We are all living in a multichannel world. It’s the new norm. So rooted is it in our everyday experience that we navigate these channels, continually jumping from one to the other, without a second thought.
The smartest and most successful marketers and brand managers are wise to this future of doing business. They are replacing the singularly-minded ways of old with a cross-channel approach that primarily focuses on key mobile channels.
In posts to come, we will focus on industry-specific cases and show how key mobile channels can help improve your multichannel marketing mixes. But first we need to understand why marketers need to pay attention to multichannel marketing, and why it’s here to stay.
What is multichannel marketing
Multichannel marketing is selling that occurs across more than one communication channel to reach customers. Also known as cross-channel marketing, this strategy provides multiple opportunities for someone to engage with a brand.
Think of multichannel marketing as “everywhere selling.” For example, a fashion company utilizes multichannel marketing by selling through an online store, promoting on social media, running ads in fashion magazines, sending out a newsletter via email, and being on display in a department store at the local mall. Each of these channels is a touch point between potential customers and that company.
Multichannel marketing puts customers in control. It lets them decide how, where and when they do business. Whether they choose to interact with your brand online, using a desktop or mobile device, via a phone call, through a text message, or in-person, multichannel marketing ensures all sales touchpoints remain relevant to the buyer’s journey.
The keyword is “choice.” For example, here are just some of the main channels involved:
- Retail Store
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Direct Mail
As author Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in his famous talk, Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce, people love choices. So the more communication channels available, the more options to choose from, the more the opportunities to sell. Taking advantage of those opportunities is what multichannel marketing is about.
Why is multichannel marketing important?
Previously, a buyer’s journey was linear with one or two definitive entry points and a clear exit point. Figuring out how to engage him or her was a fairly straightforward process.
Things have changed though. Now this journey is an immersive, inter-connecting experience. It involves different locations accessed via a multitude of channels, both digital and in-person. Today, consumers interact with brands using an average of almost six touch points, with nearly 50% using more than four. Trends like these aren’t going to stop anytime soon.
Multichannel customers spend three to four times more than single-channel customers. What more do you need? It’s hard to argue with an improved bottom line.
What’s more, marketing teams that integrate multiple channels are over 2x likely to report higher marketing effectiveness than those with less integration. As more and more consumers use more and more channels to engage with brands, it only follows that there are more and more opportunities to make more money. In other words, more is better.
Grow brand awareness
It takes 5-7 impressions before someone will remember a brand. With more channels, the likelihood of reaching them is increased, as is making them aware of your brand. That’s just math.
A savvy marketing manager can tap into this increased exposure using a multichannel strategy. Especially since nearly everyone carries the best brand marketing tool with them in their pocket. After all, 51% of consumers use mobile to discover new brands and products, and people overall interact with brands on mobile 2x more than anywhere else.
Provide better consumer analytics
Multichannel marketing provides better customer insight. With each new channel comes new data to track. The resulting analytics provides a more well-rounded composite of your customers which you can use to better sell to them by delivering a more personalized experience.
Customer behavior is driving marketing strategy. Not the other way around. This may seem obvious, but it hasn’t always been the case. Increasingly, customers are dictating how and where they want to be engaged. Wherever that may be, marketers need to be ready to reach them.
So why is multichannel marketing so important? Because consumer behavior is changing and enterprises need to adapt.
Improve customer communication with mobile messaging
Multichannel marketing can seem overwhelming, especially for smaller businesses with limited resources. But the brilliance of today’s digital landscape is that what used to only be accessible for a few, is now available to everyone. All thanks to mobile.
Mobile has made communicating (and marketing) easier than ever. With the global mobile population reaching 3.9 billion and mobile devices accounting in parts of the world for over 50% of internet traffic, there is little doubt the best way to communicate with customers is via mobile messaging.
Fast, efficient and diverse, mobile messaging services have quickly become the backbone of multichannel marketing. With no shortage of mobile channels to choose from and each with their own benefits respective to your marketing strategy, these services are central to attaining the full potential of customer outreach.
The best mobile channels for multichannel marketing
Properly integrating mobile marketing channels is paramount to growing your business to the next level. Below we outline the best mobile channels for building an effective multichannel marketing strategy.
Push notifications are automated messages sent by a mobile app to users, even when the app isn’t being used. This notice can be anything from an update, reminder, promotion, or call-to-action, providing instant real-time communication with customers. Fully embracing the spirit of cross-channel marketing, push messages also seamlessly connect to other forms of messaging, such as SMS, email and voice calls.
With the mounting popularity of smartphones, push notifications have flourished and become one of the best ways to communicate with customers. Best of all, users willingly opt to receive them. Which means push messages result in higher engagement levels than many other forms of communication.
No marketing strategy is complete without email. In recent years it may have suffered from oversaturation and misuse, but email messaging still remains the most versatile means of online marketing communication. Especially when you follow the 5-step approach to effective email campaigns.
Best for bulk communication and longer messaging, few channels can be adapted to suit a brand’s objectives better. The challenge is for digital marketers to make their brand’s emails stand out amidst all the rest while avoiding the dreaded mark of spam. That’s where multichannel marketing comes in, bolstering the effectiveness of email by connecting it with other mobile services to create a fully brand-immersive, attention-grabbing experience.
SMS has long been a staple of the mobile experience. While other services have since popped-up, SMS still holds strong as one of the most effective means of marketing communication. Just consider that SMS has a 98% open rate and a 48% response rate. (Compare that to email which is on average 20-30% and 8%, respectively.)
Don’t let the fact of SMS messaging being limited to 160 characters fool you. Thanks to A2P messaging, brands can quickly and reliably reach their customers on a multitude of levels, from providing personalized customer support to offering relevant deals and enabling direct access to purchase.
OTT (which stands for “over-the-top”) refers to any value-added service that can be used over the proprietary network services of a service provider. Originally it described digital media services like Netflix, which offers a means to watch content without the need for TV networks or a cable provider. Today, online messaging services are taking OTT to the next level.
OTT messengers include the likes of Viber Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Snapchat. These messengers allow you to communicate with others from anywhere using any mobile device, without relying on that device’s native text messaging capabilities.
For instance, compared to standard SMS a service like Viber lets you send messages well beyond 160 characters. This opens up far more opportunities for communication with customers and allows Viber Business Messages to send clients text, images, buttons and links all in the same message. The service also provides end-to-end encryption ensuring no private details are stored on Viber’s servers, keeping user privacy intact.
It’s been predicted that by 2020 nearly one-third of the world’s population will use OTT messaging, with over 60 trillion messages sent via these services, compared to 4.9 trillion via SMS. All of which means messaging sent via chat apps is ideal for forward-thinking digital marketers who want to reach as many people as possible.
Mobile marketing channels: all for one and one for all
Alone, each of the mobile marketing channels listed above is a powerful marketing communication tool sure to help any business grow. But what makes them truly useful is how they can maximize growth to its utmost potential by working together to achieve the same end — engaging the customer.
With the seamless cross-channel engagement they provide, it’s no wonder choosing a mobile-first, multichannel strategy, is a no-brainer for any brand. To learn more about how Push, Email, SMS and OTT Messengers can help your business grow, check out our further descriptions of these mobile messaging services.
The power of multichannel marketing
There is a reason why more and more businesses are making the move to multichannel marketing. The results speak for themselves. Multichannel marketing gives customers the feeling of a personalized experience. It empowers customers while building trust and brand loyalty. All adding up to higher levels of engagement and conversions.
Thanks to the advancements in messaging services, reaching your customers has never been easier, no matter where in the world they’re located. One particular area where this holds true is retail. So next up in part 2 of our series on multichannel marketing, we will expand upon the mobile messaging channels listed above and show specifically how they can be applied to the retail industry.