We are Christina and Peter Pilarski, founders and leaders of CIPR Communications and hosts of Two Babies and a Business Podcast. For our 7th podcast episode in this series we explore multi-channel marketing and why you should no longer solely rely on a single channel to reach customers.
So what is multi-channel marketing? A good definition of multi-channel marketing is “the practice of interacting with customers using a combination of indirect and direct channels.” Some examples of marketing channels include:
- Retail stores
- Mail-order catalogs
- Direct mail & e-mail
- Press releases
Don’t focus too much on a single, direct channel to reach your customers. Remember that using indirect channels alongside with direct channels increases the effectiveness of your marketing.
Direct vs Indirect Channels
The most recognizable example of direct marketing would be Google. When a person searches for something specific such as cleaning windows, it can trigger your ads to pop up and great SEO can lead them to your site. Direct channels are a form of lead generation where you are putting an ad in front of a person searching for something they know they want.
Contrast this with social media such as Facebook, which would be indirect marketing. While social media sites may know your customer’s habits, likes, or dislikes, there is no direct inquiry. With sites like Facebook based on demographics and habit, users may get ads on gardening rather than window cleaning. Ultimately you can think of this as a form of PR.
Indirect channels are demand generation, focused on creating awareness, education, and putting something in front of somebody that they didn’t know they wanted or needed. Indirect channels work by exposing people to the same ads over and over again. The next time a person needs a solution to a problem, there is a higher chance they remember those ads and search for you on Google. This in turn, creates a direct channel to the potential client.
How Marketing and Communication has Changed
A fundamental way in how the marketing and communications world has changed is in the media landscape. We are currently able to pay for brand exposure in a way that looks like it’s not an advertisement. Customers are now coming to salespeople with 70-80% of the research done online and are looking for fine details and differences, often between two or three companies. Your job as a brand and company is to educate consumers, using all the various channels, so consumers conclude your solution is the best. Multi-channel marketing, using both direct and indirect channels, is one of the best methods to reach and capture customers.
If you like what you’ve been reading so far, we would love to connect with you! You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Also, be sure to follow us on iTunes, Spreaker, or Spotify to listen to the rest of our series in public relations and get notified of new episodes.