The Future of Multi-Channel Marketing (ClickZ)

For the past three months, I've been looking for a new TV. I read articles about the latest technologies, searched for reviews, watched product videos, visited retailer websites, received product brochures both via email and the good old mailbox, and even used my phone to compare prices while standing in the store. I won't tell you which brand we picked in the end, but I will say two things: 1) that 3D is pretty cool with the right movie, and 2) it was a multi-channel research project. Display, video, mobile, email, direct mail - all played a role in my decision.

While the content experience was decidedly multi-channel, the marketing experience was anything but. Did I get display ads that were retargeted based on visiting retailer's sites? Of course. Did I get ads for televisions when watching product reviews? Absolutely. Were these two programs coordinated? Not at all. And how about that print brochure - was it tied to any other marketing channels? Not even close!

For marketers, this represents a major inefficiency; but it's also an incredible opportunity. Imagine if you could understand the consumer across every media channel and coordinate your messaging, frequency, and sequencing to tell them the story of your brand in a way you know will resonate with them. I'm the same regardless of what media channel I'm using - but because today's marketing solutions treat every channel as a silo, my marketing experience was completely uncoordinated. Had they seen it, it would have been more efficient for the brands and a much better experience for me!

Now here's the exciting part: everything I just described is rapidly becoming a reality.

It wasn't long ago that marketers were first able to optimize campaign performance for digital display advertising. They were able to use predictive modeling capabilities and ad exchanges to buy, deliver, track, and optimize display ad campaigns. The goal at that point was simply to create incremental audience reach and meet performance goals.

Now, marketers are beginning to apply a more "holistic" strategy, as reflected by the flow of marketing dollars from offline to online. They are leaving the traditional siloed marketing approaches behind to create a more integrated presence across multiple media channels: social media, mobile, video, TV, mail, email, search, and display. The integration of audience data from multiple sources makes it possible to correlate customer attributes and interests to replace the wasteful shotgun approach to marketing with more targeted, effective, and memorable multiple-channel campaigns.

Advertisers and marketers certainly don't lack data; what they lack is the ability to integrate the data they have to extract valuable and actionable insights. The emergence of data management platforms (DMPs) provides a means to manage the flow of data between consumers and brands and between brands and agencies, enabling marketers to improve campaign performance across all media channels. The multi-channel optimization offered by DMPs lets advertisers and brands deliver a consistent message no matter which channel is used.

No one can deny that marketing is undergoing a major shift. New channels have created new opportunities to reach a broader spectrum of audiences more effectively. Traditional channels won't be going away any time soon - which leaves marketers with the challenge of selecting which will be the most effective channels for a particular campaign and determining the optimal budget allocations on a channel-by-channel basis. This is a Herculean task. Thankfully, DMP technology is available to help. With the proper data management system, multi-channel marketing campaigns can deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time, and through the most effective channel for real-time marketing success.

I'll be in the market for a new car in the near future - hopefully marketers will have their act together and I'll have a fantastic multi-channel experience.

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