Old habits die hard.
Take the out-dated and inefficient mass media model to advertising along with its corresponding mindset. No longer works. It hasn’t in years.
Or, the single-channel preference that so many direct marketers still insist on using in hopes that the results will return to the glory days of the 1970s and 1980s. Times have changed.
I recently read a marketing survey that touted the best mediums to use for lead generation. It ranked the top 10 channels, including mail, email, internet/web and listed organic SEO as the best channel options (Note: SEO is evolving but that’s another article). The survey made me reflect and take note of how things have changed since I formally began in advertising in 1988.
I remember when an “integrated approach to marketing” meant adding an outbound phone call to your direct mail campaigns. Times have not stood still.
Too many marketers still feel a single channel approach to marketing is as effective as it’s ever been. They are wrong. So, how do you, in short order but smart fashion delve into the world of multichannel marketing? Here are 3 key steps to help you add additional channels to your marketing mix and help you achieve greater success faster with less chance of failure:
1.) Scour Your Data
Typically your customer and prospect data will tell you many stories. It’s your job to uncover who is buying, what they are buying, how much they are spending and what up-sell/cross-sell opportunities are working. As important is who is NOT buying from you. Divide your database into segments and analyze who is making you money and who is costing you money. Those segments that are not performing represent a perfect opportunity for multichannel testing.
2.) Add One New Medium at a Time
You need to track, measure and react to each channel you add. Thus, if you cannot segment by each new channel you add, the best, albeit slower way, is to add one channel at a time, gauge impact and add the next.
3.) Analyze Your Results
Finally, take what your data is telling you and add, take away channels and keep on testing messaging and offers. Your multichannel campaign needs to be predicated on continuous improvement and the only way to do that is to analyze each step of the way.
By way of a real-world example, Johnson Direct was retained by a single-channel membership marketer that only used direct mail to drive membership at both the acquisition and retention ends of their model. No Public Relations, Mass Media, Email, Internet, Video, Radio, TV or Outdoor was used. The membership data told the story: dying membership base, increasing in age and little or no activity with the under-50 age segment, females, minorities or families. The organization had lost most of its relevancy among the emerging prospect base.
After analyzing their membership and prospect data, we noticed a large amount of mail being sent to the segments and sub-segments listed above every month, quarter and year, despite a lack of response. They were losing money mailing to these non-responsive individuals.
Then we analyzed trends among competing organizations; where we felt the biggest gap that also represented the best opportunity to gain market share with a multichannel approach was the female segment. This segment was growing in the number of potential members faster than other segments, yet they were not converting to memberships. We recommended shifting their ineffective mailing budget for this segment to a multichannel test that would be, at the very least, more relevant to this key demographic.
But first, we had to re-establish credibility of the organization among females.
We utilized social media and created a female-specific website to drive discussion, where women could air out their frustrations. These conversations successfully established the group as a place that cared for females, so we followed with testing. Once an individual became a Facebook member, we communicated with them via a welcome email and encouraged sharing of the Facebook community and website among like-minded friends. The first year gave us the data we needed to enhance the program and make needed changes based upon feedback we received from the community.
Year two we added PR and e-PR to our mix, along with selective advertising. We also produced a newer, more relevant website.
Did it work? Prior to the multichannel approach, the organization was gaining 35 or fewer new females per month; and after 27 months, they were getting an average of 250 new female members per month. It is now the fastest growing segment for the organization and the funding resulted from reallocating their marketing spend from a single-channel, non-working tactic to a newer strategy that is multichannel and more relevant to this key, younger audience.
Delving in to a multichannel approach does take work and research. However, when tested and implemented correctly, it can reap huge rewards for you and your company with very little or no additional marketing investment.