One of the most popular buzzwords in marketing today is “multichannel.” But what is it really all about? In this post, we answer your top three basic questions about multichannel marketing.
What is multichannel marketing?
Multichannel marketing is communicating marketing messages using multiple channels. Moreover, it’s doing so as parts of a cohesive whole, rather than as separate tactics.
Some people, when discussing multichannel, focus on digital channels, such as email, social media, website, apps, search engines, etc. But, in truth, multichannel includes all types of marketing – not only email and other digital channels, but also television, direct mail, print, radio, point-of-purchase, etc.
Is multichannel marketing new?
Not really. This may come as a surprise. After all, there are books and conferences and boot camps all about multichannel marketing right now. Mustn’t it be new and exciting? But don’t make the mistake of assuming that a hot topic is necessarily a new topic.
Multichannel marketing, in its strictest definition, has always existed. Marketing has never been a one-channel prospect. Marketers have combined advertising and in-store promotion for hundreds of years, for example.
What’s newer are the digital channels added to the “multi-“ prefix of “multichannel.” Digital media has created a proliferation of new marketing channels. This plethora has given marketers a wide variety of new possibilities to choose from.
Moreover, these new digital options often offer a low barrier to entry and a high likelihood of detailed ROI measurements. (For instance, email marketing offers a return of $44 for every $1 spent, according to 2016 statistics from Campaign Monitor.)
Why does multichannel marketing matter?
So, if it’s not new, why is multichannel marketing so hot? There are many good reasons. Here are a few:
- Realism. You, as a customer, do not live in one channel. Your life, and your attention, shift between channels many times each day. Why would marketing want to behave any differently? A smart brand will work to meet its target customers where they are – on all channels – throughout their customer journey, throughout their days.
- Efficiency. Working in silos where different channels have little conversation and synchronization is not an effective way to deliver information that customers will value. It will sound disjointed and not engender trust. Multichannel marketing is predicated upon the assumption that these channels will be managed under one strategy, thereby creating a cohesive experience for the customer. (And the marketers!)
- Speed. The synergy achieved by successful multichannel marketing allows marketers to move rapidly, making changes if certain platforms demand different messaging or are performing differently. In today’s world, marketing can’t be evaluated quarterly or monthly without losing valuable ground in the meantime.
- Precision. As mentioned above, different platforms can work differently. One email campaign might be extremely successful at reaching the majority of your target audience, but supplementing it with a social-media tactic might put you over the top. Similar examples could be made for any combination of tactics. The gift of precision is that multichannel marketing enables infinite combinations and proportions to create that ideal balance.
- ROI. The holy grail of marketing tactics is “moving the needle.” When you can demonstrate performance specifically, accurately, and with provable metrics, marketing earns its seat at the table.
Want to learn more?
Here are some case studies for how healthcare brands employed multichannel marketing to their benefit, including:
Here are some great references to learn about multichannel marketing, from: