What is Multi-Channel?
Multi-channel marketing is the use of many different channels, such as direct mail, print, digital, and social media platforms, to spread one consistent, comprehensive, and effective marketing campaign. As a marketing or print service provider, it is important to promote the solutions that enhance the life of your brand as well as your printing services throughout a variety of channels.
If your business is still around as we’re about to head into 2017, chances are you have realized that multi-channel marketing is not the secret formula to success, but rather a necessary component to the continual transformation of your print-centric business. In fact, you’re probably reading this and thinking, well… duh! So the real question now has become, what is the secret to successfully establishing a printer’s role as a marketing service provider (MSP) in this rapidly changing industry?
The Success in Solutions
When thinking about marketing your business and the services you provide, remember that with the internet at every professional’s fingertips, finding a service they need is as easy as the click of a mouse or touch of a finger. That’s why your marketing message needs to reach prospects on a variety of channels while promoting what your services can do for each individual prospect. Knowing your target audience means knowing what they need, even if they do not. Make your marketing customer-centric. Try to stay away from promoting what your service is, and focus on what it does for your customers. Keep in mind that in order to sell solutions in a multi-channel market, developing a plan and strategy is paramount.
Planning for Multi-Channel
So we’ve established the need for marketing your solutions as well as your customers’ solutions on multiple channels. The roadblock now is managing the time and effort that this kind of inbound approach requires. A lot of MSPs that I work with or consult for are not struggling to wrap their heads around what must be done, but rather how to possibly accomplish such layered campaigns, without running their marketing into the ground.
The most important component, and I cannot stress this enough, is developing a multi-channel strategy that incorporates both marketing and sales. Have your teams work together to establish the bottom line of your multi-channel efforts. Define:
Who you want to reach; the target audience you want to stay in front of.
What you want to say; what makes your company the best choice? Why are you different from your competitors?
When will your multi-channel efforts be most effective?
Where will your multi-channel efforts be most effective?
Why are the tactics you have chosen the best path for success?
How can you establish an execution strategy to market not only your brand and solutions, but also your customers?
Once you have answered these questions, map out your marketing campaigns with visual charts and calendars. Keep in mind that multi-channel marketing is not a sprint, but rather a carefully executed relay race between sales and marketing, which requires orchestrated and practiced handoffs, that when done right will drive your prospects down the funnel.
Fortunately for MSPs struggling to handle the volume of multi-channel marketing and communications, several technological advances in customer communications management have emerged.
Objects in the Mirror
If you drive a car, and even if you don’t, chances are you know the classic warning, “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” These words, which we see daily, are a prevalent theme in the problems that printers and MSPs are presently facing. The classic predicament of knowing that something was coming, but not realizing it would approach so quickly, has left many businesses stuck in the dust of the industry leaders racing by.
My advice to you is to dedicate your time to developing a plan that will accomplish maintaining the standard of multi-channel marketing, which has pushed your top competitors to the head of the pack. Once you’ve mapped out your goals, tactics and execution strategy, stay tuned to my upcoming articles for insight and advice on the tools and best practices your business can implement to achieve positive recognition and grow your print business in this multi-channel era.