A Multi-Channel Plan in 3 Steps

    There are many marketing channels available to you: digital; social; offline; referral, to name but a few. Each of these overarching channels then includes a whole ream of their own channels: email; SMS; Facebook; web personalisation; print etc.

    When you think about marketing to your customers, you have to think about all of these channels to ensure that you’ve reached every single customer you possibly can with the latest and greatest campaign / promotion / offer you’ve designed.

    I bet that’s what your boss is saying! “More is always more! Send more, make more! It’s the only way to convert our customers.”

    But there’s also the old adage, less is more. Do your customers really want to have the message rammed in their faces? I suspect not. Consider this scenario:

    You’ve woken up, it’s 7am and you see an email in your inbox advertising the best deal in the world. Everyone sends emails at 7am so it’s the right time, isn’t it? That’s a discussion for another day…

    Later that same day you’re sat at your desk minding your own business, perhaps trying to get your head around some data and you receive a text message telling you about the same deal.

    And then, when you arrive home from work, you find the postman has been. You’ve been sent a 10 page catalogue with the offer blazoned across the front cover which contains content you’re just not interested in.

    This has happened to me, a lot, and it genuinely turns me off a brand. I’m sure when I signed up that I said I wanted to receive emails, that’s fine. Brand X needed my postal address to deliver my order, but this is the third catalogue they’ve sent me and I’ve never ordered from it because I always buy in store after I’ve browsed online! That’s me and how I interact with Brand X.  Now, that won’t be indicative of their entire customer base because everyone’s different. Understanding and accommodating those differences is what will make a brand successful.

    So how do you prevent turning your customers off your brand? You need to start thinking about sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time via the right channel. How do you do that? Use the data you have to hand. It’s that ugly baby of marketing that just cannot be ignored.

    If Brand X had taken the time to look at my online / offline / purchasing behaviour, they’d have targeted their communications to me. They’d probably have just sent me an email during the launch of the campaign. The savvy marketer would have planned ahead, and sent a follow up SMS a couple of days later and only then if they hadn’t seen my in store purchase. If you take it to the next level, the link I clicked in my email would have taken me to a website which had been personalised for me. This would have surely saved Brand X some money somewhere along the line and ensured that the content I saw when I engaged with their campaign was relevant?

    Ok, so I promised 3 steps to set up a multi-channel marketing campaign. These are listed below, with some examples to help contextualise the step.

    1. Identify the right customers for the campaign. Don’t send a 50% off discount to your VIP customers; they’re likely to buy from you at full price so why dilute their value? Many retail brands have a male / female / kids department. If a customer only ever buys ladies jeans, don’t send them an email discounting men’s shoes.

    2. Identify the right channel for your customers. If a customer never clicks on an email, but always calls the dedicated number in the catalogue to place their order, don’t send them the email. And if you overlay that with the right customer, you won’t be sending a 50% discount direct mail postcard on men’s shoes to a loyal customer who only buys female clothing from the website.

    3. Consider the frequency of your communications. Across all channels. When will the email, SMS and catalogue arrive? In the earlier scenario there was a lot of brand in a customer’s face over a 24 hour period. Think about your follow up campaigns in advance. There are some really simple quick wins, particularly in the email world. You’ve sent an email containing the right message, to the right customers. You know they’re interested in the product, and that they’ve recently opened emails. But wait, they haven’t opened this email and it’s been 3 days! Set up, in advance, a simple follow up email to non-openers. The beauty of this is that it can be the same content, perhaps trying a different subject line to have another go at achieving an email open.

    By following these 3 simple steps, you should be able to drive a better conversion across all channels. And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it, getting the optimum return on your investment? So what will following these 3 steps ensure? You engage with the right customers, with the right message, at the right time via the right channel.