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One of the things that we see so often is supposed multi-channel campaigns not being true multi-channel campaigns, but just being content blasted out on all channels…
I think it’s worth clarifying that the important word in the phrase “multi-channel campaign” is really the word “campaign.” So often what we see is a good idea which is simply hacked in to channels for which it wasn’t really conceived.
Clearly, a “campaign” is a single idea or concept, and the joy of the modern marketing world is that it can be delivered across so many different media channels giving a good chance of touching more people…or the same people are times, and being more effective. We all are on social networks, we all read emails, browse the internet, and have a huge number of offline things that we do (we read magazines, watch TV, visit event, travel on trains…) and it’s important that these are a coherent campaign rather than just a disparate bunch of random communications…but there’s a bit difference between a coherent campaign and simply sending out the same suff across multi channels.
So often we see a (sometimes quite good) graphic, perhaps originally designed as a magazine ad, which is then used as an email, which is then tweeted, posted and this seems just like a terribly wasted opportunity.
The opportunity created by multi-channel is not, I repeat, NOT multi-channel, but OMNICHANNEL. Omnichannel is where there’s a “single customer view.” Where the customer experience (or CX) is unified across all of the different distribution channels. Where the “system” knows when you’ve opened an email, clicked a link or browsed a website and adjusts your experience accordingly. The system stores data about what you’ve looked at and how quickly (and when) you have clicked or responded or engaged and uses this information to craft a personalised experience…an experience which is more effective. An experience which is more engaging…an experience which is better at converting business.
So, how do businesses begin to leverage the possibilities created my the digital world of Omnichannel (multi-channel) marketing. The first point is planning. A journey mapping session is a great strategic tool to set some context for the customer journey and help to identify where are the key points where you, the seller, can influence that buying journey. Without that “map” there is little chance that you will be able to do anything other than just create some nice pieces of collateral. So spending some time really trying to out yourself in the customer’s shoes and understanding what they need to know and when they need to know it should be a good building block for drafting a broad strokes approach to how the customer buys.
Once you have that top-level plan, you need to drill-down and think about what things need to be written and produced and what might be the best delivery mechanism for them. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen is where organisations begin that process of writing the content…but they write it based on what THEY want to say rather than what the customer needs to hear. Often this means that they write/produce three pieces of collateral (because they have three messages) rather than the 23 that they actually need.
I say 23…it could be 10…or even 90…it all depends on the customer journey, where they are on that journey and how many different possibilities there are. If you send me an email and I do/don’t open and click…that creates two more actions – send me item ONE if I opened it…and item TWO if I didn’t (Item TWO may in fact be that first email again – after a predetermined break or something entirely different). Or…if you have my Twitter handle, my LinkedIn profile, my home address, mobile number, my browsing history,… depending on which of the touch points you understand about me you may choose to use those rather than just email. The more of these different touchpoints you have the more options there are.
This seems like a whole load of trouble doesn’t it? Is it really worth it?
Well, the answer is yes…and yes. Yes, it is a whole load of trouble and hard work. Yes it does require you to produce dozens or even hundreds of pieces of collateral. But yes it is definitely worth it. Why? Because as your database of prospects grows the opportunity to give a more personalised experience increases and with that, the conversion rate increases. Moving the conversion rate from 3-4% is not a big deal if you have a database of 30 prospects (and if you have, probably omnichannel isn’t the answer for you) but, if you have a database of 5,000, 50,000, 250,000 then it most definitely is.
But, this is not a capital expense so to speak. This is not a case of doing it once…producing the collateral and then sitting with your arms folded waiting for the results. This is a case of constantly evolving the collateral you need to smooth and accelerate that customer journey because you are starting the process from a position of “guessing” what the customer needs and now you re testing what the customer needs.
So, does it work? In short yes it does. I you do it properly it very definitely works. Some of the most successful companies int he world employ exactly this technique to deliver a significantly higher yield from there customer information…and you should too.