Finding the Right Multichannel Mix

By Feb 08, 2011

Today, every direct marketer is a multichannel marketer, with sales channels that include phone, mail, the web and even brick and mortar retail. And to make these multiple touchpoints work together, marketers must understand the customer, from purchase behavior to key demographic and psychographic attributes.

It is no longer appropriate to try and funnel the consumer into the purchase channel you favor. It is imperative to interact with them in the manner they prefer. This customer-centric commitment must be made across all potential touchpoints and must offer a consistently positive experience to truly nurture brand advocacy.

For many reasons, it is no longer a safe bet to put your entire media budget into one channel. The challenges to acquiring new customers have only gotten harder, which means marketers need to be smarter. This includes diversification of risk in your media mix. If you are spending all of your ad dollars mailing catalogs, you are at the mercy of paper costs and USPS rate hikes. In TV, media rates have increased while clearance rates for the traditional direct response marketer have suffered.

Don’t favor channel over another. Focusing on a broader media mix will allow you to dynamically spend your budgets where they will generate the greatest ROI. Be channel-agnostic and let the results determine where the advertising budget is spent.

Follow the Tracks

But using multiple channels isn’t enough. You need to accurately track results across each individual channel and have a data-driven understanding of the interplay between media channels and the overall umbrella impact of your total advertising program.

Review the variety of proprietary analytical tools and dashboards available and find out what one works for your business. Understanding the back-end lifetime customer value and having strong programs in place to maximize that value is imperative to growing your new customer acquisition business. Utilization of strong CRM and database marketing will allow all marketers to invest more in acquiring new customers.

Additionally, having the analytical tools in place to determine the lifetime customer value by media and sales channel are imperative to managing an efficient multichannel media platform. The value of a new customer is not equal across all channels. Some channels generate a less expensive up-front customer, but deliver a much weaker back-end and vice versa.

To be able to grow and do so at improved ROI levels may sound like a dream but it can be a reality if the commitment is made to truly understand the nuances of a multichannel marketing approach.

Scott Kellerman is senior vice president/partner at Media Horizons Inc.