As inbound marketing becomes the norm in the business-to-business (B2B) environment, customers are daily more discerning about what media they choose to consume. Technology companies are under pressure to discover new ways to reach target audiences, and this has led to the increased use of multiple channels in their marketing. It’s challenging, however, because multi-channel marketing (MCM) campaigns are typically more complex than single-channel.
Here’s how to design an MCM strategy that achieves your marketing goals:
Target the Right People
Knowing precisely who you are speaking to is vital if you’re going to choose the right channels to reach them, for obvious reasons. It’s not enough to know you’re targeting companies who need technology services, for example; that’s pretty much any and every company these days.
For a B2B multi-channel campaign to work well, you need to be as specific as you can about whom you’re targeting. For example, if you’re setting your sights on the IT directors of service companies with between 10 and 20 employees, you aren’t going to logically spend your budget placing an expensive print ad in Time Magazine!
Once you select your targets, create customer personas that provide detailed insight into the type of person you’re trying to attract. This will help you to determine the channels you need to use to reach them.
Take an Integrated Approach
The digital revolution has provided inbound marketers with tools we had never heard of a few years ago, and taking an integrated approach using a range of tools increases your chances of reaching your target—for a lot less spend. In a multi-channel campaign, you could ideally combine digital options with physical ones. Your list could include channels such as:
- social media
- text messaging
- websites and blogs
- mobile access
- online advertising, e.g. Pay-per-Click
as well as traditional channels such as television, radio, print and billboard advertising.
The secret to using all these channels effectively together to generate qualified leads is to take an integrated approach that optimizes the use of each medium to its fullest potential, as well as supporting your presence on the others. For example, you can use short clips of video taken from television ads to share on social media, or convert material from a radio interview into a white paper for your website.
Hit Them Where They Are
The biggest challenge of marketing is getting the right eyeballs to see your material. That’s where using multiple channels gives you a much broader reach than you would have otherwise. The purpose isn’t to use as many channels as possible, though; it’s to use the most effective ones you can, in the most efficient way possible.
For example, younger customers might interact more on mobile than older ones, so if you’re targeting them then mobile needs to feature in your campaign. If you’re targeting senior, corporate B2B buyers, however, you might want to also include a more traditional channel to reach them. This is where identifying detailed customer personas can help you tremendously. The benefits of digital channels include the data and insights you can get into how well your campaigns are working.
Use Consistent Messaging
Just because you’re spreading your activities across multiple channels doesn’t mean you have to use multiple different messages. In fact, that can be detrimental to your brand and your customer’s experience. This is particularly important if you have several people involved in creating your content; the VP of marketing doesn’t necessarily use the same voice as the social media writer. When you’re launching a complex campaign that encompasses more than one or two channels, make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the message, tone and approach by creating core messaging and standard copy points to work from.
Multi-channel marketing is an excellent way to reach B2B customers of every size and shape (and we mean that figuratively, of course!). It means inbound marketing to the next level, so you not only give your customer the opportunity to choose what to consume, but the chance to choose the format in which he consumes it.