Three Ways to Prevent Multichannel Failure
In the mad rush to get their multichannel marketing plans going full-steam, many companies lose sight of some multichannel fundamentals. “In a dysfunctional multichannel environment, everyone has a separate P&L, everyone is taking credit for each other’s sales, and no one understands where sales are coming from,” asserts Mark Swedlund, senior vice president of Haggin Marketing, a multichannel agency based in San Francisco.
Here are three ways to get past the multichannel stumbling blocks:
1. Watch for siloed organizations.
When the marketing people don’t talk to the sales people or the online folks don’t strategize with the offline bunch, trouble brews. Such trouble can manifest in budget squabbles and, worse, sputtering multichannel efforts. “For example, you know things are not going well when you drop a mail campaign and then go to the Web site that you’re sending people to, and it doesn’t look anything like the mail piece that went out,” illustrates Swedlund, who says to create a robust marketing model, you must have a number of channels working really well together at the same time. He says such a blueprint should be promulgated by the company’s CEO, making sure each team equally shares credit and failure, as well as resources.
2. Become even more disciplined.
Discipline is key in whatever channel your company may be familiar operating within; however, when running multiple channels together, discipline becomes paramount. “You have to be so disciplined with your online communications in order to run everything without humans; meanwhile, in other channels, if humans are having a bad day and/or aren’t well-trained, then customers may get frustrated and impatient,” comments Susan K. Jones, associate partner at The Callahan Group, a direct and interactive marketing consulting firm based in Grand Rapids, Mich.
3. Don’t forget about direct mail.
In the love affair with all things Web, don’t neglect the old horse: direct mail. “Some think they can abandon direct mail, but their sales will suffer because the integration is what does it,” explains Jones, who describes effective multichannel campaigns as being on the radar screen for the prospect in multiple ways.
“For example, direct mail can provide an online company an audience they normally don’t have access to,” explains Spyro Kourtis, president and CEO of Bellevue, Wash.–based The Hacker Group. He states one of the better things about direct mail is that it may hit an audience earlier in the sales process.