By Lora Kratchounova, Scratch Marketing + Media
In marketing, there is always one ideal channel for your message.
And the tooth fairy is real, too.
In truth, it’s been almost 40 years since a single-channel approach has made sense. Sure, back in the 1970s and even the ‘80s, advertisers could rely on TV and radio to reach their target demographics. That ended with the ascendance of the internet in the 1990s, and the marketers who denied its importance after the first few years are no longer in business. Just try suggesting a go-to-market campaign relying only on broadcast today – you’ll be laughed out of the room.
Web, email, text, mobile, social… consumers today exist in a multichannel world and are able to pick exactly how – not to mention if – they want to communicate with a given brand. What’s a marketer to do? First things first: They need to understand the principles of modern multichannel marketing, how to manage a multichannel campaign and how to use the available tools to get the job done.
Making Plans in a Multichannel World
Traditional marketing methods are no longer sufficient to reach, engage and convert today’s social- and media-savvy consumers.
Marketers used to work with a defined set of channels that everybody accessed. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s consumer brands could build empires by advertising on the right TV channel during prime time, and B2B buyers waited patiently for salespeople to reach out and offer a demo. In today’s world, those strategies simply do not work.
Today’s marketing environment seamlessly integrates paid, owned and earned approaches across multitudes of channels, generally called converged media. When armed with a deep understand of your customer – for example, knowing what steps they take, when they buy things, when they use them, etc .– combining paid, owned and earned strategies across multiple channels provides marketers with an end-to-end customer journey model.
Like all great marketing, multichannel programs start with the right plan in place. Below is an overview of the stages buyers go through and the typical channels that map to that journey in a B2B setting:
You can use this same model to create multi-channel go-to-market (GTM) plans for both consumer and B2B brands.
Multichannel Campaign Management (MCCM)
Overall, marketers are looking to create compelling and contextualized content experiences for their customers across all channels. They are also aiming to build and maintain long-term relationships with valuable customers by creating personalized experiences across all channels and touchpoints by anticipating customer needs and providing tailored offers.
Marketers use multichannel campaign management tools to create contextual interactions with their customers, which leads to higher interest in a product or service, deeper interactions with the brand, and a faster journey through the sales funnel, creating a loyal customer base.
Starbucks, for example, does a great job at engaging its target audience across all of its channels. It uses online ads (such as those you’ve probably seen on Facebook and Twitter); it takes out print ads, too, and pushes out promotions to the company’s user base via its app and email. It also engages in physical campaigns that engage its community (remember the green cup last November?)
However, before companies can embrace a multichannel program, marketers need to invest in a set of very specific tools to support top-line revenue growth, enhance customers’ and prospects’ experiences, and support integrated campaigns.
A Modern Multichannel Marketing Toolset
Picking a toolset that accomplishes all of a marketer’s goals should be easy, right? Well, maybe not: There are currently thousands of different tools you can use and new ones are popping up every day. Scott Brinker tracks new marketing technology and tools at MarTech Today. In the last six years, his marketing landscape (pictured below) has grown to include around 4,000, a huge leap from the 150 items on the list back in 2011.
No marketer can possibly wrap his or her head around that many options. This is why leading analyst firms such as Forrester and Gartner have been reviewing the best-in-class tools for multichannel campaign management since 2014. While some may posit that all a marketer needs is one end-to-end platform, there are many niche technologies that can be used and combined to help manage a customized, end-to-end customer journey. Ultimately, marketers need to choose the right tool(s) for the job.
Modernize Your Marketing
While the core tenets of marketing have not changed – deep customer understanding, having a solid plan, etc. – the ways modern marketers plan for, design, execute and optimize their marketing campaigns today are very different. In fact, they have yet to reach their final form.
On the other hand, one thing that will not change anytime soon for marketers is the need to put their customers first. By creating the plan around how and where their customers’ shop, they will then be able to select the best tools for their multi-channel toolset.
If multichannel marketing sounds like juggling blindfolded to you, Scratch Marketing + Media would be happy to help you keep all those balls in the air. You can contact us here.
Scratch Digital Marketing Glossary
To our readers: At the end of each post in our Digital Authority and Multi-Channel Marketing series, we’re including this glossary of terms explored in previous entries both for your reference and to paint a fuller picture of the Scratch vision for how to succeed in this era of Marketing the Future. Please let us know whether there are any other terms you’d like to see us add.
Digital Brand Authority: Digital Brand Authority incorporates the principles of Marketing the Future to create clear and actionable roadmaps for brands across all industries and sectors to win the hearts and wallets of their customers. The concept was developed by Scratch Marketing + Media and was first covered here.
Multichannel Campaigns: Using direct and indirect ways to communicate with your target audience. For example, using Twitter, print ads, and email marketing as a part of a promotion.
Three Stages of Marketing: Marketing can be divided into three distinct eras. Read about them here.
- Marketing the Past: The pre-1980 era, when messaging relied heavily on advertising and was rooted in nostalgia. The promise of these brands was that if you liked what you saw, tasted, or experienced in the past, the product would consistently deliver the same for you in the future.
- Marketing the Present: The 1980s and 1990s, when the byword for marketing was “more” – more stuff, more deals, more functions. This led to information overload that actually made decisions more difficult, not easier.
- Marketing the Future: The modern era, since 2000. Consumer Centricity (The customer controls the buying journey), Continuous Delivery (Brands are Never Finished), and Ecosystem Support (Brands Never Stand Alone) are its primary characteristics; as a result, buyers will not make decisions in a vacuum.
Zero Moment of Truth: The ability for consumers to make decisions when and where they will. This often happens outside of a company’s owned channels via peer networks and independent review sites. The term was coined by Google but we explore it here.
Back to blog