Multichannel Marketing: Why You Need to Diversify Your Strategy
According to Gartner, B2B buyers only spend 17% of their buying cycle with suppliers, and almost 50% doing independent online and offline research.
With buyers spending less direct time with suppliers, marketers have to work harder to ensure their brand remains top of mind. Multichannel marketing is a marketing approach that uses multiple online and offline channels to reach your audience. Multichannel marketing is not only a SaaS marketing strategy, but can serve businesses of all industries and sizes. By diversifying your marketing with different channels, you can not only enhance brand visibility, but you can improve customer engagement, and drive higher conversion rates. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore what multi-channel marketing means, dive into its benefits, highlight common mistakes to avoid, discuss effective strategies, introduce valuable tools, and differentiate it from omnichannel marketing.
What does multi-channel mean?
Before we jump into the advantages of multi-channel marketing, let's clarify what this term means. Multichannel marketing refers to the practice of reaching and engaging with your target audience across many channels, both online and offline. These channels can include digital marketing channels such as websites, social media, email, mobile apps, and SMS, as well as offline channels such as print media, and in-person events. The intent is to create a cohesive, cross-channel brand presence while providing prospects and customers with a choice in how they interact with your brand.
Benefits of multi-channel marketing
Enhanced brand awareness
One of the primary benefits of multichannel marketing is increased brand visibility. Remember that statistic that 50% of the buying cycle is spent independently researching? When your brand is engaging with your audience across multiple platforms, you increase the chances of reaching them. Consider this scenario: A prospect encounters your brand on social media, sees your website in a Google search result, and then receives an email newsletter from you. This multi-channel exposure reinforces your brand's presence and makes it more likely that the individual will remember and consider your brand when making a purchasing decision.
Improved customer engagement
Multichannel marketing allows for more diverse and personalized interactions with your audience. Gartner's 2023 multichannel marketing survey revealed that "54% of respondents [brands] that strongly prioritize first-party customer data exceed growth expectations through customer retention activities over those who don’t (35%)". This proves how valuable personalization is in For extending the lifetime value of a customer. However, in order for personalization to be effective, you have to reach your customer base. This is where a multichannel marketing strategy comes in handy. With your customers ranging in preference of channel, developing a marketing plan across multiple channels increases the opportunity that you'll reach them. For example, you can engage customers through social media conversations, email newsletters, and webinars. Each channel provides a unique opportunity to engage your customers through personalization.
Higher conversion rates
Ultimately, the goal of marketing is to convert leads into customers. Multichannel marketing can significantly impact conversion rates. According to a study by McKinsey, 83 percent of B2B leaders believe that multichannel selling is a more successful way to prospect and secure new business compared to the traditional, “face-to-face only” sales approaches. By providing consistent messaging and a seamless experience across channels, you increase the likelihood that potential customers will take action.
Seamless customer experience
Today's B2B buyers expect a seamless experience when interacting with brands. They want to move effortlessly between channels without feeling disconnected. Multichannel marketing helps you deliver this seamless experience by ensuring that the messaging, branding, and user experience remain consistent across all touchpoints. When customers experience a cohesive journey, they are more likely to trust your brand and become loyal customers.
Example: A fast-food chain with both physical locations and a mobile app ensures a seamless experience for its customers. Customers can order ahead using the app, customize their meals, pay digitally, and pick up their orders in-store. The branding and menu options are consistent whether customers order in person or through the app, providing a frictionless experience.
Common mistakes to avoid in multichannel marketing
While multichannel marketing offers numerous benefits, there are common mistakes that should be avoided.
One of the biggest mistakes in multichannel marketing is inconsistent branding. When your branding, messaging, or tone of voice differs significantly between channels, it can confuse customers and erode trust. Your brand identity should remain consistent across all channels to create a unified and memorable brand image.
Example: A software company that uses a professional and formal tone on its website but adopts a casual and humorous tone on social media might confuse its audience. Consistency in messaging and tone is crucial.
Data is at the heart of successful multichannel marketing. Failing to collect, analyze, and act on data from each channel can significantly hinder your strategy. You might miss opportunities for improvement, fail to understand your audience's preferences, and waste resources on ineffective channels.
Strategies for effective multichannel marketing
Now that we've covered the benefits and common mistakes, let's explore strategies for an effective multichannel approach.
Consistency in marketing messages is key to a successful multichannel marketing strategy. Your brand's core message, value proposition, and mission should remain consistent across all channels. This doesn't mean using the same exact copy; instead, it means conveying the same underlying message in a way that suits each channel.
Example: A nonprofit organization focused on environmental conservation consistently communicates its mission of protecting nature. On its website, it provides in-depth information, while on social media, it shares visually engaging stories and updates—all in alignment with its mission.
Buyer persona mapping
Understanding your audience is vital for a successful multichannel strategy. Create detailed customer personas for your target demographics. These personas should include information about their preferences, behaviors, pain points, and goals. With this knowledge, you can tailor your messaging and content to resonate with each persona across various channels.
Example: An online fitness subscription service targets two primary customer personas: busy professionals and fitness enthusiasts. They create content that speaks to the different needs and preferences of these two groups—blog posts about quick workouts for professionals and in-depth training guides for enthusiasts.
Data-driven decision making
Data should drive your multichannel marketing decisions. However, before you can effectively measure your marketing performance, you have to identify which metrics represent success. Then you can collect data and analyze. Then use the insights to optimize and refine your strategy. Identify which mediums are delivering the best results and allocate your resources accordingly. Data-driven decision making allows you to optimize your marketing efforts continuously.
Example: An e-commerce company tracks the customer journey on their website, through email click-through rates, and social media engagement. By analyzing the data, they discover that email marketing is highly effective in driving conversions. They decide to allocate more resources to email campaigns and refine their email content based on customer behavior data.
Engagement marketing is an approach that focuses on building meaningful and interactive relationships with your audience. It's about creating content and experiences that not only capture your audience's attention but also encourage them to actively participate and engage with your brand. Building these relationships across multiple channels is crucial as, again, you want to capture your audience's attention on the channel they prefer.
Example: A cosmetics company employs engagement marketing by launching a user-generated content campaign on social media. They encourage customers to share photos and videos of themselves using their products, with the chance to be featured on the company's website and social media channels. This not only creates a sense of community but also generates authentic content that resonates with potential customers. Check out other engagement marketing examples.
Tools for multichannel marketing
To effectively implement multichannel marketing, you need the right tools to manage and analyze your efforts. Here are some essential tools:
Marketing automation platforms
Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, Marketo, and Pardot enable you to automate and streamline marketing tasks across multiple channels. They allow you to create, schedule, and track cross-channel marketing campaigns, making it easier to maintain a consistent presence.
Analytics and tracking tools
Tools like Google Analytics and Mixpanel help you collect and analyze your digital marketing ROI. You can track website traffic, user behavior, conversion rates, and more. These insights are invaluable for making data-driven decisions and tracking marketing attribution.
Audience engagement tools
Engaging your audience across multiple channels requires tools for managing and scheduling content. Social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer help you schedule and monitor posts on different platforms. Email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign enable you to create and send email campaigns efficiently.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Systems
An effective marketing mix often involves managing and nurturing customer relationships across various touchpoints. CRM systems are essential tools for maintaining a comprehensive view of your customers and prospects. These systems enable you to capture and organize customer data, track interactions, and automate personalized communication.
Multichannel marketing vs. omnichannel marketing
Before we conclude, let's distinguish multichannel marketing from omnichannel marketing, as the two terms are often used interchangeably. While both approaches aim to provide a seamless customer experience, they have some key differences.
Multichannel marketing focuses on using multiple channels to interact with customers. However, these channels may not necessarily be integrated or connected. Each channel operates somewhat independently, and the customer experience might not be entirely seamless when transitioning between them.
Omnichannel marketing takes integration a step further. It's about creating a fully connected customer experience. In an omnichannel approach, all channels are interconnected, and customer data and interactions are shared across them. This means that a customer can start an interaction on one channel and seamlessly continue it on another without losing any information.
Example: A clothing retailer practicing multichannel marketing might have an online store, a mobile app, and physical retail locations. These channels operate independently, and customers can use them separately. In contrast, an omnichannel clothing retailer would enable customers to browse items on their app, visit a physical store to try them on, and have their online shopping cart updated in real-time with the items they tried on in the store.
In summary, multichannel marketing involves using various channels to reach your audience, while omnichannel marketing takes it a step further by providing a fully integrated and seamless customer experience.
Incorporating a multichannel marketing strategy can significantly benefit your business by enhancing brand visibility, improving customer engagement, increasing conversion rates, and delivering a seamless customer experience. By avoiding common mistakes, implementing effective strategies, and utilizing the right tools, you can harness the power of multichannel marketing to reach and connect with your audience effectively. Remember that, in the end, it's about meeting your customers where they are and providing them with a consistent and personalized experience across all channels.
Frequently asked questions about Multichannel Marketing
What is a multichannel strategy?
A multichannel strategy refers to the practice of using multiple communication and distribution channels to reach and engage with a target audience. These channels can include websites, social media, email, webinars, direct mail, in-person events, and more. The goal of a multichannel strategy is to provide a seamless and consistent experience for customers across various touchpoints, ultimately driving better engagement and conversions.
What is an example of multichannel marketing?
Imagine a B2B software company that offers a comprehensive project management tool for businesses. They employ a multichannel marketing strategy to reach potential customers, which includes a combination of digital and offline channels.
- Online Presence: The company maintains an informative website where businesses can learn about their project management solution. They regularly publish blog posts and whitepapers about project management best practices, drawing in organic traffic through search engines.
- Social Media: They have an active presence on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, where they share industry insights, success stories, and engage in conversations with potential clients.
- Email Marketing: The company has a segmented email list. They send out newsletters with the latest product updates, case studies, and tips for using their software effectively. They also run targeted email campaigns to nurture leads and encourage them to schedule a demo.
- Webinars and Events: Recognizing the value of in-depth engagement, they host webinars on project management challenges and solutions. They also participate in industry conferences, where they showcase their software and network with potential clients.
- Direct Sales: Their sales team actively reaches out to leads generated through various channels, offering personalized product demonstrations and consultations.
What is multichannel vs single-channel marketing?
Multichannel marketing involves using multiple channels to reach and engage with your audience, while single-channel marketing relies on just one primary channel for communication and promotion. Single-channel marketing may be effective for certain businesses, but it can limit your reach and engagement opportunities. Multichannel marketing, on the other hand, allows you to diversify your approach, engage with customers where they are most comfortable, and create a more cohesive brand experience across different touchpoints. It's a more comprehensive strategy for reaching and converting potential customers.