The Art of Multi-Channel Marketing

In war, the most effective use of force is a combined-arms strategy. It’s almost impossible to conceive of a victory in modern warfare without implementing combined-arms.

Put simply, combined-arms means you use air, land and sea forces with each tasked to best suit their strengths. Working together, modern combined arms forces are devastating.

Today, in a multi-channel world, you need to employ a combined-arms approach to dominate.

Remember, for the average consumer (and you and I are not average) multi-channel is intuitive – they move from channel to channel to leverage the strength of each for their own convenience. Picture this as you might a monkey swinging effortlessly from vine to vine picking the most advantageous route to a destination. That’s what most of us are trying to do online today and most of us don’t even think about the path – only the destination.

However, you’re a marketer and you have to think a little more about the dozens of damn channels out there and how to employ them for the best ROI. Gone are the days when the advantages of print, radio and TV were apparent.

Or are they?

In fact, while there is some overlap and while unlike traditional media these channels share the same delivery method (internet), but each entity of the multi-channel universe is different to one degree or another. That means that as with traditional media before, each social channel will have its own strengths and weaknesses and using and combining them for the best results is crucial.

Shiny Object Syndrome Leads to Blindness

You don’t have to embrace every new channel which comes along! You simply have to take a little time to at least be aware of them and understand how you can best exploit them to get your message to the right people. That’s important to understand; you have to decide what weapons you’ll bring to bear to market your product or service.

Just like a good general, you will have to survey the terrain and decide on the most effective combined-arms strategy for victory.

Email is your Nexus in the Multi-Channelverse

Email was the first social medium and continues to be the nexus for all other channels simply because it is non-proprietary and is a personal identifier. What I mean by that is that an email address is gives you a place on the web – it is a unique identifier and the inbox is the front door of your home.

Don’t let people fool you with talk about how email is dying or not effective in your marketing mix. Those people have agendas to market social because that’s what they sell.

Passive Listening

Social channels abound and as I mentioned you can’t be active every moment on every one of them, it’s just not practical. What you can do is put to use tools and features which will allow you to monitor those channels for relevant conversations you want to be involved in.

Your inbox will be a nexus for this kind of monitoring. The irony is that while so many social media “experts” talk about the impending death of email, not a single one of those social media channels would be able to function without it!

It takes a little time to organize your inbox correctly to take full advantage of all those channels, but it’s worth it. A little automation is no sin in social marketing if it means you show up for the right conversation at the right time.

Have You Got Rhythm?

My father was a property manager and when I was very young I always loved to get up very early with him on weekends and tour the properties with him. He had a regimented routine where he would go from one property to another looking to see if there were any problems. He had a rhythm he followed which only changed if there was a need to interact with someone on some issue.

With so many social channels today, you need to develop a rhythm so that you don’t spend too much time on any one channel and be careful; we all have our own poison just like in everyday life. You won’t know you’re a Twitter, Facebook or forum addict until you’ve wasted a good deal of time on one of them and the habit can be very hard to break. Tour the different social properties lightly and only land when you see something which requires you to interact.