Multi-channel marketing uses a variety of avenues to expose potential customers to your business’s marketing message. Direct mail, advertising, catalogs, telephone sales, retail outlets, websites, email, and more recently social media networks are all ways to reach customers, both new and returning. This has come to be known as “bricks, clicks, and flips,” with reference to brick and mortar locations, mouse clicks on websites, and flips through print materials such as catalogs.
But isn’t trying to cover all those bases expensive? More importantly, what might be the benefits?
Multi-channel marketing can be used for both B2B and B2C applications, it can be used by public or private organizations, and can be as complex as the organization chooses to make it. Generally, the more channels used, the better the results.
The biggest benefit is that MCM is efficient. The marketing messages are optimized for each channel and audience, but the message remains consistent, with a significant amount of creative overlap. Taglines, visual designs, premiums, etc. carry over easily from one medium to the next.
The next benefit is increased interaction with customers. All these possible channels give the organization more opportunities to attract customers to buy products and services. This increased interaction also builds the credibility of the organization’s brand. Customers are more likely to trust companies the more widespread they appear to be, and ubiquitous appearances across numerous channels build that trust. A company that advertises in print magazines, maintains an active website, sends direct mail, and operates brick and mortar stores has so many more chances to connect with customers than a company that uses only one channel.
Eddie Bauer, Cabela’s, and Omaha Steaks are excellent examples of companies that use multi-channel marketing. Brick and mortar stores, print catalogs, and e-commerce increase consumer awareness and provide multiple channels for consumers to access the companies’ products.