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95% of marketers already know the importance of a multi-channel approach, but only 14% of organisations believe they’ve successfully implemented one.
Multi-channel makes sense. The more you do to actively boost your marketing the better; I think it's safe to say that no company is likely to ever get the business they need by only exercising one marketing channel.
We recently constructed a free guide - Effective multi-channel models for marketing and sales, aimed at helping the 81% of companies who are struggling to implement multi-channel marketing into their strategy. In this blog specifically, let’s look to the benefits of multi-channel and why it’s essential to your strategy.
What is multi-channel?
Unsurprisingly, multi-channel in B2B marketing encapsulates using a selection of direct and indirect marketing communications, hoping to ignite interest in a brand and what that brand offers.
Channels available to marketers take shape both online and offline, allowing for a huge variation in combinations used, so companies can target their perfect buyers. For some more information about online and offline channels for B2B marketing, have a little read of this blog - What is the best marketing strategy for B2B companies.
Most businesses already use multiple channels in their marketing departments, however many forget to strategize this multi-channel use, and push them to their maximum potentials both individually and combined. This is where opportunities are missed, and marketers lose out.
Why is multi-channel strategizing important for marketing?
72% of consumers say they prefer to connect with brands through multiple channels before purchasing, so it’s in their interests as well as yours! Added to this, there are plenty of reasons a multi-channel approach will benefit your department across the board -
- Brand Awareness beyond initial interest - The more your brand is “out there”, the more likely people are to find you, and remember you when they see you again. This is key for those businesses that don’t need you right now - when they hit a problem and need a solution you’ll spring to mind straight away! When people find you organically it’s hard for you to know about it and measure the success of your SEO. PPC gives you direct results to track when it comes to progress. Loads of people might be searching your brand name - but how will you know?
- It allows you to put the prospect first without any hassle - A multi-channel approach means that you’re always catching the prospect at the best moment and in the best way. Not everyone responds to their emails actively, and not everyone has LinkedIn - covering all areas online and offline means that you’re allowing your prospect to discover your brand in the way they find most convenient - no matter where they look.
- It allows you to reach more people - Over 4.5 million companies in the UK alone have less than 20 employees, but marketing to them all can be risky in terms of ROI. Multi-channel approaches allow you to broaden your reach to these smaller companies, often with little to no extra cost (especially where social media is concerned!)
- It’s speedy - On average a lead interacts with your company 35 times before they feel ready to speak to a sales rep. This is sped up enormously by a multi-channel approach- as you start to appear everywhere they look, and before they know it- you’re the only brand they have in mind!
- It gives you a grip on earned media - Every company can control their paid media (PPC, print, direct mail), and their owned media (blog, social media accounts, website), which combine to make earned media. Customer reviews, word of mouth and social media engagement all lie out of your control- you have to earn them, and they can be the most powerful form of marketing. By employing a multi-channel approach, you’ll have a better grasp on your earned media and how you can mold it to shape up the way you want.
What are the benefits?
Let’s start with ROI. Everyone in marketing looks for it to know when they’re on the right track and their efforts are paying off in the right way. It’s been found that multi-channel B2B campaigns see an average increase of 24% in ROI. The statistics are all there to support this, with 50% of multi-channel marketers saying they reach their financial targets. Year-over-year, those with a strong multi-channel approach in their marketing see a 9.5% increase on annual revenue, and a 7.5% decrease in cost per contact, leading to an ever-climbing ROI.
We can’t neglect to mention campaign performance. Businesses using 4 or more digital channels will outperform those using single or dual channels by 300%, which is a staggering figure. Running multiple channels within marketing allows you to constantly test new ideas and take risks - as you can rely on other channels to perform well whilst you test for the next big thing.
In B2B, 70% of buyers purchase to solve a problem, and 30% purchase to gain something - those who employ a multi-channel marketing strategy grow their departments and generate leads faster, because they’re more advanced in the knowledge of how to entice buyers looking to solve a specific problem instead of those just browsing.
Multi-channel marketing also has longevity. Last year, 80% of internet users accessed the web via a smart phone, and 34% used smart TVs! The PC is still the most commonly used device for accessing the internet, but for how much longer? Those using multiple channels in their marketing cope with these constant changes better; if one channel is drawn to a standstill because of technical advancements or changes, they always have a back-up plan ready to ensure targets are met.
There are plenty more benefits to a multi-channel approach - we could go on! They’re all thoroughly outlined in our free guide Effective multi-channel models for marketing and sales, so if you need more convincing - check it out!
What are the drawbacks?
As all marketers know - nothing is perfect; though a multi-channel approach is full to bursting with benefits for your marketing, there are some barriers you’ll need to be aware of before embarking.
Many small to midsize businesses don’t have the technical capabilities to run a fully-fledged multi-channel marketing strategy, with 49% of marketers needing help from IT when it comes to adding, editing or managing content across channels. It’s no wonder when you look at the channels available to you! It’s great that there’s so much choice, but frustrating when different technical skills are needed to run them all to full efficiency.
Another issue marketers face when embarking on a multi-channel marketing strategy, especially with large online and offline presences, is the loss of the perfect buyer persona. As different channels work to attract different audiences you realize the sales aren’t quite making it to a close, as they’re not exactly the buyers you were looking for… Extra time spent outlining your buyer personas as a united team before splitting into channels wouldn’t go amiss in this instance.
Another drawback can be the cost. Many marketing departments would like to take on some new channels, and if money was no object, they’d be well underway with a multi-channel strategy. This is where those buyer personas come in handy! Some channels just won’t work if you’re targeting certain seniority or industries, so don’t invest in them. Events for example, can be enormously successful, but they cost a lot of money to run - if they don’t attract the audience you want, then find a new offline channel to peruse instead. The thing to remember here is that marketing channels aren’t going anywhere. If you drop one now to help ROI and growth, you can always pick it up again in a few years!
How do I make multi-channel part of my strategy?
So now we’ve convinced you to take on a multi-channel strategy, here’s how you do it! As part of our free guide Effective multi-channel models for marketing and sales, we put together a list of top tips to get you started on implementing a multi-channel strategy and measuring your success - you’ll be well away reaping the benefits in no time!
For further reading, head to our free resource hub and have a read of the eBook below.