Well, this is it, the last blog installment of 2013 and what a year it has been.  We’ve talked about copywriting, marketing strategies and social media; website reviews and writing plans were given mentions and we even discussed the do’s and don’ts of tweeting.  So to see us go out with a bang this year, but still impart a little intrigue for the start of next year, I’m going to touch on something that can easily be expanded on in 2014 – multichannel marketing.

Multi-channel marketing is a huge topic, and could be covered in a series of blog posts lasting as long as Corrie has, but to whet your appetite I am going to define what is meant by multi channel marketing and also look into a few of the more obvious and straightforward benefits of using it.

So when I say “multichannel marketing” what I am really talking about is making use of many different marketing channels to reach your customers with the channels being anything from a retail store, a website, a mail order catalogue, a social media post or direct personal communications by letter, telephone, email or text message. The objective of the companies doing the marketing is to make it easy for a consumer to buy from them in whatever way is most convenient.

A familiar example could be the local takeaway taking orders by phone, online or in person. To this end they have a website, a shop, and a telephone ordering line which they would print on their menus which are then distributed in the local neighbourhood.

At the opposite end of the scale, if you take a national retailer like Argos, you can buy in store, online and have delivered at home, reserve online and pay in store, order on phone or on their mobile site. They also send emails, print catalogues and have a mobile App. They have tried to make it as easy and convenient as possible for as many different people and consumer types to order from them.

This brings me on to the benefits of multi-channel marketing…

Reaching a wider audience

By creating more ‘touch’ points for your product and service you make it easier for customers to access and buy. You will also broaden the potential customer reach by offering channels based on the desired behaviour of the customer. For example, I don’t like speaking to people on the telephone when placing an order, so if the company offers online ordering they could gain my business. Without that option I may seek elsewhere that offered online ordering. Similarly, some product types benefit from being ordered by telephone and not just online. By having one channel, or limited channels, you really limit your potential audience.

Be more Convenient

By having multiple channels you can begin to offer greater flexibility and convenience to your customers. By offering online for example, you can then accept orders and showcase your product 24/7. This then does not constrain business to your opening hours and makes it as easy and flexible as possible for your customers to buy when they want. Also, by making it easier for your customers to order it shows you understand their needs and demands thus making them feel more valued.

Make your Marketing spend go further…

Having multiple channels can also make your marketing spend go further. Email for instance is far cheaper than mailing and printing, so it is therefore possible to reduce mailing costs and email more. Not only can you therefore communicate more, and spend less, but you can also be clever and target your customers based on their communication preferences (i.e. do they prefer mail or email, phone or text etc.)

Greater return on investment

If you target your customers based on their channel preferences, this should in turn improve performance and provide a greater return on investment for your marketing if done correctly.  If you start to segment your customers by their preferred and most productive channel you can then tailor communication to their preferences, and in turn target them more effectively. This can increase productivity of your customers both individually and as a group, and lead to increased orders and sales.

So there you have it, some of  the benefits of multi-channel marketing.  But like most things that involve making moola, getting multichannel marketing right is not as clear cut as it may seem,   but that will be another blog entirely.  Now go and party and have a brilliant festive season and remember to come back in 2014 to see what happens next in the world of multi-channel marketing.

The Marvel of Multichannel Marketing

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