Nowadays, only a few question the effectiveness of digital marketing as a tool for brand awareness. However, the usefulness of digital marketing is not enough to sustain its existence. In order to translate such awareness into leads, sales, and even consumer loyalty, you cannot simply rely on visibility. You have to be exactly where your target market is and effectively engage them. This is where multi-channel marketing comes in.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “Customers today use an average of six channels during the buying process.” By providing multiple channels—whether it is social media, offline media, email, mobile, video marketing, and plenty of other available means–brands are able to give consumers several ways to communicate and/or buy from them.
In this era where consumers prefer to have more control over the buying process, thoroughly weighing their options via information found online before purchasing, it is then vital that you execute your marketing campaigns well. And it all begins with proper goal setting.
Setting Goals for Multi-channel Marketing Campaigns
Launching a multi-channel campaign requires a careful balancing act to make sure that each channel is aligned with the overall campaign objective. The overall objective can be achieved by laying down a solid foundation of goals and knowing how to execute them well.
1. Knowing your target audience
Your campaigns will be lost if you don’t have a clear idea of who you are talking to. Firstly, defining your target market gives you the opportunity to dominate that audience as opposed to targeting multiple markets. Secondly, if you are talking to the wrong people, your message will be lost on the recipient, which will lead to your losing traction with your content. The more tailored your messages are, the greater chances of inviting more customers.
In multi-channel campaigns, your channels can help you create a database which will help you define your customer’s behavior, where they usually go, the products or services they patronize the most, how they shop, and their preferences. You can also analyze demographics and corresponding preferences, such as what makes young adults tick, what’s the latest trend in male fashion, what branches invite more customers, and many others. We have written, on a separate blog post, a guide on identifying audiences for multichannel marketing.
For instance, if you run a sports apparel shop and then come to find that most of your online audience is composed of millenials, ask yourself these questions: What would make them purchase your products more than just liking your page and sharing your photos and videos? A reward system, perhaps? An online raffle which can entitle them to exclusive discounts? Or you can simply do a survey to further understand what could drive them to buy and what’s stopping them.
Then put your target market at the forefront when brainstorming for your channels’ content. What are they looking for? Will this type of content be read and encourage them to engage with you? Once you know who you’re talking to, it would be easier to tailor your messages for them.
2. Knowing and appropriating resources
Since this campaign would require multiple channels, managing resources (i.e. human resources and expenditures) can be very demanding. Even if you have planned the allocation of budget, for instance, you will find that you’ll need to adjust whenever the campaign calls for it while remaining careful to not go overboard.
Let’s say, based on research, you need to maintain two to three online channels. Content in all those should always be consistent, be it with the message or the schedule of posting. You would then need people who can properly manage your channels, so you can coordinate and monitor the traction of your content.
It is also vital that everyone in your team are committed and motivated to reach your goals. They should be familiar with what your organization wants to achieve. More than knowing their capabilities, also make sure that your team understands their roles well and how it would impact the end goal.
When it comes to budgeting, first keep in mind that the marketplace is constantly changing, hence the need for business owners to be more flexible with financial matters. However, overinvesting could also prove to do more harm than good.
One way to work with this is to go slow with investing and test the channels first. Observe what happens, and see which channels need more budget. Understand that even if a channel is performing well, going slow with investing is still the key. Increasing budget for one channel while remaining constant with the others will eventually lead to diminishing returns. Also, as this is multi-channel marketing, remember that each channel ideally works together—meaning if one channel performs well, the other channels contributed to it.
3. Setting a timetable of execution
Effectively executing your campaign means you need to complete each phase in a timely manner. Remember that a well-made plan is only as good as its implementation. Any delay might start a domino effect and postpone the production and completion of other tasks.
At the onset, prepare a realistic timetable. To do so, consider the following:
- What do you need to create first before launching a campaign? For instance, a pay-per-click campaign will not work if you haven’t created an optimized landing page first.
- Based on the preparations needed for a particular campaign, when is a realistic time to launch it? Make sure that all prerequisites are completed.
- What is the best time to launch the next campaign? You can schedule the next campaign after a certain amount of time following the first campaign (e.g. a print material delivered to the customer can be followed up with an email a few days later). Or you can base it on your audience’s reaction (e.g. once they start pouring from social media to your site, you can start your blog contest).
- When do you want to achieve x amount of sales? What are the steps you need to do to achieve that?
Always set a specific time to regularly check on the progress of your campaigns. Also, keep your management team and yourself vigilant with regards to unexpected events that will happen. Adjust your schedule wisely without compromising the overall objective.
4. Setting the KPIs to track
How much did your site’s traffic increase as a result of the surge of your followers on social media? How much face-to-face and online consumer engagement translated to actual purchase? What is driving consumers to purchase or not purchase a certain product or service?
Key performance indicators (KPIs) should carefully and consistently be monitored to see how good or bad your campaign is doing. Nonlinear Digital has provided a comprehensive infographic for determining multichannel marketing KPIs, clearly divided for each level of the sales funnel.
At the start of the campaign, find out if you’re catching your audience’s attention. This could include growth rate of social media engagement and followers, your ranking on search engine results page (SERPs), impressions in online ads, or email list growth rate.
Also find out if the audience you attracted want to transact with you. Watch the click through rates for online ads and emails, landing page bounce rate, the percentage of referrals for social links and mentions, and compare search queries and impressions to clicks.
Conversions would be the barometer of the effectiveness of your campaign. Look at the average cost per visitor, visit, and conversion. How much are you getting from each customer? What is the percentage of new to returning visitors? Also find out the start and completion rate of your shopping cart. Depending on your campaign, also consider the download or form completion rate.
Once your campaigns have matured, you should be looking at customer loyalty through percentage conversions, frequency of visit and purchase, and how long ago they visited and purchased.
5. Monitoring Tasks and Results
Determining KPIs will be for nothing if you don’t regularly monitor the results of your campaign, and if it’s giving you the bottom-line—a good return on investment (ROI).
You can set your goals in Google Analytics to track customer engagement and conversions, whether they come from search engines or social media. If you are using online ads, compare how much you are spending versus how much sales you are getting. If you are using an offline channel, make sure that you are directing them to your online channel.
Monitoring is as important as planning and execution. Are you achieving your desired goals? How many unique users do you have? What do your KPIs tell you? Which channel is performing well and which one needs more attention? Do you need to do more and refine your original strategy?
ROI is the bottom-line metric used to evaluate performance and efficiency of a marketing campaign by looking at the campaign’s gains and losses versus the initial investment. It should not only be seen as an oversimplified measuring tool to evaluate investment gains and loses. Analysis should not be limited to the numbers but on how and why certain factors drive consumers to purchase or not.
Setting your ROI should be incorporated from your planning and strategizing stage and should consistently be monitored through the execution process. If there are any inevitable changes, your ROI should also need to adapt and develop.
For a multi-channel campaign to be effective, goals should be set to serve as beacons that will guide you every step of the way. Comprehensive research, planning, execution and monitoring should be done when setting goals. You can’t expect everything to go smoothly as the market is in constant flux. However, if you are proactive with your goal setting, you’ll be able to respond well to changes without compromising the entire campaign.