As marketers we hear a lot about multi-channel marketing, but what does that really mean? SAS defines it as:
“Multi-channel marketing refers to the practice of interacting with customers using a combination of indirect and direct communication channels – websites, retail stores, mail order catalogs, direct mail, email, mobile, etc. – and enabling customers to take action in response – preferably to buy your product or service – using the channel of their choice. In the most simplistic terms, multichannel marketing is all about choice.”
Smart marketers realize that not everyone will read your email, visit your website, click on your QR code or open your direct mail. However, if you are using multiple channels to reach your targets, it is likely they will engage with you in at least one of those channels. No one channel will reach all of your targets.
Many organizations eliminate some of the marketing channels available for a variety of reasons:
- They assume that their targets prefer one channel over all of the others. This mistake is often made when marketing to the millennials. It is just assumed that they prefer texting or social media over all of the other channels.
- When faced with budget cuts, they eliminate channels instead of focusing their marketing to a targeted list.
- They assume that the perceived low-cost/no-cost channels like social media and email could replace the traditional channels that require more investment.
We experienced many of our clients moving away from direct mail due to production and postage costs, but when email and social media proved ineffective as stand alone channels, we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming them back to those more traditional marketing channels.
A study by The NPD Group shows that 81% of Millennials prefer to spend their money in bricks-and-mortar stores. Marketers assumed that these 18-30 year olds would shop online, more than any other generation. In addition, 33% of Millenials look to direct mail for store promotions, coupons and information. So, you can see that eliminating direct mail when marketing to this target group could be a mistake.
And, it’s not just about reaching your targets via multiple channels, but making sure they can respond to you in their channel of choice. Try to never eliminate a response channel in your marketing communications. Make it easy for them to contact you via multiple channels – telephone, email, your website, reply mail, social media.
No channel alone is as effective as using multiple channels. Research shows that when customers interact with you over multiple channels, they buy more, buy more often and are therefore more profitable. This is called a media multiplier effect. SAS reports that multi-channel customers spend 3-4 times what the single channel customers spend. That alone is the reason to incorporate multi-channel campaigns into your marketing efforts.