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What is Multi-Channel Marketing? Challenges, Benefits, and More

A Definition of Multi-Channel Marketing

Multi-channel marketing involves reaching customers using a multitude of indirect and direct channels including websites, brick-and-mortar stores, direct mail, email, mobile, social, and others. It also encompasses empowering customers to respond and to purchase your product or service using the channels they prefer. The key is choice, as there are more options than ever before for businesses and customers to interact.

Challenges with Multi-Channel Marketing

Of course, getting it right will determine your success with it. Companies must be consistent with their messaging and look across devices and channels to avoid confusing or frustrating site visitors. They also need to tailor the messages consumers receive across channels if they are going to make an impact. Remember, consumers have choices, and they can opt to ignore you or block you on one channel if you do not engage them properly. Thus, you need to consider your audience’s preferences, demographics, behavioral and transactional history, preferred channel, and current location to fully optimize your strategy.

Another challenge is sticking with it long enough to see results. It is easy for executives to avoid this strategy if they do not immediately see results and the ROI they expect from campaigns. It can be difficult for companies to stay the course, however, if they face some of the more common challenges with it:

  • 23% of marketers report not having the time or resources needed to develop and execute multi-channel campaigns
  • 23% of marketers cite a lack of buy-in at the board level for investing in multi-channel marketing
  • 21% of marketers point to a lack of investment in the required tools for effective campaign management
  • 21% of marketers cite a lack of understanding on how to develop and execute campaigns

Another challenge is the inability to break down silos. If your data resides in silos, your marketing team cannot have a complete view of customers, their behaviors, or their channel preferences. It is this atomic-level view of the customer that enables companies to personalize and target messaging.

Benefits of Multi-Channel Marketing

Companies that employ multi-channel marketing have a much greater chance of communicating with, and selling to, more customers. This gives them a competitive Benefits of multi-channel marketingedge, as consumers have come to expect to have access to companies and information on their own terms. And, customers use multiple channels throughout the purchasing process as they look for information on the company’s website via a laptop or smartphone, ask questions on social media, and eventually make the purchase online or in a retail store.

In fact, one report by Forbes Insights in association with Synchrony Financial found that customers conduct research online but then make large purchases in stores. According to the report, 46% of retailers claim customers use the internet to research major products but prefer to make actual purchases in person in a store; more than 33% of retailers find that customers conduct research and make purchases online; and 18% of retailers say customers research and purchase in the store. Clearly, customers prefer a cross-channel shopping experience; as a result, companies must meet this demand if they want to stay in the game.

Multi-channel marketing also offers other benefits. Specifically, it:

  • Mimics customers’ behavior and empowers companies to personalize their efforts to reach the right person in the right place at the right time
  • Puts the focus on the entire funnel and helps marketers adjust to today’s fragmented customer journeys
  • Gives companies a mobile-first viewpoint; this results in a competitive edge because customers perform more searches on mobile devices, and mobile conversion rates trend upwards
  • Leverages existing algorithms to increase return on investment
  • Assists you in unifying your messaging; consumers expect to have a consistent experience across devices and touch points
  • Helps companies reach consumers who skip banners when they reach a new web page
  • Moves companies beyond email and into marketing automation
  • Empowers companies to target accounts and conduct more effective account-based marketing campaigns
  • Influences sales by leveraging social commerce
  • Forces companies to move beyond silos and consider all customer data

Multi-channel marketing must be a way of life if a company is going to survive the screen epidemic; people are connected now more than ever before.

Multi-Channel Marketing Information

For more information about multi-channel marketing, visit our blog. For your convenience, we have linked to three related posts below: