In an increasingly interconnected world, there are more ways than ever to get in front of customers. There are also more distractions. To combat distracted customers and reach folks where they spend the most time, marketers must engage in multi-channel marketing.
In this article, I’ll do my best to explain what multi-channel marketing is (beyond a buzzword) and why you should engage in multi-channel marketing. I’ll also show some examples of multi-channel campaigns in the wild.
What is multi-channel marketing?
Multi-channel marketing is precisely how it sounds, businesses employing multiple channels to market to their customers. These channels include direct and indirect marketing, traditional and digital marketing, etc.
In the past, when a local restaurant used a TV or radio spot to get some more folks through the door, that ad might have been the ONLY way the restaurant was advertising. Now, in addition to a TV or radio spot, that restaurant might post a special offer on Facebook, hold a contest on Instagram, and publish their menu on their website.
Why use multi-channel marketing?
As I mentioned, there are more ways than ever to get in front of your customers. Because of all the competition, it’s essential to have a presence in the places where your customers are. It doesn’t make sense for a coffee company to advertise with a billboard if their customers don’t drive.
However, it’s unlikely that you’ll reach 100% of your customers in one place. It’s possible to reach your audience in multiple areas. Returning to the coffee company example, they learn that their target market is a mix of Twitter addicts, podcast listeners, and metro riders. To reach this group of people, the coffee company could post on Twitter, advertise on some popular podcasts and buy ad space on the metro. Promoting your brand in multiple channels increases the likelihood that your target audience will happen across your message and become paid customers.
How to implement multi-channel marketing?
Implementing a multi-channel strategy can be as easy as using multiple channels at one time to reach your customers. For some companies, being active across a number of channels dramatically increases brand awareness, but this strategy can be time-consuming and expensive.
Instead of throwing a net out and advertising with the same intensity everywhere, you could look at your different marketing channels to see where you’re getting the most engagement or converting the most leads into sales. From there, focus on the channels that work best for your business. The coffee company from earlier might find that their Twitter profile is increasing brand engagement, while the podcast advertising is driving sales, but the metro ads don’t seem to be doing much. They could streamline their advertising to focus on two channels – Twitter and podcasts.
Examples of multi-channel marketing in the wild
Below are three examples of multi-channel marketing promotions by Coors Brewing Company, NBC’s TODAY Show and Starbucks.
Coors Light New Can Promotion
To celebrate the release of their new summer can design, Coors Light launched a couple of contests giving away a bunch of summer gear. Ray-Bans were the number one prize, with over 900 pairs available to win.
Contest promotion was advertised and entries were collected across multiple channels. To enter one of the giveaways, folks could scan a QR code on one of the new cans or visit the contest website. Another giveaway encouraged folks to post a photo with the new cans and include the contest hashtags on Twitter and Instagram.
NBC’s Cheer for Team USA on the TODAY Plaza
The TODAY Plaza is traditionally filled with folks holding signs for a chance to be spotted in the background. Due to recent capacity restrictions, this bit of morning fun has been put on hold. However, nobody wants to miss the chance to cheer on Team USA in an Olympics year.
To show their support of Team USA during the Toyko Summer Olympics, TODAY is giving people the chance to enter to win fan passes. Winners can visit the TODAY Plaza with up to three guests to cheer on Team USA during the morning broadcast.
The promotion was announced on TV during a TODAY broadcast, while entries were collected via a form on the TODAY website.
Starbucks FoodShare program with FeedingAmerica
Starbucks might be known for their coffee, but they also sell a LOT of food. To make sure food doesn’t go to waste, Starbucks implemented their FoodShare program in partnership with FeedingAmerica. While the program was introduced in 2016, they recently pledged to reinvest $100 million over the next decade to help combat food insecurity in the United States.
To get the word out about the FoodShare program, Starbucks implemented a multi-channel approach. The centerpiece of their promotion is a TV commercial that aired nationally (I caught it while watching the Summer Olympics). They also wrote a story about the journey their food donations take and people that help along the way, which they posted on their website and shared on social media.
Multi-channel marketing campaigns are essential to getting your brand noticed. Smart marketers advertise across multiple channels that their customers are paying attention to. Promoting a campaign across multiple channels can be as easy as posting to several social media channels and announcing a contest via more traditional media like TV or radio or allowing entry through both your website and social media.
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