Why a multi-channel marketing approach is still a must
It’s easy to understand why a not-enough-hours-in-the-day marketer would throw all of their efforts into a solely-digital marketing strategy, and write off offline – or ‘traditional’ channels as ‘not effective.’
After all, digital … it’s pretty much the world, isn’t it?
It’s instant access into the home, workplace, and palm of absolutely anyone and everyone who meets your demographic and behavioral targets.
It enables you to drill down to microscopic levels and allows you to reach your target audience at scale. It’s cheap. And it instantaneously generates reports telling you how wonderfully effective your campaign has been.
Of course, a digital marketing strategy makes complete sense, given our addiction to being connected continues to grow. According to one recent report, we spend 5.4 hours per day on computers or smartphones.
However grabbing that attention has become more challenging than ever.
The internet is an overwhelmingly busy place, with 3.7m Google search queries conducted, 4.3m YouTube videos watched and 38 million WhatsApp messages sent every minute.
Every. Single. Minute.
So that battle for a slice of our 5.4 hours of online time is pretty intense.
In addition to our time online, we sleep for 6.8 hours on average, leaving us with almost 12 hours per day when we are awake, but not connected to the internet.
We’re socializing. We’re commuting. We’re reading. We’re watching television.
Offline marketing is still in the majority
So, starting out with purely a digital focus, without even considering other marketing channels available could severely constrain your campaign.
It may surprise you to know that offline channels still account for the majority of advertising spend in the US, with 51 per cent of spend going on TV, radio, out of home and print.
And while that percentage is predicted to decrease over the coming years, brands are still seeing huge value in using both more traditional channels and digital mediums in a cohesive, holistic multi-channel strategy.
And with good reason.
Offline marketing gets you in front of new audiences
One of digital’s greatest assets – its ability to target specific audiences – is also one of its greatest failings. Because many brands have wide appeal.
You may play the percentages with digital – targeting customers and lookalike audiences based on your data and insights. But that’s only going to cover off a certain percentage of potential customers. One of the main reasons radio advertising has remained stable is because of its wide reach.
Billboards too are non-discriminatory in terms of targeting. Americans spend 293 hours per year in cars (never mind the people on public transport) so a strategically-placed billboard can mean you get in front of a completely new audience you’d never have considered targeting digitally.
Offline marketing retains visibility and builds trust
While you can put down your smartphone and shut down your laptop, offline ads aren’t quite so easy to ignore. An advert in a magazine or newspaper, a flyer through the door or a billboard ad all have great visibility, and can reinforce messages seen online.
This way of reaching customers can also be effective at cutting through the noise. Quietly.
The digital platforms that consumers engage with are so cluttered, that marketing messages can get lost. These more traditional channels, such as direct mail, can be more unobtrusive, and because it isn’t used as often as it once was, its novelty means it can attract more attention.
Consumers find printed media considerably more trustworthy than digital, which is likely to impact how they perceive the brands who advertise there, too.
Radio and podcast advertising can also sub-consciously reinforce brand messages without having a click to report.
Offline marketing enhances the impact of online marketing
The biggest benefit of a multi-channel approach, however, is the fact it increases the effectiveness of your campaigns.
According to Nielsen, average ad recall for a TV-only ad was 14.8 per cent. Average ad recall for a Facebook-only ad was 8.4 per cent. Combined, however, their impact is increased,, with the average recall for a campaign on TV and Facebook being 18.9 per cent.
It’s been shown print can have a similarly complementary impact too. A Newsworks survey found that adding print to a digital campaign boosted the effectiveness of campaigns by 36 per cent, while adding newspaper advertising to campaigns increased the effectiveness – in the case of an automotive brand by 71 per cent.
If you need any convincing about the merits of including more traditional advertising in your marketing approach, consider this: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google - five of the world’s biggest digital brands, collectively, they increased their annual TV ad spend by over $800m between 2011 and 2016.
Do your research
Of course, a spray-and-pray approach to any form of marketing is far from ideal.
In the absence of digital analytics to assess channel and campaign effectiveness, a qualitative approach is needed. Here, marketers need to build a more nuanced media plan. How are the different channels working together? Is there consistency of message? Will customers be confused? Are there any black spots?
It is vital to measure the effectiveness of your multi-channel approach. Allow your customers to provide feedback. Understand where they are seeing your ads, and what is inspiring them to make a purchase. What mediums are working best for you? Which ones can work harder?
Speak with your customers and potential customers about their day-to-day routines, and build up a picture of their habits – from TV viewing to driving, shopping to socializing.
Measuring the impact
As a marketer, you need to survey the entire playing field because the most effective marketing strategy for you could be more than just a straightforward digital approach. Depending on your objectives a mix of online and offline marketing could be far, far more effective.
Of course, offline marketing is a greater risk for you as an individual – you can’t as easily prove the outcomes and the impact that activity has had. This is where Interpris comes in
Find the opportunities to use offline channels to increase your brand presence in front of your customers and potential customers via in-depth interviews and research, identify what you want out of the campaign and how you will measure it.
It’s more complex and more work than going digital-only, sure.
But the rewards for most brands will be far, far greater.
Customer insight is the secret to multi-channel marketing that works. Easily make sense of what your customers are telling you with Interpris.