As this discussion will show, designing, implementing, and monitoring a creative multi-channel marketing strategy, with the emphasis on Marketing and PR, is an innovative and exciting way to market your business in the “new normal.” And, it will make sure that your brand stands out amongst its competition; thereby, driving traffic to your online presence and converting visitors into returning customers.
The statistical results of a survey quoted by Lauren Sullivan show that 83% of all SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) are experiencing a negative impact on their business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, about 60% of all business owners believe that the virus’s effect will last between three and six months longer.
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Additionally, the pandemic has changed how most companies are approaching their marketing strategies. Here is a list of some of the more pertinent metrics:
Finally, the same data shows how brands will approach marketing going forwards:
Brand marketers and business owners have also indicated that they will return to the full digital marketing strategies in three phases.
Lastly, all the businesses owners that participated in this survey noted that reputation management is going to become the most important aspect of any successful digital marketing campaign.
A changing world: Gaining perspective
Another positive that we can draw from this pandemic is that companies are starting to move all their marketing efforts online. There are several reasons for this:
Online communication methods
Increase in online shopping
Online, remote work: The new normal
The Fourth Industrial Revolution: A comprehension definition
Before we consider everything that you need to know about designing a creative multi-channel marketing strategy, let’s take a look at the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR or Industry 4.0) for the technological developments bear relevance to this topic.
Klaus Schwab, founder and chief executive officer of the World Economic Forum coined the phrase, The Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2016.
When describing this technological revolution, he stated that “we stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.”
He goes on to state that, in 4IR’s “scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”This transformation is inclusive of entire systems, including product mechanization and production, management processes, as well as governance issues.
Additionally, Schwab noted in 2016 that the “possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited… And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.”
If we have to be entirely honest, the thought of the latest technologies and their perceived abilities to take over the world is slightly frightening. But, now that the global pandemic, COVID-19, has arrived, these technological advances are enabling us to work from home and communicate with our friends and family.
Furthermore, the advanced data analytics are enabling epidemiologists and researchers to create the most accurate predictive models that they have been able to in the past. Thus, assisting governments and medical health professionals with the decisions that they need to make to keep the population safe.
Finally, these technologies are also assisting scientists in their ability to determine the various COVID-19 strains’ genomes, which will, in turn, help with the development of the vaccine.
This revolution is disrupting almost every industry in all countries across the globe. And, the speed at which these technological developments are taking place is unlike any other Industrial Revolution in history. When compared to the First, Second, and Third Industrial Revolutions, 4IR is “evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace.”
Lauren Irwin in her article titled, “5 Reasons You Need a Digital Strategy Now,” states that “digital is an essential channel in any business’s performance – now more than ever before – and within these unprecedented times we’re all facing at present, every business should consider their capabilities when it comes to a digital strategy.”
As described above, the global pandemic is decimating countries across the globe’s populations as well as their respective economies. Irwin notes in her article that big retailers like the UK High Street retailers assumed that they would have more time to move their brick-and-mortar operations online. Then COVID-19 struck, they were forced to close, and now it is almost too late to convert their business model into an eCommerce operation.
Additionally, it is worth noting that it is equally important not to cobble a digital marketing strategy together without first doing the necessary research. In other words, the question that must be asked and answered is: What does the consumer want from the brand?
Furthermore, it’s critical not to bolt a digital marketing component onto the side of an existing business model without forethought. It will not have the required impact and will result in a waste of time and loss of money.
Finally, by way of expanding this subsection, it’s vital to consider the following points:
Reactive, knee-jerk marketing does not work
Reactive digital marketing that does not have a strategy is aimless and a waste of time. In fact, responsive marketing runs the risk of creating a negative brand view. The type of digital marketing that is successful is one that utilizes the benefits of the Engagement Economy.
Succinctly stated, consumers are engaged with the brands they support. Consequently, brands need to communicate with their target audience to determine what they want from the brand.
The benefits of an online value proposition
The successful digital marketer designs the brand’s marketing strategy in such a manner that there is an online value proposition. In other words, the question that begs is what online resources such as a website will attract visitors and convert them into returning customers?
Directed, cohesive strategy
Because a digital marketing strategy is implemented across multiple channels as described in the next section, it is critical to make sure that the same marketing message and brand voice is carried across to the total spectrum of channels. Otherwise, the disjointed brand voice and messages will detract from its value.
Multi-channel marketing: A definition
The term, multi-channel marketing, can have different meanings depending on its context. In general, it is interpreted as the practice of using different channels, both direct and indirect, to communicate with clients.
Succinctly stated, according to sas.com, it is vital to implement a cohesive multi-channel marketing strategy is, because “multi-channel customers spend three to four times more than single-channel customers do.”
However, it can also mean the different sub-categories within a genre or channel. For example, if you are considering content marketing, there are several channels or sub-categories that you can utilize such as press releases, guest post blogging, mentions on top news blogs, and backlinking strategies.
The most important point to remember is that digital marketing is about engaging with the brand’s target audience. And because people are engaging and communicating with one another on a variety of online platforms, including social media, online marketplaces, websites, and crowdsourcing platforms, it is vital for the successful brand to communicate with consumers on as many of these channels as possible.
Multi-channel marketing in 2020
The quintessential nature of marketing in the 21st century, especially from the 2020s onwards, is that customers have more control over the purchasing process than brand marketers do. This is because of the rapidly advancing technological developments and the consequences of living through COVID-19 the pandemic.
Kayla Carmicheal of Hubspot.com notes that the technological advances described above equate to a change in the way products are marketed. Some of the 4IR technologies that will have a direct impact on digital market strategies include:
Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and data mining
Internet of Things and connected devices
Multi-channel marketing: Describing the case study
Implementing the components of a multi-channel PR marketing strategy
Now that we have a comprehensive understanding of what multi-channel marketing is, and we have described our case study, let’s look at how to get exposure from several different marketing channels.