What Is Multi-Channel Marketing Really All About?

Everyone is talking about multichannel marketing as if it is new and revolutionary. It’s not. It’s just good marketing. It’s integrated marketing.

It’s cross channel marketing and it simply means is that once you understand your customer and his buying journey, you can choose at which point and through which channel you can and should engage to meet his needs and to add value to your relationship.

When multichannel gets interesting is when you “close the loop” and track every interaction across all channels and start assigning the appropriate attribution and contribution model to understand which interaction has had most impact and therefore which channels to dial up and which to dial down. It is only in recent years that the software has become available to pull in information from multiple analytical sources to create a single coherent view of the customer. But of course this is only possible once your campaign is live.

 But how do you get started?

First you must understand your customer and the journey he is likely to take. You will need to generate the insights, which are likely to motivate him or her to recognise a need and want to fulfil it. The insights can be generated using focus groups, advisory boards, surveys, social media monitoring, netnography, ethnography etc. Insight generation is still a mixture of science and art and there are several excellent  pharma and consumer marketing examples .

Then you will need to determine your customer’s information preferences and his channel preferences. If you have all this information, you are very lucky. Most of us are gathering and informing data across channels. In addition to existing and bought data, I recommend that you use your sales force where possible to validate/ inform the appropriate segmentation for your customers.

Next it is essential to understand the landscape in which you are trying to engage.  Your customer is not living in a vacuum, and your competitors are unlikely to be in a marketing freeze. How are you going to differentiate your insight driven messages and campaign to penetrate the noise and impact your customer. Who are the key on and offline influencers and what are the channels or properties that your customers are currently visiting?  A good landscape will have a rigorous manual and automated process to identify the key destinations and the key opportunities for your brand.  The manual process is essential to apply expertise and knowledge  and to include content that may be located behind logins. There are several social media monitoring tools that will enable you to see and digest the topic and sentiment being discussed. They can also identify the key influencers in the different social media channels with whom you may want to partner or with whom you want to start a relationship. Social media can also be used to test your creatives, your messages and indeed to co-create your campaign,

So you have the insight and your segmentation. You know the landscape and the channel preferences. You have a compelling and differentiated message with strong branding. Now you need to select the sequence of communication per segment  and ensure that at every stage the interaction is tracked so that the subsequent message is more tailored and more personalised. You also need to learn about which channels, which imagery, which offers/ messages resulted in an action and further hone your segments accordingly. Personalising content involves relevant imagery and content as well as a personally addressed email for example. A physician is in his 60s, he may not relate to an image of a physician in his 20 and vice versa.  Personalising content has been shown to improve conversion by over 300%. 

An intelligent selection and sequence of channel communication will include events, conferences, publications, sales representatives, edetails, web, mobile and  social media channels e.g. linked in and online discussion fora such as Sermo, Doc2Doc or Medscape Connect . The most impactful channels need to be given priority but the cost per impact, the scalability and the reach of all channels should also be considered when making your selection. This mix will ensure that the customer is enabled to pull content and indeed to the push content when he requires and that we are able to engage through the client selected channels leading to a better customer experience and enhance customer relationship.

Because after all, what we are really seeking is a mutually valuable and sustainable relationship and that is what multichannel marketing is all about!

About Orla:

Orla is a global commercial Marketeer with a proven track record in digital strategy development and implementation including communications, acquisition, relationship management (CRM), PPC, SEO, campaign management and innovation. A creative strategist and excellent team leader, Orla is experienced in management of cross functional teams and multi-million pound budgets. Orla has been Head of Digital Strategy at academic institutions and is described as “an extremely creative and agile eMarketer with a deep consumer background”.








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