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The efficacy of an integrated multi-channel digital marketing strategy

Published on April 26, 2019 by Shenuk Alles

In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, a single-channel approach cannot deliver an effective online presence for an organization. Organizations that only use their websites to reach their target audiences soon find that their reach is dwarfed by that of peers who use a diverse mix of media. Customers expect to access information about organizations and businesses through a medium they find convenient. Organizations, therefore, have to use all the tools at their disposal to reach out to audiences with varied information-consumption preferences.

The current approach

Over the past decade, the single-channel approach has been the bread and butter for most companies, especially those in the financial industry.

The asset management industry, for example, is an industry that is very content heavy. Compiling reports and analyses requires research teams to comb through all available data and make calculated decisions to achieve positive returns for clients. Publishing the results of analyses is one of the ways to showcase a firm’s ability to stay abreast of the latest trends and build confidence in its brand. In most cases, research doesn’t gain much traction online because all the available channels aren’t utilized to their fullest potential.

Most organizations focus on one or two platforms rather than using all the available platforms effectively, as it is perceived that the best multi-pronged strategies aren’t very easily implementable owing to limitations in skills and budget achieve positive returns for clients, along with scarcity of resources. The ever increasing resource requirements associated with this approach could also snowball and overburden existing resources.

Integrated digital-marketing campaigns

The multi-channel approach utilizes a wide variety of direct and indirect media to trigger the desired response or action from the target audience. It is regarded by experts 1 in the marketing industry as an important strategy that should be used in any marketing campaign.

According to a survey conducted in 2016, only 14% 2 of organizations that currently use multi-channel marketing campaigns use integrated analytics to monitor the success of their campaigns and, hence, fail to tap the true potential of integrated digital-marketing campaigns. The study goes on to state that companies across North America have realized the importance of this approach and have increased their marketing budgets to double down on key focus areas in integrated campaigns, such as optimization, mobile focus, analytics, and social marketing.

The belief that a multi-channel approach is resource intensive and complex to execute is far from the truth. Setting it up and managing it is simpler than one would imagine, provided your digital operations can strike a balance between seamlessly delivering the campaign and managing stakeholders, such as content authors, designers, and compliance.

The benefits

Market research conducted by Forbes in 2016 showed that even though consumers still prefer making purchases in physical stores, 82% 3 of them research products online and 36% proceed to the purchase stage based on their online experience. This further emphasizes the importance of expanding a brand’s online presence.

Using content that is customized for each of the platforms, such as web, e-mail, and social media, is vital in a multi-channel digital-marketing campaign, as each form of media has its unique method of disseminating information. Posting long text blocks on Instagram, for example, is counterproductive, as most users of the platform are unlikely to invest the requisite time to digest such information.

Analyzing the audience engagement during a social media campaign can help marketers ascertain which channels are most effective and which ones they can capitalize on. The approach taken on those channels that don’t deliver positive results needs to then be recalibrated on an ongoing basis until more beneficial results are achieved.

An ideal digital team would possess the technical knowledge to formulate a robust strategy while giving due consideration to the intricate requirements of each platform and the target audience subset. It would follow a data-driven approach, continuously recalibrating its multi-channel campaigns using analytics and qualitative feedback. A marketing tool such as a content calendar could also be used to implement the strategy.

Tools used to execute the strategy

A content calendar helps plan the posts to be published over a period of time across digital platforms. By deciding on the core concepts that need to be conveyed beforehand, one can seek help from content specialists to break down the essence of the campaign into crumbs of easily digestible material. The content calendar is also used to customize content for each platform, which therefore enables maximum visibility for the campaign while maintaining uniformity of the concept.

Another approach that widens a campaign’s reach is targeting audiences that use different types of devices and consume information in various formats. E-mail marketing, a cross-platform digital marketing tool, has been given increasing importance by financial institutions over the past few years. It not only caters to audiences that rely on desktops and personal computers to consume information but also to an ever-increasing demographic that relies heavily on mobile devices as its primary source of information.

By leveraging marketing automation tools and techniques such as AB testing, drip marketing, and responsive e-mail layouts, e-mail marketing has significantly driven user engagement levels higher.

Big data techniques, which help analyze trends, patterns, and online behavior pertaining to potential clients, is used by digital marketers to market products and services to multiple audience types. This insight into prospects’ sentiments and preferences helps deliver targeted advertising.

With a customer base of over 65 million professional users, LinkedIn is a popular social media platform utilized by many asset management firms to increase their market share and tap new market segments through the insights gained using big data analytics. Ads can be created through a few clicks using filters such as industry, job experience, job seniority, and job functions to target products and services at different asset management audience subsets.

Managing multiple social media platforms can be simplified by the use of social media management tools such as CoSchedule, Hootsuite, and eClincher. These tools provide the required interfaces to post content across a wide variety of social media, schedule posts for a future date, and manage interactions with the brand’s followers. They also provide the functionality to filter social media conversations using hashtags and keywords across multiple locations to understand what people are saying about your brand, the industry, and competitors. The functionality of archiving, recording, and monitoring all the data that is posted on social media, which is required by regulatory bodies such as FINRA, is an especially useful feature for asset managers.

Additionally, videos, infographics, podcasts, and other interactive forms of content are increasingly used, making information easier and faster to digest.

The end result

The production of such material adds to the effort for companies that follow an integrated multi-channel oriented digital-marketing philosophy. Collaborating seamlessly with people across internal departments, such as marketing, legal, and content writers, and external parties – such as graphic designers, video editors, and other third-party agencies – also adds to the overall effort.

An impactful workaround is to partner with a skilled digital team that is well versed with the latest trends and technologies to work towards achieving a common goal. Learn more about MA Knowledge Services’ digital marketing services.

Sources:

1. https://blogs.adobe.com/digitaleurope/digital-marketing/technology-driven-multichannel-reality/

2. https://offers.adobe.com/content/dam/offer-manager/en/na/marketing/Marketing%20Cloud%20PDFs/251626_amc_adobe_2016_digma_survey_results_R6.pdf

3. https://images.forbes.com/forbesinsights/StudyPDFs/Synchrony-A_Split_Screen-Report.pdf

4. https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2013/10/16/turn-digital-audience-report-multichannel-is-the-marketing-multiplier-cross-channel-advertising-triples-roi-for-brands/

http://cjgdigitalmarketing.com/the-power-of-multi-channel-digital-marketing-campaign-infographic/


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About the Author

Senior Associate

Shenuk is part of Fund Marketing Services (FMS) at Acuity Knowledge Partners, where he focuses on the implementation of various digital marketing strategies for clients. He has over 12 years of experience in digital marketing and publishing, content management, business analysis, and client services. Additionally, he has experience in the application and execution of W3C standards, web design and applications, and web accessibility guidelines. Prior to joining Acuity Knowledge Partners, he was Web Production Officer at a leading international bank. Shenuk holds a Bachelor of Science (Business Information Systems and Management) and a Certificate in Telecommunication.

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