Do you think that your marketing strategy isn’t effective enough and you need to achieve much closer interaction with your target audience? In this case, you should consider using multichannel marketing as a part of the digital marketing services you resort to. “What is multichannel marketing?”, “How can it be implemented in practice?”, as well as “What is a successful multichannel marketing example?” – all of these questions we will discuss below.
Multichannel marketing is a type of digital marketing that involves the use of multiple channels to interact with customers without a connection between them. That is, you communicate with some of the customers via email, some via SMS, some via push notifications in the mobile app, etc.
Unlike omnichannel marketing, which requires the use of all available services and platforms to push the customer to make a purchase, this type of marketing is less intrusive and more personalized, as it consists of choosing communication ways that are most convenient for a particular customer.
Let’s find out some of the unique advantages multichannel marketing brings to businesses.
Multichannel marketing should not be taken as the only solution to get all of the above benefits. In particular, when implementing this type of digital marketing, you may encounter the following problems (however, we’ll tell you how to solve them effectively).
If your customer support departments operate in isolation from each other depending on the channel, this can negatively affect the quality of support for individual platforms (most often, this applies to digital channels, on which at first glance it’s impossible to implement the same comprehensive service as in offline points of sale).
Thus, your potential buyers may find themselves dissatisfied with the experience they encounter on specific communication channels, or face a different approach to service than they already have. That’s why, if customer data isn’t properly synchronized, multichannel services can underperform.
The simplest thing you can do is to integrate into your customer communication interactive windows that capture their personal wishes and adapt the next steps of interaction with them to these wishes. Thus, they get a personalized approach that is sometimes difficult to provide online.
Even though, unlike omnichannel marketing, multichannel marketing doesn’t imply exposure to buyers across all available communication platforms, they can still contact you through several of them.
Often, businesses don’t anticipate such situations, and customers have to define their needs from scratch each time, although they may already have done this before. This may motivate them to choose another service next time that provides a seamless customer experience or to abandon the purchase altogether at the moment.
To deal with the above problem, you can offer your target audience the option of authorization through social networks and/or email services. Since they rarely log out of these accounts, no matter what digital channel they use, pre-set settings will be turned on automatically.
Another challenge that businesses often face when they decide to implement multichannel marketing is the discrepancy between the actual number of goods in stock and the quantity that is transmitted through communication channels. Thus, it often turns out that the buyer, having placed an order, discovers that in reality the goods are out of stock, and they have to look for a replacement or even refuse to make any purchase.
The answer to this question will be the only correct one: you need to ensure data synchronization across all channels and departments – both online and offline. Thus, your customers will smoothly move through the stages of the sales funnel, and you will face fewer problems associated with an abandoned cart and one-time customers.
To effectively implement multichannel marketing, you need to have four types of resources: data about your target audience, a technology stack for a seamless transition between communication channels, resources (time and financial) needed to develop and integrate appropriate solutions, and a sufficient number of support staff who can handle the new workload.
If you understand that it’s difficult for you to cover all four of the above factors in full, consider perhaps integrating with some advanced CRM system such as Salesforce will cost you less than development from scratch. However, keep in mind that this is not a one-size-fits-all solution—after all, even versalite solutions that work out-of-the-box require certain customization for your specific business processes. Therefore, you may need to consult with a specialist before integrating.
When the vast majority of buyers prefer one of the communication channels, businesses begin to focus their main efforts on optimizing the quality of service on them only, almost completely ignoring the rest. This can be a fatal mistake, which can be frustrating for some clients who have chosen channels with low activity rates.
In conditions of limited resources (human and financial), it’s difficult to maintain active interaction with your TA on all existing platforms. However, it’s much better to leave no impression about your business than to leave a bad one. Therefore, think about this before leaving a channel “in-work” that doesn’t bring the desired profit.
After we have clarified all the specifics of multichannel marketing, let’s proceed to consider the most successful and well-known examples of its implementation.
Apple is one of the most famous high-tech retailers in the world, using both online and offline channels to connect with its target audience. At the same time, it’s noteworthy that offline stores are used by the company not to ensure high levels of sales, but to inspire their visitors by branding and help them “feel” the goods in person, while leaving the opportunity to make a purchase after some time (in particular, at an online store).
Thus, Apple deliberately uses physical points of sale to maintain the strength of the brand and provide its target audience with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the company’s values, while the majority of purchases are made through their eCommerce solutions. This is facilitated by maintaining a unified visual style in all offline stores, which is fully transferred to the websites where their branded goods are officially sold.
Thanks to this, customers feel part of the “apple” culture wherever they make a purchase – be it a store in a shopping mall or the official website of Apple.
If you want to repeat this multichannel marketing example in your business, you will need to pay special attention to branding and in particular, create a unified design language and brand philosophy that will be seamlessly implemented across all platforms you use.
As for the world-famous coffee chain Starbucks, this company has decided to use loyalty systems for additional interaction with its customers. In particular, as they make more purchases at the point of sale, they get more “stars,” which can later be used to get free drinks and food. Note that this loyalty system is available not only in branded coffee shops but also in the mobile application and on the official Starbucks website, thus acting as a kind of link between all these solutions—both digital and non-digital.
To implement this approach to multichannel marketing, you can similarly build your own loyalty system, which will encourage your buyers to make more purchases specifically in your store. At the same time, you should keep in mind that the benefits of this loyalty system should be both easy-to-achieve and valuable to your target audience.
And finally, let’s talk about one of the largest American banks, Bank of America, which managed to elevate its level of customer service to the absolute highest level thanks to multichannel marketing. Even though many banks these days seek to interact more closely with their clients through mobile and web applications, offline branches, ATMs, advertising, and many other communication solutions, this multichannel marketing example defined a kind of “standard” for customer service.
The fact is that Bank of America uses in its services both personal historical data about each of its clients and general data about the audience. This provides the highest level of personalization, which is clearly appreciated by the company’s customers.
To replicate this successful strategy of Bank of America, you don’t have to also provide financial services—instead, it will be enough to implement their practice of combining personal historical and statistical data about your buyers. You can also benefit from expanding the number of options that lead them to the final stages of the sales funnel (for example, instead of forcing them to go to your website to checkout, you can invite them to make a purchase directly on the social networks they use at the moment). This will ensure a seamless user experience and improve the overall impression of your customer service.
Let’s define the main steps that will lead you to form your own multichannel marketing strategy.
A user persona is a description of an average user of a particular product or service with their basic needs, characteristics, and goals. Focusing on an individual or a small segment of the audience increases the company’s empathy for its target audience.
Creating such personas (usually there can be several of them for each of the channels) is a necessary measure since this data will be able to determine typical scenarios for interacting with specific subgroups of your TA, which will ensure maximum conversion rates as a result.
Covering absolutely all possible channels, both digital and non-digital, is a utopian situation, which implies a huge investment of money and time to implement this type of marketing. Therefore, it will be much more effective to build your multichannel marketing strategy gradually, starting with the platforms that bring you the maximum number of buyers, and then increasing their number with less effective ones. You can also read more about digital marketing for small businesses here.
The introduction of analytical tools that collect data from users interacting with your business and using them to form certain conclusions regarding the efficiency/inefficiency of specific channels will help you to realize the usefulness of particular ones. Based on this information, you will probably decide not to use some of them at all, since the resources spent on involving them in your multichannel marketing strategy will be disproportionately greater than the benefits that they are generally able to bring.
Usually, businesses that practice multichannel marketing have several customer support departments, each of which operates autonomously, concentrating all their efforts on a particular communication platform. This is good practice in terms of the speed of providing feedback to your TA, but bad in terms of data synchronization between these departments.
That’s why it’s so important to think ahead of time about the creation of common scripts for working with clients that convey a single philosophy of your business so that the approach on one channel is no different from the approach implemented on the other.
Along with building common scripts to interact with your customers, you’ll also need to tailor your strategy to the specifics of each platform you use. For example, communicating with potential buyers through social networks like Facebook or Instagram means focusing on images and videos that can be used to benefit your business, while using email as a channel will require you to pay special attention to the text content of your messages.
Although, unlike omnichannel marketing, multichannel marketing doesn’t require the synchronization of user actions across all the channels used, it’s still not worth leaving them autonomous.
The fact is that some of your buyers may use not one but several ways to move through the sales funnel, and if the data on the previous steps taken isn’t displayed in any way when moving from one platform to another, you are likely to run into the problem of abandoned carts.
We have already talked about the importance of multichannel marketing automation above, and now is the time to implement it—for example, through the use of a CRM system. Thanks to this, you’ll be able to get as much data as possible about the behavior of your customers when they interact with you and thus personalize their user experience even more. You can also learn more about marketing automation here.
Since your website is the main communication channel between you and your target audience, it’s important to implement the most effective marketing practice here. In particular, you’ll need to integrate your website with all other services and platforms, as well as adapt it to display on mobile devices of users.
Once you have started using at least a few channels beyond your main one (website or app), you’ll need to evaluate the effectiveness of user interaction on each of them to further tailor your multichannel marketing strategy to these insights.
And of course, don’t forget about retargeting, which is especially effective when being implemented along with multichannel marketing. In this way, you will be able to return the customers who “left” you for a while by running ads on other platforms that they often use, whether it’s Google Ads or social media advertising. You can also find out more about effective digital marketing strategies for ecommerce.
As you can see, multichannel marketing, when implemented correctly, can provide a true personalization of the customer experience, improve your business image, and quickly get market data based on which it will be possible to optimize the movement of customers through stages of the sales funnel. If you are looking for experts who will most effectively implement this approach in your digital solution, feel free to contact us.
Three of the most well-known multichannel marketing examples are Apple, Starbucks, and Bank of America.
Here are nine essential steps to ensure consistency across all communication channels when implementing your multichannel marketing strategy:
They can use closed-loop analytic software tools. These will inform them about the most effective digital channels, as well as the ones that don’t bring needed conversion rates and thus, don’t provide any market competition advantage to your business.
After you’ve created customer journeys and personas, you can tailor your marketing campaigns to the needs of your target audience and modify them according to the specific digital channels. Thus, you will be able to get better conversion rates than ever before.
Automated tools such as CRM systems will help you to reduce the costs associated with an implementation of multichannel marketing and, at the same time, ensure the proper level of personalization of your services.
Julia is an experienced IT consultant who helps both large organizations and dynamic startups across domains create software products that meet their specific needs and rise to emerging challenges. She is committed to providing effective solutions that speed up and improve our clients' business processes in the best possible way.
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