What is multi-channel marketing?
Multi-channel marketing (also known as cross-channel or omnichannel marketing) is a coordinated customer marketing campaign across a range of communication channels. That can encompass online (eg email, on-site notifications, PPC) or offline (eg direct mail, in store, SMS).
Multi-channel marketing is customer marketing, just more strategically focused. That’s because every human interacts with content in a unique way. The ultimate goal is to reach customers on the channel of their choice.
So rather than spamming your customers with generic emails, a multi-channel operation delivers communications to customers on the channel they’re most likely to interact with and respond to. This helps them to feel more engaged with the brand and in control of the buying process.
Often, the most impactful and cost-effective campaigns come from the world of B2C where purchases can be instantaneous. This is because its entire ethos is centred around sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time, via the right channel. But that doesn’t mean you won’t see benefits as a B2B business if you deploy multi-channel marketing correctly as part of a lead generation strategy to support your sales function.
Multi-channel marketing hurdles
As a strategy, there are no notable disadvantages to multi-channel marketing compared to pure email marketing. Then why do most companies often default to email as their primary, and often only, channel of communication?
We think there are two simple reasons for that:
1. Lack of resources and expertise to run multi-channel operations.
We’re talking both in terms of money spent and hours worked here. There’s going to be an initial investment in technology as there’s no point doing multi-channel marketing if you can’t track what’s working and what’s not. How much money you spend will come down to your budget and your system requirements. But there are some incredibly cost-effective marketing platforms out there to get you started.
As well as investing in the relevant tools, you’ll also need people power and expertise to experiment with communications across channels, analyse the results, and segment your audiences appropriately for future campaigns. If you’re not able to recruit internally, it’s worth getting advice from a specialist to hone your strategy and day-to-day operations.
It might seem like the costs for multi-channel marketing quickly tick upwards. But the fact is, multi-channel marketing delivers a higher quality experience for your customers compared to single-channel communications. And the better the experience with your brand, the more likely they will come back. Which is why this strategy has been credited with 3x more effective campaigns and higher rates of customer satisfaction.
2. And the second reason companies aren’t using multi-channel marketing?
Imagine you’re a door-to-door salesperson with 10 doors in front of you. You know Mr E Mail at number five yields decent results. So to save time and energy, you only knock at his door and forget the other nine doors. Of course, you’ll get some traction – Mr E Mail is generally at home and often makes a purchase. But imagine the return you’d have got if you’d put the time and effort into the other nine doors as well…
This is true for your marketing strategy. Yes, you’ll get customers buying and returning via pure email marketing campaigns. But you’re left with a largely untapped audience who doesn’t even use this particular channel.
Customers are unique individuals, so your marketing should be too. If you’re not adapting to meet their needs, you’re not getting the maximum potential value from every customer you bring in. You need to step it up.
How to find your solution
For a coordinated and seamless customer experience using multi-channel marketing, you need a marketing ecosystem; a platform that communicates every touch point the customer has with your brand. That way, they won’t find themselves repeating steps or viewing redundant information as they switch between channels, and your valuable customer insights won’t fall through the cracks.
There’s plenty of software out there that will deliver these requirements successfully, but for us, Iterable is our cross-channel marketing platform of choice.
This is because Iterable’s reliable technology brings together real-time data and modern personalisation tools to build a first-class customer experience that has the ability to scale at pace with your customer marketing operations.
With Iterable’s infrastructure and channels, you can:
- Unify your data across your entire customer lifecycle
- Anticipate your customers’ needs, even before it happens
- Orchestrate marketing seamlessly across channels
- Leverage AI and experimentation tools to measure and optimise every interaction
Invest in this technology and you’ll be able to create an enhanced customer experience that will drive retention and quickly recuperate any initial investment costs for your multi-channel marketing strategy.
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