Multichannel marketing is the ability to interact with potential customers on various platforms. In this sense, a channel might be a print ad, a retail location, a website, a promotional event, a products package or even word of mouth.
In the most simplistic term, multichannel marketing is all about choice. The objective of the companies doing the marketing is to make it easy for a consumer to buy from them in whatever way is most appropriate.
To be effective multichannel marketing needs to be supported by good supply chain management systems, so that the details and prices of goods on offer are consistent across the different channels. It might also be supported by detailed analysis of the return on investment from each different channel, measured in terms of customer response and conversion of sales. The contribution each channel delivers to sales can be assessed via attribution modeling. Some companies target certain channels at different demographic segments of the market or at different socio-economic groups of consumers.
MultiChannel marketing allows the retail merchant to reach its prospective or current customer in a channel of his/ her liking.
Coordination of online and offline channels
Companies that sell branded products and services through local businesses market over both online and offline channels to local audiences. Online and offline multichannel marketing campaigns can either inform one another or are executed in isolation. A proportion of companies use their online marketing efforts to inform their offline advertising (i.e. they test keywords online to understand if the fit with customer intent before printing them in offline ads).
Multichannel marketing vs. Traditional forms of marketing
While multi channel marketing focuses primarily on new media platforms in marketing, traditional approaches use old media such as print sources, telemarketing, direct mail and broadcasting stations such as radio and television. Multichannel marketing does not only use web 2.0 forms but also integrates media convergence models, targeting customer interaction through different platforms such as via text messaging, on a website, email and GPS to track the location of a customer and their proximity to the product or service. Being able to reach out to your customers directly is a very important marketing strategy because it is convenient and enhances direct customer interaction. Unlike the some traditional forms of marketing, no middlemen are necessary for multi channel marketing which helps reduce cost.
Benefits of Multichannel marketing
Multichannel marketing's strategy is to reach consumer's through various means, which allows for a broader range of potential customers. This makes it easier to identify one's niche and market goods and services directly tuned to their interests and needs. Even though monitoring each marketing platform may seem like a handful, it is imperative to know the wants of your target audience in order to be successful. Some of the long term benefits of this style of marketing include:
- Better management of results and sales: Using many communicative platforms to reach your audience increases the chances of receiving feedback from a variety of your customers. Interaction with your customers enables you to get feedback on your overall performance. This feedback gives you an idea of what the customer wants and gives you an idea of what you can improve upon.
- Higher revenues: The more diverse platforms used in trying to reach customers, the more the potential customers you are most likely to reach out to purchase your goods and services. If for instance your company advertises its brand only on the [internet], it will be very hard to capture the attention of potential customers who do not use the internet regularly and rely on other mediums such as the [television] for example.
- Better understanding of customers": By the response you get from customers, it is easier to better understand the what they expect from your product or service and how your brand will be able to improve to keep your customers. You are able to identify the different channels and platforms which work for a certain group and strategize on producing product to satisfy the needs of that niche.
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- Kock, Stefan (2010): "Chancen und Risiken von Brick&Click: Multi-Channel-Marketing im Bekleidungseinzelhandel", Germany, Igel Verlag, ISBN 3-86815-280-6 - book website
- Multichannel Group - company focused on R&D in Multichannel Marketing - On Wikipedia, Website.
- Visual IQ Newsletter Archives - articles on multichannel marketing - Website.