Multi-channel marketing – are we taking the wrong approach?


After attending ADMA Forum this week, I reflect back on some of the other ADMA Forums I’ve attended in years gone by. This year the hot topic is multi-channel marketing and understanding how to get the channel mix right so marketers can maximise return on investment.

As direct marketers we have always been multi-channel –
just we didn’t have quite so many to use or manage as we do today.

There is no question that online channels have added a new dimension to direct marketing, but they haven’t changed the goal. The energy and discussion on how to integrate online into the marketing mix is enormous. We are even seeing some marketers suggesting they will move all their marketing to online away from the more traditional off line channels.

What the…? Surely such suggestions are nothing more than emotional and rash responses driven by frustrations with the lack speed and measurability with off line channels that the new, exciting (and sometimes cheaper) online forms offer. To move away from tried and true channels impetuously could be disastrous for the marketer.

One of the doyens of our industry David Ogilvy once said, “What really decides consumers to buy or not to buy is the content of your advertising, not its form.”

It is my view that this still stands as true today as it did back in the days of Mad Men. Sure the channel plays a key part in connecting a business to its customer; but you still need a good product, supported by a good offer that hits the right customer at the optimum time in their day/year/life when their need is greatest.

The channel is secondary to understanding the customer and their needs. Each customer segment has different drivers, different needs and responds to different types of stimulus. The challenge for the marketer is to understand this and then utilise the best channel to connect with a customer.

If online only works best for a particular type of customer – use it! If another type of customer responds best to off line – use it!  And, if another type of customer
needs multiple touches across online and off line – then use both!

Direct marketing built its credibility on being able to provide tangible and direct measures on the contribution created from direct marketing campaigns. The rapid growth in online has created some challenges – but the opportunities are far greater!

Posted by Graham Plant, PMP Digital, PMP Limited.

1 thought on “Multi-channel marketing – are we taking the wrong approach?

  1. Great article Graham!

    As marketers, we need to be careful not to get confused or overwhelmed by the channels and technology. We need to listen to our customers and use the wealth of data and insights available. Select the customer’s preferred channel and get the message right.

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