Juggling all the latest communication channels can end up flatlining your
Brand marketers are finding it increasingly challenging to meet rising
customer communication expectations. According to Invesp,
95 percent of marketers
say they understand the value of a multichannel approach, but only 73
percent have a vetted multichannel strategy ready to use.
A focused, “less is more” approach will be more beneficial than having your
hands in everything. Determine how many channels you can handle, master
them, cut them if they do not work, and add more as you are able.
Cases in point
Take Sophia Amoruso’s success story. She started Nasty Gal alone with a
shoestring budget and then mastered each social media platform as her
customers migrated to newer ones. As a result, she grew her company
each year from its inception to 2014.
Trader Joe’s took a similar approach to maintain its competitive pricing on
high-quality goods. It focused on one channel—a newsletter—to minimize
marketing costs. Additionally, the company’s biggest marketing expense goes
food sampling. In-store sampling stations create a distinctive consumer experience,
aiming to increase revenue from customers on site.
Understanding this “less is more” approach and tailoring it to your
company’s needs might be the breakthrough change that attracts and retains
your most lucrative consumers.
[FREE GUIDE: The 7 questions you should be asking about brand journalism]
How to decide
Choosing the most efficient, cost-effective communication channels can be
challenging. Here are five ways to determine which options are best for
1. Align with your value proposition.
A clear value proposition helps your team enact its strategic plans. In
order to present one face to consumers, your team members must align with
the “what” and “why” behind your value proposition.
According to Tenet Partners, only
of employees strongly agree that they know their company’s brand values.
Simply sending out a survey that asks team members for their definition of
the company’s value proposition can quickly identify knowledge gaps that
you can address in all-hands meetings, road shows and internal
2. Map channels to established goals.
You must also outline each channel that helps you achieve your objectives
and understand how your brand and tone fit into each ecosystem. GoPro has a
strong track record of establishing channel use goals.
To highlight how adventures contribute toward a healthy work-life balance
and to promote its brand identity, the company introduced an
encouraging product managers to take their GoPros on mini-adventures during
work hours. This not only engages employees with GoPro’s brand identity and
mission, but it also creates custom content to share across channels.
By identifying how to connect your brand’s identity, goals and channels,
you can better design and execute a fully integrated campaign that
highlights your offering while tapping into crucial audience and channel
3. Be realistic about your budget.
Email and social media fall on the cheaper side of channel adoption, but
the days of free social engagement are waning. According to Adweek, social
media spending spiked by
year over year in the first quarter of 2017, and further growth is likely.
Additionally, for paid search, a worthwhile investment starts at $3,000 to
Invest in marketing technology that fits your team size and budget. If you
have only two or three people and no creative team, start by implementing
basic tracking for key metrics or simple marketing automation, and then
expand these as you grow. Wads of cash cannot make up for undefined
communication channel goals, however.
4. Build around your resources.
Your team’s collective skill set will determine your ability to execute a
strategy. For example, if you lack creatives, you will be limited in terms
of inbound and basic optimization tactics, such as A/B testing.
Augment your team with freelancers, consultants and agencies to fill the
gaps. As the department matures and as technology advances, the team’s
skills will diversify. With this growth, your tactics (and channels) should
become more robust and complex.
Don’t waste money on sophisticated tools such as Domo or Tableau if no one
on your team understands analytics. Instead, stick with free resources,
such as Google Analytics, database reports and spreadsheets.
5. Connect on common ground.
Be thoughtful about the customer experience you offer. Guide team members
to specific areas where your customers want to engage, and focus on
excelling on those channels. Each interaction defines your brand and
determines whether people will spread your message organically.
The communication channels that your customers prefer might surprise you.
Though email has been a staple for reaching audiences, direct mail is
making an impressive comeback, especially among millennials. Research by
Royal Mail MarketReach and TNS found that
of consumers consider physical mail “believable,” while only 48 percent
feel the same about email.
Marketing today requires staying vigilant and following consumer trends.
The platform of choice might change, but for most companies, an approach
that focuses on a carefully selected set of communication channels is most
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