Don't make a meal of multi-channel marketing

By: Anonymous

Date: 23 September 2010

This month John Lewis launched a new multi-channel marketing campaign aimed at promoting its new-look luxury womenswear department. For many small and medium businesses, however, marketing across different channels can be a challenge. Here are a few suggestions to help focus on the necessities. They won’t make it as easy as slicing bread, but they will help maximise the effectiveness of multi-channel communication, and help put bread on the table.

1. Be consistent

For a variety of reasons, partly historical and technical, different marketing channels are often handled separately, and sometimes by completely different people with different skill sets. Often, conventional marketing such as advertising and direct mail may be handled in-house, and hi-tech marketing may be outsourced.

To be most effective, it’s important to keep the branding and messaging consistent across all channels. Make sure that through web pages and emails to printed advertising and leaflets you maintain the same look and feel, with consistent messaging and corresponding calls to action. Don’t confuse the customer but be concise, be direct, and be memorable.

2. Co-ordinate

Make sure that ideas, plans and results from each channel feed into the others, and that lessons learned through one channel can inform future plans for all.

Think carefully about timing. You may want to kick off all your communications at once, for maximum impact, or stagger them, for more sustained effect. Before throwing everything at one strategy, try some small-scale tests and measure the effect.

3. Pay attention to detail

More channels mean more work, and the temptation is to cut corners, but assumption is the mother of many mistakes.

Make a list of the key elements that should appear throughout the campaign, and check systematically that they are included in every communication. Add them to regular communications like letters and email signatures. Rope in family and friends to help with things like proof-reading and testing web pages. Use financial inducements, free samples and offers of beer wherever necessary!

4. Track with caution

Do track each channel separately, with unique landing pages, response codes, 0845 numbers etc. But take the individual results with a pinch of salt, and judge on the basis of the overall campaign. Some channels will be more effective than others at triggering an immediate measurable response, but judging the overall contribution of each one over time is notoriously difficult.

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