What Multichannel Marketing Can Do for Your Company

Multichannel marketing campaigns allow you to take advantage of all the ways you can engage with your customers.

Done poorly, a multichannel campaign can alienate customers by bombarding them with emails, text messages, and social network notifications. Done well, a multichannel campaign can smoothly maintain customer engagement over multiple devices and channels.

For example, a prospective customer might receive an email, which leads her to a mobile app to find promotions near her current location. Once the customer finds something, she might text the info about the promotion to friends.

Customers control when and how your messages are viewed. So, multichannel marketing is essential to interact with customers when they want, and how they want.

Right Metrics, Right Channel, Right Message

In order to capitalize on multichannel marketing, you must change how you measure success. Instead of focusing on individual tactic metrics, look at overall engagement metrics in order to see the total time your recipients are interacting with your brand.

With a global picture of engagement, you can tune your message to fit the channel or design each channel to meet a different business goal.

Which medium is best for spreading contagious content, delivering real-time information, driving in-store sales, fostering loyalty or reaching out to dormant followers? Only you know which is right for your customers.

Multichannel Challenges

While multichannel marketing can drive sizable revenue, it also poses challenges.

1. Data coordination and integration within your systems

Do you feel as if you’re awash in data and you just can’t get a handle on it? You’re not alone.

Here’s one statistic: In a 2012 Forrester Consulting report, “The Multichannel Maturity Mandate,” 49% of marketers agreed that consolidating customer feedback from multiple channels is difficult.

Here’s another stat: Less than half of the marketers in Forrester’s survey (43%) say customer data management is well integrated at their companies. Even fewer have the knowledge and skills to develop an integrated multichannel program.

To get the most benefit from an integrated multichannel marketing program, all of your communication systems – marketing, CRM, ecommerce and transactional messaging, for example – must be able to fetch that data and transform it into meaningful messaging.

What’s the solution? The answer will be in my next blog post.

2. Interpreting customer data collected across channels

Multiple touchpoints give you a more complete picture of your prospects and customers. On the flip side, managing all those touchpoints becomes much more complex.

You must be able to understand which channels customers use for which purposes and how those channels interact with each other. Sound difficult? Again, you’re not alone.

Forrester found in its 2012 survey that 39% of marketers agree with this statement: “We lose business because we are not able to integrate customer interactions across all channels.”

Enter the unified approach to multichannel marketing. You can analyze all of the interactions that occur at these touchpoints essentially in a single dashboard instead of having to flip back and forth between spreadsheets or browser tabs.

Take email and SMS. These two separate channels actually play well together. Use email to promote SMS opt-ins; use SMS to plug email opt-ins and to send real-time bulletins like alerts or flash sales.

But being able to see the raw numbers isn’t enough. You have to be able to slice and dice the data into meaningful chunks that can accomplish the following:

  • Highlight behavior patterns
  • Predict activity
  • Identify what customers are doing in your various channels and which ones they prefer for certain kinds of communications.

3. Marketing versus IT

If you’ve been around digital marketing long enough you’ve probably heard about epic confrontations between Marketing and IT. There are valid concerns and pain points that drive each department.

IT folks are the doers and the protectors: the people in charge of keeping company systems running and secure and responsible for moving data between the various systems so that marketing programs can be executed and analyzed.

Marketers are the visionaries and risk takers: the people who have to find ways to break out or stay ahead of the pack and remain competitive. They feel stymied when IT doesn’t keep up with their light-speed pace.

These are major challenges, but they aren’t insurmountable. As I noted above, I’ll provide solutions in my next blog post. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, please take a minute or so to let me know what your greatest frustration is as you tackle marketing across multiple channels. Use the comment field below, or click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of this post, and tell me what’s on your mind.

Image by Sarah G via Flickr

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