The Transition of “Digital Days” to “Multichannel Days.”

by Bill Harriss on July 9, 2010

Bill Harriss

Bill Harriss

Earlier this month, I attended the Digital Days conference sponsored by the DMA in New York City. The conference highlighted how critical it is for companies to look at their direct, digital and targeted marketing in a multichannel context. The issue is:  Is it really only about Digital these days? True, the percentage of marketing expenditures as a portion of all media funneling into the digital channel increases every year. However, as a marketer, I need to know how to engage with customers and prospects in every channel THEY want to, not just online.

I know this personally as someone who consumes a good array of products and services, that I still get (and read) mail, look at catalogs, watch TV, read magazines and newspapers, go to malls and retail outlets, spend time with my smart phone…you get the idea.

Marketers are challenging their agencies to develop and manage ever more complex communications programs as brands look to engage with consumers in the methods customers want. A great example was the recent Kraft re-launch of its Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand. The campaign, which aimed to broaden the appeal of the food item, included a strong social media component, but it also incorporated offline tactics, such as event marketing and advertising.

By combining various digital elements, including online video, e-mail and banner ads, with offline tactics, the company hopes to elevate its Internet marketing strategy in order to truly reach consumers where they are located – be it on a social network, in front of the TV or out grocery shopping.

While more and more online tools and communities emerge every day, marketers are finding that integrating offline and online tactics creates a more consistent marketing message, while also achieving a better acquisition rate.

Coordinating an effective integration across an organization’s marketing strategy is often considered the ultimate achievement. Here are a few tips for bringing this kind of thinking into your marketing program:

  • Use interactive features to speak to consumers across channels, such as encouraging social media followers to make use of an online coupon or printing online reviews for in-store signage.
  • Use out-of-home signage to build your e-mail and mobile list.
  • Drive traffic to your offline events through social media.
  • Drive traffic to the Internet using personalized direct mail.
  • Use popular search terms in e-mail subject lines.
  • Look to collaborate with agencies and marketing partners that have unique skill sets to help design, deploy and measure your multichannel campaigns.
  • Integrate online and offline data from multichannel campaigns.
  • Develop strategic profiles of your known web visitors/customers and then match this data to what you know about them in offline channel activities for a more complete view of their experience.

Keep in mind that you can take findings from one channel and apply them to another. If a keyword performs well in search, try testing it in an e-mail campaign.

Other integration models for the Kraft campaign include a social media component that will solicit consumers to sign up for Kraft’s regular e-mail newsletters. Kraft also plans to begin a Philadelphia Cream Cheese-specific e-mail program that targets this database later this year.

Perhaps next year, the DMA should call the conference “Multichannel Days.”   Not as catchy, but perhaps more accurate.

About the Author:

Bill Harris is a Practice Leader in the Healthcare and Consumer Markets for SIGMA Marketing Group.  Connect with Bill on , or follow him on .

Related Posts:

Digital Marketing Days:  Old School vs. New School

What Does Engagement Really Mean?

Using Marketing Analytics to Define the Multichannel Marketing Mix

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