How to launch a winning multichannel marketing strategy

The new digital customer is quite elusive, even for the most seasoned marketers out there. They explore their options thoroughly and conduct careful research. They use multiple devices to do so and communicate with brands across different channels. All in all, they’re much more tech-savvy and much less prone to “sales-like” language. For them, “elusive” might even be an understatement. Needless to say, this fragmented customer journey presents a unique challenge for marketers. The average customer now requires multiple interactions, split across touchpoints across different channels, to entice. As such, a multichannel marketing strategy offers the next logical step for many. But what is it exactly, and how can you craft and launch an effective one? As one of the top digital marketing agencies in New York, we at Digital Dot are here to help.

What is multichannel marketing?

First things first, what exactly is multichannel marketing? The term itself offers an initial explanation; marketing across multiple channels.

To delve deeper, multichannel marketing bridges seemingly unrelated marketing strategies such as:

  • Organic (Search Engine Optimization) and Paid (Pay Per Click ads)
  • Inbound (e.g. backlink traffic) and outbound (e.g. billboard ads)
  • Online (all digital marketing tactics) and offline (TV ads, flyers, billboards, etc.)

Of course, as regards the online component, multichannel strategies typically delve into different devices too – as the introduction hinted. One may find this equal parts-wise and unavoidable in a time when mobile traffic already surpasses desktop traffic.

This key function of bridging unmatched marketing means lets it serve its purpose of channel expansion and diversification. In turn, however, this might reveal its primary challenge too – multichannel marketing doesn’t lend itself to easy tracking. Expanding one’s channels so much does come with this inherent hardship.

Second, multichannel marketing strongly relies on said channel diversification. It doesn’t typically seek to center on the customer, at least at first, as much as on expanding reach itself. As a New York SEO company we’ve often found this to hold true for our clients.

That’s not to say it’s not customer-centric, as SEO requires, but only that customer experience isn’t typically its first goal. Rather, it focuses on customer engagement, new customer acquisition, and website traffic – which it evidently succeeds at:

A graph on the returns of multichannel marketing.

So how does it differ from omnichannel marketing?

Having said that, how does a multichannel marketing strategy differ from an “omnichannel” marketing strategy? Surely, if “Omni” means “all”, the difference simply lies in “many channels” versus “all channels”.

No, that’s not quite true. The two terms differ in more than degree, as Talkative beautifully illustrates:

An illustration on the differences between omnichannel and multichannel marketing.

The two have fundamental differences in philosophy, purpose, and application. One may consider omnichannel a natural expansion of multichannel, but many businesses don’t develop their strategies that way either.

In brief, the two present a choice that simply lies in what businesses need, and what best suits their strategies.

Launching a winning multichannel marketing strategy

So, if you’ve chosen multichannel, where do you begin? While your exact course will depend on you, here we’ve outlined 7 steps you may consider in order.

#1 Craft robust buyer personas

First and foremost, as with most marketing endeavors, you will need to craft buyer personas.

Those fictional representations of your ideal customer segments will let you understand your targets better, for one. In turn, with enough data on customer interactions and behaviors, you may map out your customers’ journeys to inform strategies.

For this step, you may consult your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution’s data. What are your primary customer segments’ demographics? Why do they choose your product or service? Where do they interact with your business, and where do they spend time online?

An infographic on the perfect mix of demographics, behavioral, and open-time context data.

Answering such questions will let you identify who you’re targeting. In turn, it will reveal where, when, and how your multichannel marketing strategy may best approach them.

#2 Choose your channels

Next, the first use for your buyer personas will come as you choose your channels to expand to. Where can your message best reach your buyers?

This is of course an extremely subjective matter, so we cannot offer channel advice. We can however pinpoint questions your data can answer, such as:

  • Do your audiences prefer online or offline channels?
  • If they’re primarily online, where do they prefer to hang out?
  • Do they respond better to inbound or outbound strategies?

Here, social media advertising NYC trends might offer a word of caution; user base numbers rarely tell the full story. Many businesses simply opt for massive social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram based on their user bases. This, however, misses the entire point of picking channels your existing and ideal customers prefer.

#3 Personalize your content

Having done so, you may now begin to personalize your content. This will of course primarily concern your content marketing strategies, so here we may outline the basics.

As you approach your buyer personas, you may consider such factors as:

  • Which content best appeals to them and speak to their needs?
  • What advantages do your chosen channels offer that can best frame your content?
  • Which devices do they use, and how does your content fit them?

As regards devices specifically, you may also consider how customer journeys typically span across multiple devices:

An infographic on the different devices used across buyer journeys.

#4 Integrate your channels

Now, your multichannel marketing strategy should not try to be an omnichannel one. However, integrating your channels as much as possible should still warrant some attention here.

This step too will depend on your chosen channels, but you may now consider where you will track:

  • Customer communications
  • Customer interaction and engagement data
  • Marketing analytics

Your CRM should typically serve this step well, allowing you to manage ample data under one dashboard. Still, you may consider channel-appropriate data collection forms to have solid insights to work with.

#5 Automate your activities

Having mentioned CRM again, technology can offer substantial help for this final phase. Specifically, you may now implement channel-appropriate automation to ease your workload and optimize your workflows.

Among other automation options you may consider:

  • Email automation; email platforms may offer event-triggered outreach, scheduled follow-ups, and more.
  • Social media automation; post schedulers can ease your workload, while social listening can enhance your insights.
  • Customer service automation; increasingly popular chat bots can improve your customer service speed, as can automatically support agent delegation.

Should you delve into PPC, PPC services NYC thankfully also offer automatic bidding to assist you further.

#6 Monitor your efforts and attribute

Past the implementation phase, here comes the primary challenge for any multichannel marketing strategy; attribution. How will you know which channels worked best, and how much they contributed to sales? That’s what attribution will seek to answer.

An illustration of a touchpoint attribution model.

For this process, you will need specialized analytics software that offers closed-loop analytics. Through it, you may examine channels under different attribution models like:

  • Linear. Equal attribution to all touchpoints
  • Position-based. Different attribution to touchpoints based on customer journey phases
  • Time decay. Attribution based on time distance from sales

As you do, you should of course continue to monitor all data you’ve identified as relevant thus far. Google Analytics, website heat maps, PPC returns, and more should always inform your course.

#7 Retarget lost customers

Finally, some customers will inevitably not convert or leave you for your competitors. In this case, with all the data you’ve acquired, you may retarget those customers to earn them back.

If you’re primarily focusing on digital marketing, this practice can have immense benefits. Statistics show it can reduce cart abandonment rates, increase customer acquisition rates, and even boost website traffic by a staggering 700%.

To do so effectively, consider such questions as:

  • What drove your customer away?
  • Which customer phase were they on, and how much outreach does it warrant?
  • Where should your ads appear for them to see them?

This PPC subset doesn’t even require that you delve into broader PPC – although it does help. Should you have the budget for it, it can evidently elevate your strategies to new heights.

Conclusion

To summarize, any successful multichannel marketing strategy requires deep audience insights and appropriate channel choices. Like most marketing endeavors, it then calls for personalization, integrations across channels, and automation’s helping hand. Should it make sense for you and fit your budget, retargeting will also serve as an excellent asset.

Finally, it requires a very keen eye on analytics, as monitoring and attribution are the primary challenges of multichannel marketing. Still, with proper planning and careful execution, you may overcome this challenge and reap its many benefits.

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