Segmentation and Testing are the Keys to Multichannel Marketing
Current strategies for multichannel marketing tend to take one of two possible paths. The first is cost-focused, where the idea is to drive low-profit/low-potential customers to the least expensive channel. This makes sense from a servicing standpoint, but may not be effective from a marketing and sales standpoint because it doesn't consider high-value customers who prefer the convenience of high-tech, low-touch channels.
The alternate approach offers consumers their choice of channel and even the time frame between contacts. This is the most consumer-friendly tactic and requires that preferences be asked or recognized, purchase habits are analyzed, and follow-through efforts get carried out with the right offers at the right time. While this approach may be the ideal, it involves a hefty investment in technology to gather and follow preferences and to extend capabilities across all channels.
Perhaps the most ideal solution incorporates both approaches, and is grounded in a strong research/analytical foundation. Profits and preference information can be combined to create an optimized marketing plan.
Close the Loop
Most successful multichannel research begins with segmentation. In segmenting consumers, marketers likely will discover that each segment is predisposed to communicating via specific channels. Similarly, each segment will have a relative level of profit. Combining the two characteristics allows marketers to optimize their multichannel marketing strategies. Easy, right?
Not quite. There are several prerequisites. First and foremost, marketers should establish a closed-loop marketing environment where promotions across all channels and brands and/or products lines are planned and cohesively executed, and response is monitored.
As individuals are selected for inclusion in a campaign, promotional information should be recorded in the marketing database. The actual promotion—regardless of the channel—should be encoded with a key that allows you to link back to the promotion record. In the absence of a keycode, marketers also may employ a more indirect method. Referred to as "attributed response," indirect tracking takes into consideration that a promotion may have prompted an individual to take action—even though "proof" that the action is tied to the promotion may be absent. Generally, attributed response should be matched to promotion records no older than three months.