‘Multi Channel Strategy’ and ‘Marketing Funnel’ are phrases that get thrown around a lot in the world of digital marketing and advertising, but how much do you really know about what they mean? Are you making the most of what they offer in terms of the opportunities available if you implement a multi channel strategy effectively? This beginner’s guide will help business people without this level of marketing experience get up to speed on how to guide their customers down the funnel.
What Is Multi Channel Strategy?
The theory behind multi channel marketing is a simple one. There are many ways in which your customers can interact with you and reach the point of sale or transaction, and these are called channels. The channels can be radio ads, TV ads, a website, social media, print ads, whatever you use to attract and interact with your customers. You want to make sure they have many ways to do that, and your multi channel strategy is how you manage all of these channels effectively.
The initial stage of the strategy has to be making sure you have an awareness of what channels your customers and potential customers are using, something that gets ever more complicated as the options continue to diversify and expand. Finding the right channels for you and the right messages for those channels is the challenge all marketers face and the only way you can ever do this successfully is to monitor and analyse the data you’re getting from them all.
Cohesion is key, and that is why you need a multi channel strategy, allowing you to have a single view of the customer across all the channels you could interact with them through and to give them a single view of you by providing a consistent experience for them across them all. For this you need a multi channel platform that combines campaign management, analytics and allows for easy integration of new channels.
To complicate things slightly, there’s an alternative to multi channel that often applies in the modern marketplace and that’s omnichannel, which factors in that customers aren’t always just able to be defined as coming through one channel, when there are so many ways that they can be engaged simultaneously (through email, social media and TV, for example). For your strategy, you need to be aware of whether multi channel or omnichannel best describes how your customers can be engaged.
What Is The Marketing Funnel?
An essential part of any multi channel strategy is the marketing funnel, a basic concept but one that remains entirely relevant even in these diverse and complicated times for marketers. Put simply, all of your customers go into the top of the funnel and those who come out at the bottom are the ones who have completed the journey to a sale (whatever represents a ‘sale’ for your business), and what goes on in-between is you trying to engage them, educate them and earn that sale.
Multi channel marketing is about widening the funnel by attracting more people from more places, using more and more channels. You can then use your funnel (you can have as many funnels as your service requires, depending on what your goals are) to determine where in the process you are losing customers. There are various tools (Google Analytics being one basic level option) that allows you to visualise this from your website stats and shows you which of your channels are being most effective in driving customers through the funnel and which need the most attention.
Who Is Using Multi Channel Marketing Well?
Say what you like about Apple’s decisions when it comes to earphone sockets, its marketing remains amongst the best in the world and it clearly utilises multi channel strategies to ensure a consistent journey for users across whatever platform or channel. A lot of this comes down to the minimalistic and rigidly-adhered-to brand guidelines, but it’s also down to a lot of planning and analysis of how best to engage with users and customers.
Another brand worth keeping your eye on for good multi channel practise is Burberry, which has ensured that it has seamlessly kept up with all the latest channels, incorporating new social media avenues like WeChat and Line in the Asian market into marketing strategies and using them just as well as the western social media platforms. This has helped it steal a march into a hugely important market without losing or muddying its marketing messages.
No matter what your business is, there are likely to be many channels through which customers can enter your marketing funnel, so having a multi channel strategy is the only way to ensure that you can run your campaigns across them all seamlessly to provide your customers with a slick and consistent user experience, while maintaining control and awareness of where your goals are (and aren’t) being met.
Do you use a multi channel strategy? If not, is it something you’re thinking about starting? Let us know in the comments. And don’t forget to subscribe to our blog.