Old habits die hard. Consider, for example, the outdated and inefficient model of mass media advertising and the its corresponding mindset. That hasn't worked in years.
Or how about the single-channel preference that so many direct marketers still insist on using in hopes that results will return to the glory days of the 1970s and 1980s? Nope. Times have changed.
Two decades ago, having "integrated approach to marketing" meant adding an outbound phone call to your direct mail campaigns. Flash-forward to today, and the lead generation mix also includes email, websites, SEO and social media
Too many marketers still feel a single channel approach to marketing is as effective as it's ever been. They are wrong. Perhaps fear of the unknown is forcing them to grip tightly to the strategies of yesteryear. So, how do you, in short order but smart fashion, delve into the world of multichannel marketing? Here are three key steps to help you add channels to your marketing mix and achieve greater success faster with less chance of failure.
1.) Scour Your Data
Your customer and prospect data can tell you many stories. It's your job to uncover who is buying, what they are buying, how much they are spending and what up-sell/cross-sell opportunities are working. Equally as important is who (or what companies, in the case of B2B) are NOT buying from you. Divide your database into segments and analyze where your company is making money and what segments are losing money propositions. Segments that are not performing represent a perfect opportunity for multichannel testing.
2.) Add One New Medium at a Time
Track, measure and react to each channel you add. Thus, if you cannot segment by each new channel you add, the best—albeit slower way—is to add one channel at a time, gauge impact and then add the next.
3.) Analyze Your Results
Finally, take what your data is telling you and add or take away channels and keep on testing messaging and offers. Your multichannel campaign needs to be predicated on continuous improvement and the only way to do that is to analyze each step of the way.
For example, my firm, Johnson Direct, was retained by a single-channel membership marketer that only used direct mail to drive membership at both the acquisition and retention ends of their model. No additional channels were integrated with the direct mail programs to offer alternative response mechanisms or boost campaign recognition—no social media, public relations, landing pages, search engine optimization, online advertising, print or email. In this example, like so many others, the membership data told the story: dying membership base, increasing in age, little or no activity with the under-50 age segment, females, minorities or families. The organization had lost most of its relevancy among the emerging prospect base.
After analyzing their membership and prospect data, we noticed a large amount of mail being sent to various segments every month, quarter and year, despite a lack of response. They were losing money with every mailing to these non-responsive individuals.
After analyzing trends among competing organizations, it became apparent that the best opportunity to gain market share with a multichannel approach was the female segment, which wasn’t converting to memberships even though it was the fastest growing segment. We recommended shifting their ineffective mailing budget for this segment to a multichannel test that would be more relevant.
Prior to the multichannel approach, the organization was gaining 35 or fewer new women per month. After 28 months, they were earning an average of 250 new female members per month. It is now the fastest growing segment for this organization. By reallocating their marketing spend from a single-channel, ineffective approach to a proactive, integrated strategy, this organization is now more relevant than ever to their female prospects, members and their friends, families and peers. Delving in to a multichannel approach does take work and research. However, when tested and implemented correctly, it can reap huge rewards with little or no additional marketing investment.