Multi-channel marketing gives a business the opportunity to establish its presence anywhere their target audience may be. Utilizing multiple platforms provides convenience to customers, thereby increasing the odds of eliciting a positive response from them.
However, as with any marketing endeavor, this also comes with its own set of challenges. It requires close monitoring of its progress every step of the way—from handling resources, to determining the most effective channels, up to the assessment of results—and quickly adapting to changes that may come midway.
We were given the opportunity to gain insights from two of today’s multi-channel marketing’s experts to address the pain points of managing this kind of project.
Budgeting, and sticking by it, has to strike the balance between avoiding overinvesting in one campaign and being flexible in adapting to needs that would arise along the way. A rough estimation of how much a campaign needs would not cut it, as you would risk miscalculating and incorrectly allocating funds. Kent Lewis, president of Anvil Media Inc., talks about that equilibrium.
He explains that the people handling a project play a crucial role in managing finances: “When budgeting resources for a multi-channel campaign, I typically start by assigning a lead media planner/strategist to oversee the program.”
“I would then build a supporting team around that strategist, including an account manager and a creative team. Beyond the team’s time/expertise, we need to ensure a proper budget remains for media and management/reporting tools,” he says.
Amanda Nelson, Director of Marketing at Ringlead.com, says that goals should be clearly laid out before setting the budget, as this would give them the flexibility to adjust their strategies and funds based on the needs of the ever-changing market.
“By understanding our goals at RingLead, we can determine the strategies necessary to achieve those goals. From there, the tools and resources that support those strategies are determined. At that point, we can price out and plan our budget for the technologies, resources, and other aspects that need to be funded,” she says.
“We take this approach for each goal and initiative, because the market is constantly changing, and so are our marketing strategies. While our goals remain solid for the year, our marketing approach and budget flexes and bends to meet the demands of the marketplace.”
Having the opportunity to utilize multiple channels does necessarily not mean you should invest in all available platforms when starting out. According to Lewis, “Channels are typically selected by the media planner/strategist, based on relevance to the target audience, ability to deliver the message effectively, likelihood of the target audience acting on the ad/call-to-action, and price/cost.”
“Since our specialty is developing measurable marketing campaigns that move our clients’ business forward, we always filter channels based on its ability to engage and create action. We want to ensure every touch point in the ‘journey to customer’ is thoughtful, consistent, and relevant. That is why we like multi-channel programs so much: it is more effective at creating a compelling and memorable experience, which leads to better results,” he explains.
Moreover, prioritizing channels would involve monitoring which ones are giving favorable results based on a number of factors. Key performance indicators (KPIs) will be discussed in the latter part of this article.
“From number of social shares on an infographic to number of downloads on an ebook, we can tell in real-time how our campaigns are performing,” Nelson says.
“We gauge the performance and trends over time to determine our top performers. We seek to find the marketing campaigns that deliver the most qualified leads for the lowest cost. We want to attract the right buyer on their terms, and we find that great content and serving it up in places where our audience spends their time, is invaluable,” she adds.
To achieve these, she explains that RingLead incorporates different marketing tactics, which includes content development, guest blogging, third-party content syndication, behavioral targeting, and retargeting, among others.
Pursuing Offline Campaigns
Although avenues to gain success in digital marketing have proliferated, offline marketing still remains relevant to this day, whether it is through traditional media, events, and direct mail, among others.
Nelson believes that “nothing is better than face-to-face communication” regardless of which industry the business belongs to.
As such, Ringlead.com “attend(s) a lot of industry events to have those quality conversations with customers, prospects, and partners. We also sponsor key events to get that awareness and coverage, as well as meet new faces in person. Event marketing is an important part of today’s marketing campaigns.”
Lewis, on the other hand, adds that audiences engaged through offline means should be directed to online channels. “This is particularly important today, when such a larger percentage of the population is using a mobile device or tablet to research further information while watching TV or otherwise ingesting advertising.”
Leading audiences from offline to online channels gives every business the opportunity to have a more quantifiable means of measuring whether their campaign is successful.
“Any trans-media campaigns that incorporate offline elements always drive the viewer online in some fashion, usually to a custom landing page or microsite, as that is the best way to control the experience, measure efficacy, and develop a long-term relationship. We can use vanity URLs, QR codes, or promotional codes to maximize tracking,” Lewis says.
Tracking how your campaigns are progressing would give you the crucial answer to all your efforts—are you achieving a desirable return on investment?
KPIs for multi-channel campaigns, according to Lewis, “are typically developed based on the campaign objective, call-to-action, target audience, and media type. To a lesser degree, KPIs may be influenced by budget, timeline, or technology restrictions.”
Nelson emphasizes the need to keep your goals in mind so you can determine which metrics would sufficiently assess the success of each objective. These metrics would then indicate how you are going to meet or potentially exceed your goals.
“From there, the tactics and strategies that align with those goals will have their own metrics that bubble up to the overarching goals,” she explains.
“For RingLead, we mainly look at total inbound leads, marketing qualified leads, cost per lead, and lead trajectory over time. While different marketing campaigns will have their own goals—such as conversion rate, impressions, etc.—they contribute to the overarching KPIs of our marketing plan.”
Scaling Multichannel Campaigns
Aside from measuring the success of your goals, KPIs can also determine whether your campaign is ready to be scaled. Scalability in multichannel campaigns means you can increase your investment for campaigns that have proven to be effective, which would then eventually lead to an increase in your leads and conversions.
“The easiest way to scale a campaign is via an increased media budget. More budget means greater scale,” Lewis says.
“Specific ways to scale a multi-channel campaign with a larger budget include increasing the number of channels or depth of channel penetration. It may also include more creative treatments or longer campaign duration. In an ideal situation, we would grow channels based on its independent contribution to the overall goals or ability to beat the target KPIs (based on Q3/Q4 above). In essence, we would grow the channels that are working and decrease or retool the under-performing channels to create optimal performance,” he adds.
A limited team and budget, although challenging, shouldn’t hamper the scalability of your campaigns. Nelson asserts that “it’s about working smarter, not harder.”
“By understanding your most effective marketing tactics, you can hone in there and focus on what works. Then kill what doesn’t work. It’s about not wasting time and really focusing where you can win. As those campaigns prove effective, you’ll get more budget and resources to grow them, or you can relocate existing resources of funds from other places to really grow those effective efforts,” she says.
Multi-channel marketing is unlike its other marketing counterparts in the sense that it deals with multiple platforms at the same time. Managing then becomes even more challenging as you need to be able to track a number of goals at the same time, while ensuring that each platform complements the other. It always helps to see how the experts have successfully done it, so you can assess which parts of your campaign you are doing right and which parts need improvement.