May 12, 2017
Data Driven Marketing Strategy
Multi-channel marketing sounds like a trend, a buzzword, a recommendation some consultant would make for $400 per hour. But it’s much more than that. When you look at the multi-channel marketing statistics, and then compare them with how people are already shopping for things, you’ll quickly notice that multi-channel marketing isn’t just a trend…it’s your only profitable path forward. Here’s why, along with 10 data-backed benefits of multi-channel marketing.
1. Multi-channel marketing mimics your customers’ behavior
Quick—without looking: What’s your website conversion rate? If you’re good (or lucky), it’s probably a paltry ~1-3%. That’s the average. And it’s a problem. Because it means while we’re _zeroing-in_ on that tiny slice of our overall traffic, the other 97-99% of people are…? What _are_ they doing exactly, besides you know, converting? They’re browsing, discovering, learning, and slowly-but-surely developing trust. This isn’t an overnight thing. But a multi-night, multi-step journey. And that’s why it routinely takes at least 6-8 touches before someone’s ready to buy. That’s where multi-channel marketing comes in, personalizing your efforts to the right person at the right place at the right time. It mimics people’s ingrained behaviors that they’re already exhibiting. And then it allows you to reach people exactly when they need to be reached. (In a way that’s impossible to perform manually.) Here’s a perfect example. Look at _how_ and _where_ people are shopping for your products, according to BigCommerce’s Omni-Channel Retail report:
In bed! While standing in a retail store! In the bathroom! And while they’re in the car! There’s no way to predict that kind of behavior. No single, silver bullet campaign that’s going to work across each scenario. Instead, the only logical thing you can do is adjust and react to what they’re already doing. Multi-channel marketing makes that possible.
2. Multi-channel marketing puts your focus on the entire funnel
The Customer Journey to Online Purchase tool from Google visually illustrates the long and winding road your customers take. People first become aware of your product or service through social messaging, generic or display ads, then digging a little deeper with organic brand searches, and finally going back to your website to purchase. This solidifies what we’ve already discovered: that today’s customer journey is fragmented. It jumps around from device to device or channel to channel. Over the course of a few days, weeks, or even years. The problem is that marketers aren’t adjusting in time. According to marketing automation statistics, only 14% of companies currently coordinate campaigns across all these channels. Multi-channel marketing rights these wrongs. It instead forces us to focus on the holistic way people behave. And then mirror our marketing activities each step of the way. That way there’s not 10,000 blog visitors with a conversion rate of less than 1%. Or a conversion rate of 9% from only 10 AdWords visits a month.
3. Multi-channel marketing gives you a mobile-first viewpoint
One reason that customer journeys are so fragmented today is because of that little thing on your desk that keeps vibrating while you read this. Mobile internet usage outpaced desktop usage years ago. It’s even eating away at the time we’d usually spend on our desktop devices.
So what could possibly be wrong with this picture? It all sounds like great news so far. And mostly is. Except for one thing… Once again, companies are slow too slow to react. Google recently unveiled new mobile page speed benchmarks. Their findings showed that the vast majority of websites out there _aren’t anywhere close_ to meeting them. Instead, they’re too bloated or slow. And almost three-fourths of your visitors will leave the site if it fails to load within 5 seconds, according to Kinsta’s Page Speed guide.
A multi-channel marketing mindset changes that. Think back to a few seconds ago about _where_ people shop. They’re not bringing their laptops in bed, or on the toilet, or in a brick-and-mortar retail store. Instead, it signifies the role that mobile devices play in continuing to shape how the modern customer journey evolves.
4. Multi-channel marketing leverages existing algorithms (to increase ROI)
Ok, this one’s kinda nerdy. But stick with me for a sec. Google AdWords’ Quality Score was introduced back in 2005. It’s not the end-all, be-all KPI to watch. However, it’s like a physical; a simple spot check letting you know if you’re on the right path (or not). Here’s how it can do that. A few years ago, WordStream founder Larry Kim analyzed over $100 million in AdWords spend and found a strong correlation between Quality Score and Cost Per Click. Specifically, the Cost Per Click would lower (or rise) 16% based on a single point change in the Quality Score.
This strong correlation was confirmed by Jacob of Disruptive Advertising. He performed a similar experiment, analyzing 2,000 AdWords accounts and found that number to be 13% (vs. WordStream’s 16%).
Wait! Because we’re not done yet. Then AdEspresso ran a Facebook experiment that measured their Relevance Score (which performs a similar role to the AdWords Quality Score). Once again, the same trend was present. A higher Relevance Score resulted in a lower Cost Per Click (and vice versa).
So, what does this all mean? How is any of this _relevant_ (ha!) to this article? The Quality Score and Relevance Score are aggregate metrics. They measure how well you’re aligning each ad, to its audience, and the messaging or landing page they’re being shown. In other words, how well (or not you’re aligning multiple channels…and their messaging.
5. Multi-channel marketing helps you unify messaging
We’ve seen that people require multiple touches before converting. And we know the customer journey continues to become a multi-event, multi-device experience. Multi-channel marketing helps you unify that messaging across these touch points, events, and devices. Message match is a great example. It’s the concept we just explored in the last section. The one that looks at how well you’ve aligned an advertisement, with the person who’s seeing it, and the eventual landing page they’re hitting.
The problem is that doing this in real-time, at scale, with so many variables, becomes nearly impossible to manually pull off. What happens instead? You take a blanket approach; showing a single message to all people—even when it’s not personalized. For example, Directive’s awesome CTA analysis highlights one example that introduces “some serious friction the moment you land on the homepage” in the form of a big price point.
People are visiting the homepage to discover, browse, and learn more about this company. But instead, they’re being intimidated from the start with an expensive offer that they haven’t a) expressed interest in, or b) had the chance to see how this license is more valuable than the cost.
5. Multi-channel marketing helps you overcome banner blindness
One eye-tracking study a few years ago found that 86% of people online are banner blind. In other words, most people will simply skip over anything that resembles a banner ad when they’re reading a new web page.
That’s troubling for people who rely on display ads to drive awareness. But this other news might even be worse. Ad blocking technology has quadrupled in recent years to reach almost 50% of consumers. And that number is only going to rise even more when companies like Apple bake this technology into their operating system.
The writing’s on the wall. Your results from display-driven ad campaigns will only continue to decline as more and more people _proactively avoid_ advertisements. Which means you need to look outside of this single channel or medium for growth. Instead of relying on it completely or avoiding it entirely, you need to link it up with your other marketing efforts in order to break through. Like, for example, your email campaigns.
6. Multi-channel marketing helps you go beyond email
If multi-channel marketing is the movement, then marketing automation is the response. It’s a broad strategy you can use to adapt, respond, and keep up. But marketing automation doesn’t just equal a bunch of annoying automated emails. And that’s a good thing, because those annoying automated emails are starting to decay. Here’s why: The Promotions email graveyard tab on Gmail pulls out all of the borderline spammy stuff from ever hitting your inbox in the first place. Email is critical to marketing automation. But it’s not the only aspect of it, either. There’s a reason that relevant emails increase revenue 18X more than broadcast ones. It’s because they unify and reinforce messaging in other channels as well. A Facebook and Salesforce experiment proved this when they found that combining an email promotion with the same targeted advertisement extended the reach of that email campaign by 77% and made those people 22% more likely to purchase.
8. Multi-channel marketing lets you target accounts instead of spray-and-pray
Traditional digital marketing efforts are spray-and-pray. You do a bunch of random, isolated tactics in different channels, and then…hope for the best. (See: 2% conversion rates.) On the opposite end of the spectrum is Account-Based Marketing (ABM). Instead of crossing your fingers, hoping for the best, you’re targeting specific prospects _ahead_ of time. And then diligently working those premier companies until you get the sale. 85% of ROI-measuring-marketers say ABM delivers better returns than any other marketing approach. That’s partly because account-based marketing, is at its core, multi-channel marketing. Marketing company Funnelholic increased lead reply rates to 31% (up from only 2-3%) by combining outbound sales with classic marketing activities to “create an always-on series of touches and relationship building aimed at these accounts.” That even extends to offline efforts like direct mail. One agency was able to reach $30 million+ companies and net a 25% response rate. Where does that direct mail send people? Back to a personalized, targeted landing page on their website that expands on the offer you just teased them with. Optimizely did something similar, dynamically creating over 26 different versions of their homepage depending on which company account was visiting. The goal on this page is to get new visitors to create an account. And these personalized, account-based pages generated a 117% increase in new account creations.
9. Multi-channel marketing helps you influence sales when it matters most
So far we’ve learned that the effectiveness of a single campaign in a single channel is waning. We’ve also seen that people are banner blind; ignoring ads at an ever increasing rate. What’s the solution? How do you get in front of the right people at the right time, then? Social commerce. An entire industry that didn’t exist ten years ago is now an “overnight” $30 billion industry. Social commerce helps introduce your brand to new people. 92% of people will trust reviews from their peers—even if they don’t know them personally—over branded ad messages. And at the bottom of the funnel, reviews have the power to assist (or prevent) sales at the moment of truth. 90% of positive reviews influenced purchases (in a good way), while 86% of negatives ones did too (in a bad way), according to a study by Dimensional Research and Zendesk.
Beyond increasing visibility and conversions, social reviews also have the power to influence SEO and reduce returns, too. (PowerReviews has seen a 20% increase in the former and a 30% reduction in the latter).
But to get the full benefit, you don’t just want social reviews locked up on product pages. But you want them getting indexed to increase SEO:(Image source)
Getting pushed to advertisements to influence click-through rates: And even getting pushed to other retailers, as Bazaarvoice does with over 5,000 other retailers.
Does that make sense? You have your own online store or can make sales from your very own website. Why not expand into other online channels, too?
10. Multi-channel marketing forces you to lose silo blinders
Each industry has an intermediary. These are the destinations that help people discover new options. Local business? Hundreds of millions of people use Yelp each year. (And 70% of those are happening on mobile devices.) Travel? Look no further than TripAdvisor and other reviews sites that influence roughly 55% of soon-to-be travelers. Ecommerce? Easy. Online marketplaces lead the way in both where consumers shop, and how much is spent. Check out these studies examples from the BigCommerce report cited earlier:
Consumers spend the least amount of money at web stores. Instead, spending the most at other marketplaces. Getting your site right is obviously priority #1. Its benefits extend to branding, etc. However, despite the often-high-fees these intermediaries or marketplaces pluck along the way, they’re still a critical component to how people shop, find, and buy. Multi-channel marketing helps you see that. It removes the silo’d blinders so you can move upstream in the customer journey to reach people on marketplaces as they’re comparing alternatives for your product.
Multi-channel marketing isn’t a tactical trend or development. Instead, it’s a response to how people are already behaving online. They’re everywhere. Bouncing around from channel to channel or device to device. So you need to be, too. If you had any hesitation, or any shadow of a doubt, these 10 benefits of multi-channel marketing should prove why it’s a safe bet.