Current fiction, future reality: The truth about multichannel marketing

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Current fiction, future reality: The truth about multichannel marketing
Current fiction, future reality: The truth about multichannel marketing

Everybody talks about using multiple channels to reach consumers. Unfortunately, discussing it and doing it – successfully, anyway – are two very different things. Let's look at the fiction, the reality and the undeniable future of multichannel marketing.

Fiction:  Marketers are successfully using multiple channels.

Reality:  Not really. Marketers don't know which channels work with which consumers.

Many companies have separate television, direct mail, e-mail and online strategies. But, rather than a consumer-centered model, budgets and strategies are framed on a by-channel basis.

The real power of multichannel marketing lies in knowing the right combination of channels needed to elicit the right response from the right consumer.

Fiction:  We're missing data for optimized, consumer-level,  multichannel optimization. 

Reality:  The data exists, but it resides in silos. Still. 

Let's say a customer receives a coupon via e-mail, and purchases a pair of pants. Learning is usually limited to e-mail deliverability, click-through, conversion and discount information. But what about other channels? Cross-sells? Future pricing decisions? Others who “look like” that customer?

Until companies make these connections, they're going to stay stuck.

Fiction:  Companies can generate a holistic customer view.

Reality:  Privacy concerns prevent a true, 360 view of consumers.

The technology exists to connect an IP address, e-mail address, postal home address, home phone and mobile number to a name, supported by demographic and transactional behavior data. But do we want to do that? Many marketers would say yes. And many, many consumers would say no.

Fiction:  Using consumer and behavior information puts people at risk.

Reality:  Effective multichannel marketing benefits consumers. They just don't realize it.

Marketers subsidize entertainment, services and lower prices for consumers. The harder it is to target those consumers, the more costly it is to acquire, retain and service them. Result? Higher prices and more junk for all.

To allay fears, businesses must uphold privacy and contact suppression policies.

Fiction:  Multichannel marketing is making us more effective, efficient and profitable.

Reality:  Not yet. But a bold new future is coming.

Marketers continually pursue the best ways to reach consumers, and consumers want marketing that is relevant, meaningful and respectful. To satisfy both sides, marketers can:

  • Integrate siloed data
  • Use multichannel predictive analytics and optimization
  • Ask for and honor consumer preferences
  • Deploy technology to enable all of the above
Only then can marketers fully realize the benefits of multichannel marketing. And consumers will thank them for it.
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