“I feel more or less like someone who was floating in the clouds and suddenly fell.” Do you remember this quote from Winnie the Pooh? This is probably how every entrepreneur who once had communication with the client felt in only one channel and that was enough … until multi-channel marketing appeared on the horizon.
The perfect online world
In an ideal world, we would always know where our potential client is currently. This knowledge would allow us to reach him with a message that step by step would build confidence in our brand and product, and then subtly lead to conversion.
All of our marketing, sales and after-sales activities would be easily tracked and improved, creating perfect customer service.
In an ideal world, we would only use one channel to interact with the client. Unfortunately, ideal situations rarely apply to companies.
To keep your sales at the highest level, you need to go with the times, constantly develop your marketing skills and supplement your knowledge with the latest solutions. Because if you still sell only in one channel, you lose a large portion of the target audience that your competition is successfully taking over. In fact, focusing on one channel can even degrade customer service and prevent you from successfully acquiring new ones. Why? About this in a moment. Let’s explain why multi-channel marketing is so important in the 21st century.
Multi-channel marketing – why is it so important?
Today’s consumer uses 2.8 channels on average before deciding to buy a given product or service.
Over the past decade, customer service and how to acquire it have changed significantly. Observing today’s technological progress, it is difficult to imagine that brands not so long ago used only three marketing channels. These were: telephone, post office and stationary store.
Since the internet appeared, companies have expanded and some have even completely transferred their activities to the online world. Websites, applications, e-mails and marketing campaigns have created virtually unlimited possibilities of communication with potential clients. However, along with the development of new technologies, competition has also increased.
To get a customer, we must be where he is currently with what he currently needs. And if we want to engage and maintain it, the above alone will not be enough.
So we already know that a modern consumer, before making a purchase, passes through 2.8 channels on average, integrating with a given brand. It is also obvious that during the day it uses many different devices.
The digital consumer seems wise today and is prudent in their purchasing decisions. We use opinions on Facebook, in Google My Business, and view applications of a given brand. He created a world between many channels in which he controls the vast majority of the sales process.
So if you want to win this smart game you must be one step ahead of it. The way to do this, of course, is a well-thought-out marketing strategy – necessarily multi-channel.
How to engage a potential customer?
In order to successfully engage a potential customer, we should communicate with him using several channels at the same time. According to this assumption, three different strategies have evolved: cross channel marketing, omnichannel marketing and multi channel marketing.
Many have trouble distinguishing them. No wonder, because they differ slightly. However, to make good use of their potential, you should know the subtle differences between them.
Multi-channel marketing was available first and continues to function today. It allows the customer to interact with the brand through multiple channels. It can be a telephone, computer, stationary store. Customers have already learned that they can access brands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on various platforms. So it is an absolute must have for an online entrepreneur if he does not want to “go out of circulation”.
Cross channel marketing is very similar to its predecessor. The difference between them, however, is that in the latter, different brand communication channels with the client are connected with each other. In practice, this means that they register and pass on information about the customer, which greatly facilitates the purchase and, as a result, shortens the customer’s shopping path. In particular, women know perfectly well how wonderful it is to get a 20% discount on buying shoes of your favorite brand and be able to use it both online and offline – in a stationary store, via a desktop computer or cell phone.
An example of the use of cross-channel marketing by brands is, for example, an e-mail survey after shopping in a store asking for shopping experience.
In practice, it may look like this:
When you finish shopping in an online store, you will see a pop-up asking you to complete a short survey. The survey contains 5 questions about your shopping experience. You complete it, which in turn entitles you to a 20% discount on re-purchases. You can redeem the discount both online and offline (in any stationary store of the same brand).
Each store representative will be able to scan the coupon, but the customer will also be able to enter the coupon code also at the online cash register and receive the same coupon in this channel.
In this example, the channels will communicate with each other by first creating an online survey based on personal experience and then checking the validity of the coupon.
Once the coupon is used online, it can no longer be used in the store and vice versa.
Omni-channel marketing is the most advanced type of multi-channel marketing. It uses channels that work together seamlessly, providing clients with comprehensive service at the highest level.
The goal of this type of marketing is to “break the barrier” between the online and offline world.
A good example of using omnichannel marketing is the use of applications that help potential customers make a purchasing decision.
The Shiseido brand allows, for example, the use of “Shiseido Makeup Mirror”. The consumer’s face is placed in a virtual mirror, and he has the opportunity to see how it looks in a given make-up. For women, this is a great help. Each of us will certainly admit that there is nothing worse than an incorrectly chosen foundation or blush that does not harmonize perfectly with our skin tone.
The application also allows you to take a photo to allow you to quietly make a purchasing decision from the comfort of your home. For people who do not like to make purchasing decisions spontaneously, it is extremely helpful. Otherwise, they might never have decided to buy.
Professionals in the field of sales psychology say that the process of making a purchasing decision begins long before the purchase and has its consequences long after. This brand is aware of this and, what’s more, it perfectly uses this knowledge.
Shiseido allows consumers to virtually “try on makeup” to help them make the best buying decision. This method also increases your chances of getting better opinions about your products. So you admit that it’s a well-planned marketing strategy.
Cross-channel marketing involves combining different marketing channels in a way that creates a logical transition for the target audience from one stage to another. Different channels work together to ensure consistent communication with the consumer.
However, it is important not to confuse it with omnichannel marketing, which also uses several marketing channels to interact with the client, but this does not necessarily mean consistency between them.
In cross channel marketing, you can send your customers an email about the promotion of their favorite product, display targeted ads on social media to improve brand recognition, and publish blog posts on topics related to key phrases. All this together is an effective method of building trust and leads to maximizing conversions.
Let’s say you run a company that sells hair thickening shampoo. The shampoo is patented and very effective. Therefore, your target group will be people with the problem of hair loss.
A potential customer will read the blog post you wrote about the causes of hair loss. The email he then receives will provide testimonials from someone who has overcome the same problem with your product. When your dream client looks into social media the same evening, he sees an ad with a catchy headline about how your products or services completely remove the problem he was reading about.
Such marketing activities give consumers a clear sense of consistency with the brand, while also building trust in it. Their shopping path becomes as smooth and direct as possible. Because there is a clear link between each part of your marketing experience, it’s easier to verify and optimize your marketing efforts, which can help you achieve the right ROI from your campaign.
In omnichannel marketing, individual channels are treated as independent entities. As a result, your marketing activities remain essentially independent, making it difficult to link a specific effort to achieving a high ROI.
Marketing has evolved considerably over the years and created new opportunities. However, in order to meet market expectations, you need to be an diligent student and constantly supplement your knowledge with new directions in the field of digital marketing.
Regardless of whether you use multichannel marketing, cross channel marketing or omnichannel marketing, the most important thing is that you put the quality of customer service first. Making the purchase process as easy and intuitive as possible is the key to catapulting your marketing to become the leader of the 21st century.