One of the most difficult struggles for companies is finding a way to reconcile their traditional marketing channels with their digital channels. For companies that have been around a long time, the traditional marketing channels, such as radio or print advertising, could be old-hand with long-developed relationships. Newer companies may have their hand on the pulse of the digital world but be completely at a loss when it comes to getting the most bang out of their traditional marketing buck. Indeed, very few companies are truly successful at managing all of their channels as a cohesive multi-channel machine.
Multi-channel marketing is important for many different reasons. The first, and perhaps the most important is that your audience expects it. Almost three-quarters of all consumers spend time on multiple channels as they make their purchasing decision. Beyond that, there’s a strong correlation between the number of channels somebody engages with a company on and their overall value. In other words, the more channels you reach somebody on, the more money they’re going to spend.
Another reason it’s critical to have a strong integrated marketing approach is brand consistency. If your digital and traditional marketing campaigns don’t work well together, your messaging will be fragmented. Audience members who do engage with you across multiple channels may end up confused. In order to ensure your brand stays consistent, you must have a fully developed omnichannel marketing strategy.
One final reason to ensure your marketing strategy extends beyond all channels is because that’s what people want. Nobody wants to see the same content, with the same message, on the same channel. They crave variety. If you want your message to actually be engaging and effective, you must touch people on a wide variety of channels.
Of course, effectively using digital marketing alongside your existing traditional marketing channels is easier said than done. To make it a bit easier, we have put together six important tips for developing and managing a multi-channel marketing strategy.
1. Remember Your Four Ps
The basics are important when it comes to your integrated marketing strategy. That’s why you need to start with the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion:
Product: which products, services, and brands are you creating a marketing strategy for? If you have many, consider breaking them up into strategic buckets. For each individual product or bucket, you’ll need to consider the rest of the four Ps separately.
Price: for your marketing purposes, price is critical when it comes to your budget. If you’re going to spend $100 dollars on a particular campaign, for example, what results do you need to have a positive return on your investment? The actual price of your product also must be incorporated into your marketing. A $1,000 luxury item is marketed much differently than a $1 cheeseburger.
Place: what channels are the best way to communicate your message to your audience? This ultimately depends on where your audience spends their time. If you’re trying to reach a younger, technologically-savvy audience, newspaper ads might not be the best traditional venue to leverage, for example.
Promotion: a promotion doesn’t necessarily have to be a discount or an actual offer. A promotion in this sense can be anything done to create urgency. What carrots are you going to use to drive your audience further down the marketing funnel? Let’s take a further look at this specific tip below.
2. Analyze the Customer Journey to Create a Strategic Marketing Funnel
An integrated marketing strategy cannot be effective if there aren’t clear end-goals for every single campaign you’re running. Once you decide on your key audience, you need to map out a customer journey that leads to their conversion and beyond. Each step of the journey should then be carefully integrated into your marketing funnel.
Awareness is a good sample segment to consider. Unless you’re running a massive brand, most people will start off not knowing who you are or what you do. Think about your audience and where they’ll likely be receptive to marketing messages. Your goal here is to simply make them aware of your brand so by the time they’re ready to begin their purchasing journey, they’ll know who you are and have a reasonable level of trust in your brand (or at the very least, awareness).
Fill out the rest of your marketing funnel with interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, purchase, and post-purchase. Once you have the customer journey aligned with the marketing funnel, you’ll be able to easily slide your various campaigns into their proper buckets. Radio ads are great for brand awareness. Email marketing is the perfect place to nurture interest. By the time your audience is ready to commit in the evaluation stage, you should be hitting them on all fronts.
3. Include Digital Channels on All Traditional Advertising
The simplest step to take into fully integrating your digital and traditional marketing campaigns is by making sure you include your digital presence on any traditional ad. Newspaper ads and billboards should include a website or social media handle at the very least. Radio ads should include the same. Make sure it’s something easy to remember. If your Twitter handle is long and hard to spell, use your website URL, and vice-versa.
Whatever your initial digital landing spot is, optimize it to make it as simple as possible to take the next step. Put your mailing list front and center above the fold. Require only a single click, if possible. Make the CTA clear and strong. If this isn’t possible, you’ll need to create a separate, simple URL with a unique landing page specifically for each audience. Your goal is to make converting as simple as possible so you don’t miss out on a single prospect.
4. Use Traditional Marketing to Strengthen Digital Connections
When most people think of integrated marketing, they think of using traditional marketing channels to drive people to their digital marketing communications. It can go the other way, too. If you’re able to collect addresses, consider sending out a physical newsletter or mailer once in a while. It’s antithetical to what many typical digital brands are doing, meaning you’ll be able to stand out. You’ll also have their undivided attention for a couple of minutes, which is increasingly difficult in a digital world. Overall, the Direct Marketing Association found that direct mailers have a typical response rate that’s between 10 and 30 times greater than the typical response rate of an email campaign.
5. Cut Any Unnecessary Channels
It’s great to advertise on your favorite blog or on a prominent billboard near your home. It feels good to see your message consistently. But that doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. Take another look at your customer journey and marketing funnel. Are there any channels that aren’t a perfect fit, or are using up dollars from the marketing budget which could be better spent elsewhere? By trimming down your marketing channels to only the ones which are the most important and effective, you’ll be able to optimize them even further and get the most bang for your buck. Otherwise, you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin and diluting your message, which is what you’re trying to avoid in the first place.
6. Narrow Your Metrics Down Also
It’s important to keep your marketing metrics tight and narrow just as it’s important to keep your marketing channels tight and narrow. If you’re tracking too many different metrics, it’s going to become quite difficult to tell what’s actually successful and what’s simply white noise. Your best bet is taking a look at your various campaigns and deciding what your ultimate end goal for that campaign is. Figure out a handful of metrics that best show the success of that end goal.
Once you have these key metrics in hand, it’s the same process as always. Analyze your campaigns, optimize them wherever possible, and reiterate. Rinse and repeat, and your multi-channel marketing strategy will be running smoothly in no time at all.
A truly effective omnichannel marketing strategy is the ultimate goal for any brand. You’ll be able to reach a wide audience on their channels of preference and drive the message home everywhere they go. Your message will stay consistent and strong, giving them the exact information they need to take the next step to build your relationship together. All you have to do is follow the tips and strategies outlined above and constantly reiterate, test, and optimize.