What Is Multi-Channel Marketing?

Aaron Gilbreath | November 22, 2022

Building your brand and putting prospects in the pipeline in today’s competitive market requires marketing across many different platforms, using many different tactics.

In the competitive digital space, brands can no longer rely on a single channel to build brand awareness and convert leads. Optimized articles can generate traffic. Social posts can generate conversations, and paid search can direct customers to stores with targeted local keywords, but brands have to put these and other tactics in practice at once, across numerous platforms, to get your target audience’s attention. Successful marketing requires what is called a multi-channel approach.

What Is Multi-Channel Marketing?

Multi-channel marketing is a strategy for getting your message to your target audience by utilizing different marketing tactics and platforms simultaneously, to move them to action.

Think about all the places where you stumble on brand names and do your own product research. Every day, on screens across numerous devices, you encounter video, email, websites, blog posts, sponsored content, search engines, social networks, podcasts, as well as the print posters, retail stores, direct mail, print catalogs, and signage you encounter offline. Multi-channel marketing combines these indirect and direct communication channels to reach customers, and to reach them on the channel of their choice.

The proliferation of channels has given customers more ways to shop and gather information than ever before. Some customers use many channels. Other customers use a select few channels. That proliferation of choices has also given customers enormous control over the buying process, because they choose which channels they use and the channels where brands find them. Finding customers can feel daunting, but this proliferation of choices means that marketers have more ways to reach customers than ever before.

When companies create a consistent marketing presence in numerous online and offline places, that increased reach improves their ability to reach customers along the customer journey, compared to focusing on a single channel, because today’s customers are everywhere at once. While multi-channel marketing deploys distinct messages for each platform, each is connected in a comprehensive, uniform strategy.

What Is the Goal of Multi-Channel Marketing?

The goal of multi-channel marketing is to reach prospects and market to customers across many channels, online and offline, and get them in the pipeline. That means marketing in many places at once instead of running a single campaign or focusing on a single marketing tactic, like email or social.

Multi-channel marketing is useful because there is no one type of customer who uses one channel. Numerous popular digital platforms fill our modern marketplace, and customers use many of them, from Instagram to LinkedIn, YouTube to review sites. Brands must use them, too.

Multi-channel marketing is also useful because customers’ path to purchase includes many different stages, from performing preliminary research to generating product preferences to visiting a brick and mortar store. Customers operate both offline and online. Generating brand awareness and getting customers in the pipeline in the digital age requires finding customers at different stages in their path to purchase. A multi-channel marketing campaign aims to reach customers where they are at different phases and different places. That includes posters and billboards and social media.

Multi-channel marketing is beneficial to customers because it makes it easier for people to research products and simple to make informed, and fast, purchases. Multi-channel marketing benefits businesses because casting a wider net means catching more customers. When customers find a brand who engages them on channels like social media, who seems accessible and passionate, they can become dedicated customers.

Multi-channel marketing allows companies to show different sides of themselves in different venues and harness unique aspects of particular platforms. For instance, when customers find a brand posting about social issues and their brand’s values, the customer’s values might align with them, creating a brand advocate. You can’t do successful generational marketing only with bus ads and billboards, and you can’t reach those socially conscious consumers without using digital channels. To reach young, engaged customers, you need a multi-channel marketing strategy.

Building a Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy

To build a marketing presence wherever your customers are, create an effective strategy:

  1. Create your buyer persona
  2. Identify which channels to target in your strategy
  3. Create your messaging for that personae
  4. Integrate your channels to create harmony and a cohesive experience
  5. Determine key performance indicators
  6. Evaluate performance and modify future campaigns
  7. Invest in retargeting

What Is the Most Effective Marketing Channel and Why?

The most effective marketing channels change all the time. Customers keep discovering new platforms and modes of communication, so business must find them, too.

For instance, more traditional print marketing channels such as billboards, flyers, and posters remain effective, but digital tactics have equaled or supplemented them for many industries. Social media remains extremely effective across the board, but the specific platform, be it Instagram or TikTok, that outrank the others is constantly changing. Although Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube will likely remain effective channels for reaching customers, your target audience will find new platforms where they choose to spend their time in the future. By keeping up to date on consumer behavior and marketing trends, you can keep informed about the most effective marketing channels.

Also remember that the most popular channels are not necessarily the most effective for achieving your goals. Effectiveness depends on many factors, such as whether you are trying to reach a particular demographic — including the 62 million Hispanic members of the U.S. population — or if you want to engage customers on some of the polarizing, sensitive social issues of our time, such as reproductive rights, LBGTQ rights, gun safety, and climate change.

To engage the Hispanic community in Spanish, for example, effective tactics include paid search, paid social, and dynamic landing pages.

To engage your customers over social issues, social media will likely be your most effective channel, since customers across many generations, from Millennials to Gen Z, spend a lot of time on social media, although they have slightly different shopping habits. Getting to know your customers will help you find the most effective channels and to better speak their language.

Take all of this and more into account.

Multi-Channel Marketing Challenges

Multi-channel marketing presents logistical challenges because of the complexity of marketing across numerous channels and using multiple tactics. For instance, a popular clothing brand can run promotions on print assets inside stores, billboards, and bus stops, but they should also reach prospects through campaigns on social, and they can promote different messages on each traditional print and social channel at the same time.

Working multiple channels creates opportunities for challenges and confusion. The same message won’t work on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. You need to tailor your messaging for your multiple channels. Because you are targeting the same audience, though, you need a coherent strategy that makes sense together, and for each platform. To keep your message cohesive, make sure your team members communicate clearly about their larger objectives as they focus on individual platforms.

When creating a multichannel marketing campaign, make sure to:

  1. Message consistently
  2. Coordinate the technology
  3. Accurately measure engagement, triggers, and reach

Ready to Reach Local Customers in the Many Places They Shop?

Contact BrandMuscle to chat about how we can help you identify your target audience’s behaviors to develop a multi-channel marketing strategy that reaches them where they are.

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