What is Multichannel Marketing? Importance, Benefits & Strategy Explained

Why is multichannel marketing important?
Multichannel marketing is important because it allows you to reach out to more customers using different channels or a combination thereof. These include email, mobile, websites, social media, and events, among others. Multichannel marketing allows your customers to interact with your brand in a channel that suits them.

It’s said that the next Starbucks would be in a Starbucks parking lot. While this is obviously exaggerated and meant as a humorous aside, it’s one of the principles that make multichannel marketing effective. After all, the more Starbucks you encounter, the more likely you’ll buy a shot of (sugary) espresso. But what is multichannel marketing?

Multichannel marketing allows you to reach your customers wherever they are. You may have influencers talking about your brand on their favorite social network or exposing them to your ads when they ride the subway. What matters is that multichannel marketing gives you multiple avenues to chase and convert leads. That said, you shouldn’t just blast ads haphazardly everywhere you want. Multichannel marketing requires a specific strategy.

This is exactly what we’re going to talk about in today’s post. We’ll discuss what makes multichannel marketing important, how it can help you reach your sales targets, and what strategies you can employ. Your choice of marketing tools will also figure into how effective your multichannel campaign will be, so we’ll also highlight the applications you can use when possible.

Multichannel Marketing guide main web

Multichannel marketing isn’t merely a fad. As far back as 2015, 91% of marketers already know how important this method is, and thus plan to invest more in it for the next few years. Why, though? The answer is an increased opportunity for revenue.

When you’re in any business, the most significant motivating factor is always revenue. 9 in 10 brands report that a multichannel strategy gives them higher sales. A study by Adobe says that over half of businesses claim that these strategies allow them to hit or even exceed their targets for a given cycle.

Profits aside, multichannel marketing has a lot more benefits. The main goal is to reach an audience, either to sell or to send a message. Today, multiple channels abound, and buyers are in complete ownership of a purchasing process. Placing your brand strategically is, thus, a powerful move that can cement your place in the buyer’s mind. After all, nearly 75%  of all consumers prefer an integrated approach—which is what multichannel marketing can do.

Image source: SAS

1. Importance of multichannel marketing

It’s common knowledge in the marketing world that to convert leads to sales, you must be where your consumers are. By this logic, the more channels you can tap and penetrate to market to your customers, the better. This is where the benefits of multichannel marketing are evident. It allows you to go wherever your customers are and then sell to them in the channel that they choose.

Multichannel marketing can improve your brand’s performance by giving prospects multiple ways to interact with your business. It’s not just in theory, though. The numbers don’t lie:

  • Brands that use multichannel marketing see 30% higher customer lifetime values. (Think With Google).
  • Businesses with multichannel strategies retain 89% of their customers. (Invesp).
  • Customer satisfaction is 23 times higher in brands with multichannel strategies. (Aberdeen).
  • Customers that are exposed to multichannel marketing generally spend 10% more than people who aren’t. (Harvard Business Review).

Challenges facing multichannel marketing

All these statistics make it evident that multichannel marketing is one of the best ways to generate sales. However, with no strategy in place to make it effective, or at least surmount the challenges facing multichannel marketers, it will only make you bleed money. To address this issue, you need to look at the obstacles preventing brands from adopting an overarching multichannel strategy:

  • 11% of marketers say rolling out a multichannel marketing campaign is tricky. (Invesp).
  • Meanwhile, 21% say that their company doesn’t have the right tools for multichannel campaigns. (Invesp).
  • Plus, nearly half of all marketers say that they need the help of IT when marketing in multiple channels. (Multichannel Digital Marketing Report).

Challenges Facing Multichannel Marketers

What marketers lack when rolling out multichannel campaigns

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Source: Invesp

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These challenges are proof that multichannel marketing can be done if the brand itself is willing to adapt to such a strategy. Know-how and technical sophistication can be learned if the company is serious in investing in multichannel experiences.

2. Integrated vs. multichannel vs. omnichannel marketing

Note the word “experiences.” This is because several marketing disciplines make use of multiple channels to deliver a message. Apart from multichannel, the other two major forms include omnichannel marketing and integrated marketing. There are terms usually bandied around in these discussions and are somewhat related to each other.

To be fair, the differences between these three are so subtle that, to the uninitiated, they will likely seem the same. If you want to know how multichannel differs from omnichannel marketing, here’s a condensed explanation.

  • Multichannel marketing – This method aims to interact with customers with a combination of channels, direct or indirect. This enables customers to take the company’s desired action, whether to buy or to learn more, on the channel that they want.
  • Omnichannel marketing – Omnichannel uses multichannel concepts to deliver a seamless experience to the customer. The main difference in multichannel marketing vs. omnichannel is that the latter unifies the experience, so the user may start with one channel and end it with another.
  • Integrated marketing – This form of marketing is concerned with the consistency of the message delivered through any channel. It focuses on providing the same content, style, and presentation to whatever medium the brand wants to disseminate its message.

multichannel vs multichannel marketing

They’re not necessarily mutually exclusive, however. Most marketers now see the value of combining these three into one marketing campaign. After all, a consumer will likely be confused if the business is reaching out to him with varying messages, or if the company offers multiple channels. Still, the customer has to start from scratch every time he switches screens. Therefore, a successful multichannel campaign delivers all three in one package.

3. Multichannel marketing strategy

Laying out a multichannel marketing strategy isn’t that difficult. However, the most important thing is to set your goals from the outset. This is where asking yourself some questions may come in handy. For example, how do you want your customers to perceive your brand? What measure can be considered a “success”? And what do you offer that other brands don’t?

When you’re done asking yourself these hard questions, it’s time to outline a step-by-step procedure to make a multichannel marketing campaign.

Identify your audience

Running any marketing campaign, multichannel ones included, means knowing who you’re marketing to. Once you identify your target, discovering what channel or medium they’re mostly spending their time in is already half the battle won. Utilizing one of these social listening tools can help you find the channel that’s most relevant to your users.

List at least three of these channels that you can readily make a campaign for. Naturally, these three channels should be where they mostly spend their time but consider other factors too. For example, some people engage more in a particular social network than others, so keep this in mind when creating a multichannel campaign.

Determine the message

The next part is to craft a message that the customer will retain in their mind. One of marketing’s golden rules, the Rule of 7, is a great way to look at this message—which means the customer needs to experience a single, consistent message at least seven times before it sticks in their mind. The advent of social media can make this rule obsolete, so take advantage of this fact.

Remember the section above regarding integrated marketing? That will come in useful at this stage. Multichannel campaigns can incorporate a strong, consistent message across the channels where you want to reach your customers. One of the best ways to do this is to create a brand persona that connects with your audience. Make sure your persona is “human” enough that your audience can quickly identify with.

Automate your processes

Multichannel campaigns also need timing. This is useful as well when you’re capitalizing on social media, as people are more active at certain days of the week (and certain times of the day). But it’s not just on social media. Any multichannel content needs timing, so your audience gets the same message at the time and place they’re most likely to receive it.

Software can be so much help in this area. A tool like HubSpot Marketing is indispensable, as it can help you stick to your message and schedule and automate some of the everyday processes of a multichannel campaign.

The app sports a drag-and-drop, no-coding required functionality, which minimizes one of the barriers in multichannel marketing—coordinating with IT and website developers.

Should you want to investigate the platform firsthand, you can easily do so when you sign up for HubSpot Marketing free trial here.

An example of a typical HubSpot Marketing dashboard.

Analyze your results

You can’t track which campaign is performing well when you don’t have an analytics platform in place. Analytics should monitor your engagement and response, so you know what kind of strategy is working, or if you need to fine-tune your existing strategy. As you will likely need to present your findings from raw data, resources that can help you translate figures to valuable insights to your investors, clients, and employees are also a big help.

4. Examples of multichannel marketing in action

There are noteworthy examples of brands utilizing multichannel marketing to great effect. We’ll include a brief list of the best examples of multichannel marketing that you can take inspiration from.

Adding hashtags to ads

This is one of the most basic examples of multichannel marketing. A third of Twitter users tweet about what they see on TV, so it’s a good idea to promote hashtags on TV ads. Prime placements for these ads are often in TV spots where viewership is high, like the Super Bowl.

Budweiser’s ad for Super Bowl XLVIII. Note the hashtag.

Tailoring your storefront

One of the best examples of multichannel marketing is Apple. Their strategy unifies customer experience in all areas, from packaging, software design, and storefronts.

One of the foremost examples is the Glass Box, their flagship store at New York’s Fifth Avenue. The design conveys what people can expect from using an Apple product instead of saying what the product itself does. This utilizes a brick-and-mortar store itself as a marketing tool.

The Glass Box, prior to its January 2019 redesign.

Taking advantage of omnichannel

Omnichannel and multichannel aren’t mutually exclusive. Take it from Uniqlo, which combines mobile applications and AR technologies to augment a consumer’s choice in clothing. One of their stores uses Sharp’s Magic Mirror technology, which is a virtual dressing room. Here you can try different hues of an article of clothing without having to try them on one by one.

Uniqlo’s Magic Mirror in action, where you can see different hues of the item you’re trying.

Another is their mobile app. Uniqlo offers a seamless experience where you can check the availability of stocks and the nearest Uniqlo store, and then complete the purchase in a physical location.

Multichannel marketing: Reaching out and getting heard

Ideally, any marketing campaign in a world saturated with eCommerce and digital natives should take a multichannel approach. This is because using multiple channels (or combining them) can improve your conversions by exposing your brand to more eyes and ears than merely being content with only one channel. Our guide to lead generation can also point you in the right direction.

However, it’s not simply enough to blast your messages across all channels that exist. Integrating and unifying the message is essential, as well as how the user can smoothly transition from one channel to another. A strategy to make your efforts worthwhile is likewise critical and can save you a lot of time from trial and error. In general, following a sound marketing strategy can have a huge payoff.

A marketing resource like HubSpot Marketing can do the trick. This software is itself an integrated solution that can help you tap the marketing channels available to you all in one single application. You can check the solution closely when you sign up for HubSpot Marketing free trial here.

Otherwise, you can also look at our eCommerce software picks to help you sell and market your products and services. Some of the best eCommerce applications also support multichannel marketing and will further streamline your multichannel efforts and strategy.
Astrid Eira

By Astrid Eira

Astrid Eira is a resident B2B expert of FinancesOnline, focusing on the SaaS niche. She specializes in accounting and human resource management software, writing honest and straightforward reviews of some of the most popular systems around. Being a small business owner herself, Astrid uses her expertise to help educate business owners and entrepreneurs on how new technology can help them run their operations. She's an avid fan of the outdoors, where you'll find her when she's not crunching numbers or testing out new software.

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