What happens when marketers limit multichannel marketing to purely channel-centric thinking? They narrow the scope of multichannel marketing and ultimately jeopardize their understanding for how customers want to connect, engage and buy.
Beware of vendors talking omnichannel, “all channels” or “any channel anytime.” “All channels” isn’t a strategy. Despite some product name changes and theoretical examples of additional channel support, their processes still look very much like the same old one-off, one-way, channel-siloed, push campaigns. There is more important work that needs to be done in multichannel marketing.
Multichannel marketers must think multidimensional. Yes, they will need to enable multiple channels, but to make new and existing ones work, they will need to think:
Multi-purpose: Buyers are purpose-driven—you should be, too. Multichannel strategies start with clearly defined purposes, goals and audiences. If marketers do not clearly understand the purpose of each channel, each interaction with an idea of the expected outcomes and a heading towards where the engagement might lead, their audience won’t either.
Multi-value: Multichannel marketing needs multiple value producing exchanges between company and customer. What are their reasons for engaging with you and how can marketing accommodate? Why are you reaching out to them now? Will it sell more products or contribute to a path to purchase? Is the value balanced or one-sided? One side might end up having nothing to show for their investment in the interaction. Multichannel marketing means being a multichannel orchestrator, consistently conducting a multi-value exchange between channels and engaging audiences in value building, value producing, mutual interaction.
Multi-segmentation: Multichannel marketing means multiple segmentation techniques that group audiences based on multiple attributes along multiple dimensions. Traditional attributes focus on products. Who has bought and who would be likely buyers? Newer groupings focus on profitability and techniques for moving segments into more valuable ones. Others focus on grouping personas, life cycles and lifestyles. Marketers should have an approach for all of these.
Multi-speed and multi-way: Multichannel marketers operate at multiple speeds, automating big and small campaigns as well as campaigns built on top of campaigns. They also maintain interaction with continuous contextual engagement. They do this in multi-ways, based on past and predicted future interactions, inbound and outbound, event-triggered and in real-time, just like real conversations in a relationship.
Multi-data Multichannel marketers consume and create lots of data; new and old data, explicit and implicit data, big and small data. Data plays a starring role in defining audiences, understanding context and shaping the multiple channels for which you’ll focus multiple interactions and campaigns. Transactional data, third-party data, anonymous customer/consumer data all contribute direction for the right interaction at the right time in the right channel.
Multi-processes: Multichannel marketers think beyond marketing departments and think multi-processes to be in-tune with customer service process, sales processes, digital commerce processes and product development strategies. Multichannel Marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Marketers must involve themselves in all these customer reaching processes and be able to infuse evolving customer processes into a long-term multidimensional, multichannel, marketing strategy.