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The Death of Multi-Channel Marketing


Multi-channel and integrated marketing have been very popular marketing concepts over the last decade, as marketers try to deal with the increasing fragmentation of both media and their customer’s attention. Multi-channel or integrated marketing at its essence is the idea of putting consistent messages in front of your target customers across multiple marketing channels. These channels could encompass: in-store, direct mail, print, television, social media, PPC, radio, etc.

Seems like a good idea, right?  Not exactly.  You might be surprised to learn that the idea of targeting all messages to all customers using a specific channel is a dying idea.  

This is because customers do not think in terms of channels. Rather, they think about the experience that a company provides in each of the places they engage. Essentially, customers think in terms of touch points. For example, an ad for the new iPhone on TV, a visit to the Apple Store to handle the new device, or a visit to Apple.com to view information about new features are all ways that customers gather information about the same product. These are all simply touchpoints where existing or prospective customers gather information about the new iPhone and the Apple brand in general.

Basically, the idea of a channel implies a direct line to a customer in order to elicit a specific result. Instead, thinking of customer interactions as touchpoints along their life cycle of interactions with your product or service provides a richer framework. Mapping this lifecycle from awareness and interest to purchase and advocacy using journey maps fortified with audience personas can help to identify the critical touch points along the adoption process.  It is our job as marketers to engage a customer with the ideal experience at each step in their journey using our available touchpoints.

Thus, the end result is a more nuanced and personalized view of your customers that goes far beyond a consistent message pushed out into multiple channels.



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