competitors to engage with your target audience. Try to identify the channels where your competitors’ marketing efforts are not present so you can be the first to fill the niche.
Creating the right messaging for the right channels
You cannot expect your customers to adapt to your channel’s messaging. You must coordinate marketing messages in such a way that it eases the customer’s journey with your business. For example, you can encourage your customers to purchase from your e-commerce catalog while providing support through social media platforms and keeping them updated on product updates offline through mobile push notifications.
Measuring success and iterate
Marketers must use integrated customer experience data platforms to collect data from multiple channels. Such a platform must also enable marketers to analyze the data and metrics in a centralized location as customers usually research the product on one channel and purchase from another. Also, this helps you measure the performance of your multichannel marketing and assess the effectiveness of each channel and the respective messaging.
Automate multichannel marketing processes
Multichannel marketing automation adds a data layer foundation to drive insights and helps execute multiple campaigns simultaneously. From planning and coordinating to managing and measuring campaigns, multichannel marketing automation platforms empower marketers to specify the desired process in detail and automatically execute it, thereby streamlining the process and decreasing manual efforts to a large extent.
Once you’ve decided to execute a multichannel marketing strategy, a lot of things come into play such as the available budget, marketing goals, and the business intelligence infrastructure.
It’s always a good practice to focus on only a few (two or three) multichannel goals at a time. For example, you may try to discover the triggers and touchpoints that are driving your customers to switch channels. Then, tackle additional issues with proper infrastructure to test and optimize your existing multichannel marketing campaigns.
What is a good framework to execute multichannel marketing?
No matter how perfectly designed a multichannel strategy is, miscalculations will happen. As with any multichannel marketing issue large or small, standardization is the key watchword. A customer must immediately feel that the company knows they are interacting with him or her as an individual.
Beyond that, the following framework will help you find the right fit for your multichannel marketing campaigns:
Chart Source: Inspired by Marketing Management authored by Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller.
As you fill the above chart, you will be able to relate the cost-value analysis to your multichannel marketing campaign ideas. This will help you answer the below questions.
What new channels are worth using? Where do they fit within our current marketing strategy? What's the most relevant messaging for those channels? How do we maintain a consistent front to our target demographic?
Execute a successful multichannel marketing campaign using Sprinklr
Your customers are everywhere, so you should be, too. With Sprinklr Modern Marketing & Advertising, you can give your customers the freedom to choose how they want to connect with you, on the channel of their choice.
Powered by industry-leading AI, Sprinklr’s solutions turn your digital channels into forums for promoting products and make customer journeys as frictionless as possible. Sprinklr’s unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform empowers you to create a coordinated and centralized targeted multichannel delivery system where you can consolidate all of your segmentation, customer profiles, marketing attribution, content management, workflows, and reporting dashboards.
Integrate strategy and analytics across channels, and deliver accurate messages at throughput rates with features such as:
Campaign Planning & Content Marketing for efficient campaign creation, orchestration, execution, and measurement across 30+ modern channels
Social Advertising to plan and publish ads across all social media channels without wasting time shifting from one platform to another. It also lets you take quick actions within the Sprinklr platform to optimize your strategy in real-time.
Marketing Analytics to collect and analyze data from across multiple channels to have a 360-degree view of your customers and visualize their behavior across the entire customer journey.
Digital Marketing for creating, coordinating, and delivering automated, dynamic campaigns to drive the best outcomes for the customer.
Employee Advocacy to use the social influence of your employees by empowering them to engage with branded content across multiple channels.
Leverage Sprinklr — the world’s only Unified-CXM platform — to build a multichannel marketing strategy that executes seamlessly across all modern digital channels to create meaningful, relevant, and personalized experiences for your customers.
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