22/02/2013

By Ryan Higginson, Vice President Digital Channel Europe at Pitney Bowes

In today’s marketing world there are a plethora of channels upon which brands can engage their customers, but many companies underestimate the importance of integrating them. Campaigns that make use of multiple marketing channels at once are often the most effective; indeed a multi-channel approach should be greater than the sum of its parts.

If done correctly, it can add significant value to campaigns, but if you’re considering a multi-channel strategy there are a few things to keep in mind:

1)One message, universal content

This may seem obvious but marketers need to create content which can be used across multiple platforms, offline and online, rather than working in siloes and deliver a consistent message. For example, physical marketing techniques, such as promotional posters, letters and adverts, can be combined with digital channels by implementing techniques such as QR codes. This means that when a customer walks past a poster or sees a code on a product, they can scan it with their mobile and instantly be taken online to access more information or even make purchases. By using the right tool, this entire process can be done regardless of technical in-house expertise within hours and for as little as £2.99 a month.

2) Start integrating

While bigger firms often have large budgets, in-depth expertise and sufficient resources to launch multi-channel campaigns, many SMEs feel that they don’t have the capacity to compete. However, this needn’t be the case. There are marketing tools available now which give a step-by-step guide to help businesses develop and launch multi-channel marketing campaigns from making sure mobile websites are optimised to launching a QR code campaign or mastering email marketing.

Such tools are easy to use and affordable. For example, businesses can create a mobile optimised site for as little as £6.99 a month. In addition, it doesn’t involve having to change the whole system and the processes within it, or require a complete overhaul of existing marketing and sales strategies. Businesses just need to choose the right programme that will guide them through the process.

3) Think visual

Firms of every size are increasingly taking part in multi-channel marketing. Marketers need to get creative to get their message out there. Producing engaging and entertaining content that people will enjoy and remember is a key part of this.

4)Maintain a consistent experience

While customers usually accept different levels of interaction across a growing number of channels and devices, they expect the overall experience to be one and the same — whether it’s outdoor, direct mail, mobile or online. For example, mobile applications and optimised sites should deliver the same level of experience and variety of content as the traditional website. This can be achieved through careful mobile website design to make sure that the customer can navigate and find information as easily as possible. Above all, it’s essential to make sure that the entire customer journey is as simple as it can be, no matter what device they use.

5)Review, refine, repeat

With numerous channels to now market through, thanks to the increase in digital marketing, it can be difficult to determine what is working best for the business. In order to get the most out of mobile channels for instance, data and analytics has a key role to play. Businesses can use free tools such as Google Analytics to see exactly how many visitors are accessing their content from a mobile device, while geolocation technology and maps make it possible to find out where customers are viewing information or buying products and services. The fundamental advantage universal to all digital technology is the immediate creation of data which would otherwise be very time-consuming and expensive to collect. This instant ‘intelligence’ will help businesses better target future campaigns. It’s all about building momentum from one campaign to the next through continuous analysis, refinement and execution to ensure that they are as successful as possible and yield the highest sales figures.

For more information, please visit www.pbsmartessentials.eu.

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