There is no doubt that more and more companies in the print industry are looking to expand their services to include additional marketing channels. Certainly, some have been doing that for many years, while others may just be starting to hop on the transformation path.
The transformation from a print-only business to one that offers multi-channel marketing services certainly requires some big changes.
But in the end, one of the main things that matters is this: Can you help your clients to achieve their business objectives?
Below are some practical points and reminders to guide you down the path of multi-channel marketing success.
Move Fast… But Still Take the Time to Plan!
You want to send your marketing message (or your customer’s message) out to the world. But how do you go about getting it out there? You have a lot of options…direct mail, email, mobile marketing, social networking, and more. The good news is you don’t have to make a choice of one option only.
In fact, using a multi-channel marketing campaign combining online and offline efforts is known to work. But only if you know what you’re doing. Because if you and your marketing department go full steam ahead with a multi-channel campaign without certain features in place, you may just be headed for a multi-channel marketing meltdown!
It’s imperative that you take the time up-front to get involved with the creation of a strategy and plan that will guide the multi-channel marketing effort.
Always Keep the Target Audience in the Forefront
One major issue in any campaign (not just multi-channel marketing campaigns) is trying to be everything to everyone. It will never work if you try to be the “right” product or service for the largest amount of people. Because it’s not about the largest amount of people, it’s about the right people…your target market.
Not everyone wants or needs what you are selling. But your target market does! So that is the audience you need to fashion your marketing message around.
Consistency and Branding Are Still Critical
Another problem may occur when you “try out” different looks and styles when you send out your various marketing messages in a given campaign. Sure, I’m all for testing to find out what works. But if the creative on your direct mailer doesn’t match your landing page which doesn’t match your email, that’s not a very good thing.
Multi-channel marketing is not about multiple looks. Consistency is key. You want to keep your brand and message consistent. When prospects and customers see Ads via different media it is imperative that they feel the cohesion. Otherwise, you confuse your target market, potentially turning them away from your business completely.
Always Keep Moving Forward
As you develop your upcoming multi-channel marketing campaigns, are you implementing interactive features to engage your target market? If not, then you are failing to embrace technology as it evolves.
True interaction moves beyond the mere website visit. Think about mobile integration or social networking where your prospects and customers will have the ability to get instant feedback from a company representative.
Interaction encourages the building of relationships, and that leads to consumer action. People like to buy from and work with companies they feel comfortable with, and have a relationship with. If you don’t add interactive elements into your future multi-channel marketing campaigns, then you’re missing the boat!
In fact, it’s a good idea to encourage feedback from your prospects and especially current customers, to help identify strengths and weaknesses in the whole multi-channel experience. You want to know how the end recipient feels about the messages, the sales process, your products and services and so on. No marketing department should live in a bubble, unaware of the perceptions of others.
Integration is Key!
Lastly, it’s important you remember that just because a campaign involves multi-channels, it does not necessarily mean that the multi-channel campaign is integrated. Shooting out messages in different directions may be your downfall if you don’t create a program that works cohesively.
You can’t treat each channel independently.
Think about all the data and end-user experience you are possibly letting fall between the cracks if you operate this way. You want to coordinate the marketing with the sales portion and the customer service aspect. And you want to be able to measure all of your multi-channel marketing efforts in an apple-to-apple manner.
If you lack integration then you are definitely headed for a multi-channel marketing meltdown.
Read more from The Digital Nirvana: http://thedigitalnirvana.com/2012/07/avoiding-a-multi-channel-marketing-meltdown/
John Foley is the founder of Grow Socially (www.GrowSocially.com) which was founded in 2010 to help companies with their online marketing efforts, with a focus on social media.