Common eCommerce Mistakes | Not using a multichannel marketing approach – Part #9
Businesses with an ecommerce focus often downplay the effectiveness of multichannel marketing by only using digital marketing channels. MultiChannel marketing allows the ecommerce business to reach its prospective or current customer in a channel of their liking. This supports the brand by showing the prospective customer that the brand is everywhere which in turn shows the company as being trustworthy, broad in scope and loaded with people they can relate to.
Multichannel marketing enables the customer to choose the method of engagement rather than the marketer. Consumer choice is a beautiful thing!
Companies that sell branded products and services through local businesses, utilize both online and offline marketing channels. Online tactics are things like on page SEO, social media and digital broadcasts. Offline marketing channels consist of things like outbound calls, direct mail, live events, printed media and more. A proportion of companies use their online marketing efforts to inform their offline advertising (i.e. they test keywords online to understand if they fit with customer intent before printing them in offline ads).
In order to realize the full value of multichannel marketing strategy, ecommerce businesses must use and understand several variables.
- Optimization of channel pricing and differentiation. Each marketing channel has its cost. Each marketing channel has a unique reach and methodology. Example, email and SMS (text messaging) has a nearly free or very low cost of delivery. However, they tend to show themselves to an audience and poof they are out of sight and out of mind. Digital retargeting can be expensive but continually follows your prospective customer from one site partner to another. Understanding how to optimize the cost and track the overall effectiveness of each channel in the funnel is critical.
- Value of consolidated data. It's both difficult and expensive to consolidate data from different media channels and platforms. Thankfully, many platforms exist that enable the ecommerce business platform to manage and measure both offline and online marketing channels. Having the data and knowing what the data says and does not say is an art and once understood can and will support optimization efforts.
- Delivering targeted media based upon user behavior. Your data should show you which contacts are using a mobile device. Your sales data should track who purchases via bulk mail. Your customer service department should know which customers prefer personal service over the phone. All of this data can feed a multichannel marketing process so that your business knows who to reach when and where. All of which can be used to drive traffic to your ecommerce platform or support the need for tablets at a live event that enable purchases when in-person.
This chart from SmartInsights supports the theory that the customer lifecycle has many touch points and the importance of the types of online and offline touch points along the customer journey.
Ecommerce businesses will benefit from multichannel customer marketing by understanding that certain channels are used for different reasons. SMS text messages work best for short messages that have a sense of urgency. While email works best for nurturing with longer text. And Facebook works best when a social community is desired as a rally cry or social proof. Determining which avatar prefers which method is very powerful!
What businesses quickly learn from multichannel marketing is that the combination of methods is what optimizes and maximizes results. The whole is definitely more valuable that any one part. However, attributing the marketing touch point that closed the deal is increasingly difficult. What may appear as a Facebook lead may have actually been a customer word-of-mouth referral.
In this age of modern devices, which one customer may use several of, multichannel marketing is a fact of life. Tailoring the message to both the device and the buyer persona is a fundamental marketing strategy for any business with an ecommerce presence.
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