As the Gartner for Marketing Leaders team heads down on another round of market research for our yearly Multichannel Campaign Management Magic Quadrant for April 2015, I want to underline the importance for vendors ( and for marketers themselves) not to limit multichannel marketing to pure channel centric thinking, an area where for some, despite some product name changes and theoretical examples of additional channel support, still look very much like functions for one-off, one-way channel push campaigns. This jeopardizes how customers want to engage and buy and doesn’t focus on the work that needs to be done for Multichannel Marketing. You can talk “all channels” or “any channel anytime”, but I don’t think it solves much.
Multichannel Marketers think multidimensional, this means not only do they need to enable multiple channels, but they need to be able to think:
Multi-purpose: Buyers are purpose-driven—you should be, too; Multichannel strategies start with clearly defined purposes, goals and audiences. If marketers do not clearly understand the purpose of each multichannel interaction, an idea of the expected outcomes, where the engagement might lead next, your audience won’t either.
Multi-value: Multichannel marketing needs multiple value producing exchanges between company and customer. What are their reasons for engaging with us and how can marketing accommodate? Why are we reaching out to them now? Will it sell more product, will it start a path to purchase? Is the value balanced or one-sided? One side might end up having nothing to show for their investment in the interaction. Multichannel marketing means being a multichannel orchestrator, consistently conducting a multi-value exchange, engaging audiences in value building, value producing, mutual interaction.
Multi-segmentation: Multichannel marketing means multiple segmentation techniques that group audiences based on multiple attributes along multiple dimensions. Traditional attributes focus on products; who has bought and who would be likely buyers. Newer groupings focus on profitability and techniques for moving segments into more valuable ones. Others focus on grouping personas, life cycles and lifestyles. Marketers should have an approach to many of them.
Multi-speed and multi-way: Multichannel marketers operate at two speeds, automating big and small campaigns and campaigns built from results of campaigns. They also maintain always-on interaction with continuous contextual engagement. They do this in multi-ways, based on past interaction and predicted future ones, both inbound and outbound, event-triggered and in real-time, just like conversations in a relationship.
Multi-data Multichannel marketers consume and create lots of data. New and old data, both explicit and implicit, both big and small, all play important roles from defining audiences to understanding context and the multiple channels where you’ll focus multiple interactions and campaigns. Transactional data, third-party data, anonymous customer/consumer data all contribute the right interaction at the right time in the right channel.
Multi-processes: Multichannel marketers think beyond marketing departments and think multi-processes to influence customer service process, support processes, sales processes and product strategies . Multichannel Marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Marketers must involve themselves in all these customer reaching processes and be able to infuse evolving customer processes into a long term multidimensional, multichannel, marketing strategy.