Brands must take the initiative to go where their audience is active and earn their interest. Expecting consumers to adapt to your preferred way of marketing or engage with content on a particular device is unrealistic. Marketers have to coordinate highly orchestrated touchpoints and various micro-campaigns to span multiple channels fluidly, in a way that the customer finds meaningful and trustworthy.
67% of marketing professionals feel that their multichannel marketing strategy is just somewhat successful at helping them achieve strategic objectives. Therefore, it’s important to ensure multichannel marketing efforts are consistent with, and play into, a unified strategy. If there’s no strategic benefit, there’s no point hopping on the latest TikTok trend (or advertising on the platform altogether) or spending funds collaborating with creators.
From a creative perspective, nothing should be ruled out. However, if you’re going to fully realize the benefits of a multichannel marketing strategy and move the needle in the right direction, specific to your brand and its goals, every creative decision must be tied to strategy.
Executing a unified strategy
Buying behavior is rarely linear or predictable. Leads interact with several different touchpoints before they make a decision. According to research by Upland BlueVenn, on average consumers are using more than 20 channels to interact with brands across online and physical touchpoints.
While 79% of marketers claim to have unified customer profiles and 39% say they deliver consistent, personalized messaging across three or more channels, just 35% of customers feel that brands understand their shopping needs and only 12% agree that brands provide them with a consistent experience.
Multichannel marketing has become the default for most brands. However, most marketers are struggling to craft a multichannel strategy that’s meeting the needs of their customers. A unified strategy can help you do the following:
- Reach a wider audience and increase brand recognition: This is especially important for startup companies who are looking to establish themselves and are still grasping how their unique value proposition (UVP) will play out in the market.
- Improved engagement and more accurate insights: In providing a seamless experience you can foster customer relationships through engaging at different touchpoints while gathering pertinent data and insights on who they are and what they need from you.
- Greater flexibility: You can adjust your marketing efforts based on the performance of each channel. This allows you to optimize your marketing efforts for maximum ROI.
While it is important to be agile and adaptable to new channels, platforms or trends, it becomes counterintuitive if you’re delivering inconsistent messaging across channels. This can confuse your audience, dilute your brand, and ultimately harm your reputation. Developing a solid creative strategy gives you the north star for your brand to follow across all channels. This creative strategy should illuminate your single minded proposition, the one core thing that you want audiences to think, feel or do.
Creating a channel agnostic strategy
Newness and popularity should not be the key factor when deciding where to spend energy. Instead, you should start by creating what is called a channel agnostic creative strategy. This means spending time with the problem you are trying to solve before jumping ahead to the channels that will help you execute it.
The first step is to take a deep dive into your audience, competition, and culture. Understanding the truths about these three areas will lead you to the hidden truth, an actionable insight that allows you to view your problem in a new way and open the doors to your strategy. The proliferation of data available today – combined with data analysis techniques such as predictive analytics and audience intelligence – provides us with greater insight than ever to help us identify that kernel of truth.
Harnessing the power of this data, we can understand the patterns and tensions that open up new strategic routes to solve the problem. From there you will be able to best identify your point of differentiation and develop creative assets that tell the core compelling reason that a consumer should buy your product or use your service. Here you have the basis for your strategy.
The research that you have undertaken in developing your creative strategy will in turn help you decide which channels you should be using to solve your problem. Your target audience is at the center of your channel selection process. Develop customer personas that include demographics, interests, behaviors, and preferences. Once mapped out you can locate market opportunities and analyze the channels you and your competition are using and measure their success. This can help you learn from successes and failures and make informed decisions about which channels to focus on.
Every decision you make throughout your campaign, including the channels you’re going to be most active on, should be made based on insights that form a short, sharp, and simple strategy.
Understanding the unique requirements of different social channels
Inevitably, social media will form a big part of your approach. So, you must understand how your target audience uses each social channel. Social listening is a great quantitative research method that can help inform the user journey and which social channels are the best touchpoints at each stage. Analyze the engagement rates, reach, and impressions of your posts on different platforms to determine what works best.
By using sentiment analysis, you can tune into audience behaviors, preferences, and demographics through moments and offer a feel for each social channel’s unique tone and style. It will also help you measure the type of content your audience is currently engaging with and how successful your competition is in grabbing their attention.
Incorporating emerging channels and technologies into your creative strategy
As important as consistency is agility. Incorporating emerging channels and technologies into your creative strategy is essential for staying ahead of the curve and reaching new audiences. To be agile is to be proactive – to take advantage of emerging opportunities, you need to move as soon as they arise.
Social media is fast-paced by nature and it’s easy to lose sight of your purpose in the race to get content out into the world. But if you have conflicting messages, your customers will feel confused and less likely to buy from you.
- Define your brand voice and generate guidelines: What do you want your brand to sound like? What tone and style do you want to use? Once you have defined your voice, create brand guidelines that outline how it should be used across different marketing channels. Your brand guidelines should include information on tone, style, vocabulary, and messaging.
- Train your team: Provide training and resources to help them understand how to use your brand voice consistently across different marketing channels.
- Monitor, adjust & automate where possible: If you notice inconsistencies, adjust your guidelines and provide additional training to your team. With marketing automation, you can create templates and workflows that ensure your brand voice is used consistently across all channels.
- Partner with experts: Partner with experts in emerging channels and technologies to help you stay up-to-date and take advantage of new opportunities. Hotwire Global specializes in developing marketing plans for existing and emerging channels by consulting our clients to recognize and close gaps. We developed a case study on our work with client Citrix on how we partnered to map a strategy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Need help? Hotwire Global is happy to work with you to establish your presence and activate lasting impact in the market. Contact us today!