Most marketers report using five channels, while research says that the best-performing campaigns employ seven or more channels. But before you add to your mix, you’ll position yourself for success if you and your teams understand how each piece can play to its strength.
While a campaign touchpoint can be encountered by shoppers in a variety of ways, most channels shine at certain stages of the customer journey – sometimes multiple places. Here’s a breakdown:
Where it’s strong: Awareness, Advocacy
Content marketing holds a unique position both at the beginning and end of the customer journey. It gives fans of the brand a reason to engage and deepen the emotional connection to the brand, while also gaining awareness by getting in front of new customers via SEO, word of mouth, and social sharing.
REI’s #OptOutside campaign that began by encouraging people to go outside rather than shop on Black Friday exemplifies this model. Customers that already loved the brand were engaged and energized by the message and subsequently shared the campaign across social media, driving awareness for the uninitiated.
Struggling to create a viral sensation? No worries, a practical approach built around how-tos, demos, and explainer videos builds loyalty and advocacy by providing meaningful, useful content to your core customers; and your content will get discovered by prospects via keyword search.
Where it’s strong: Awareness, Acquisition
The workhorse of digital marketing, pay-per-click is a great vehicle for bringing new searchers to your website. Because of its utilitarian design, it’s not a brand storyteller. And yet, it shouldn’t be overlooked in campaign planning, especially where there’s a new product introduction or promotion involved.
Ad extensions allow you to get additional messaging in front of searchers when your ad is triggered. For example, a keyword search for a microphone can trigger an ad that also shows your 20% package deals throughout your “Microphone Mania” campaign, giving you an edge over the competition for those active searchers.
For brand campaigns, sitelink extensions and ad extensions can both be used to present the key campaign message to searchers, helping them get a quick but meaningful snapshot of your core values right on the search engine results page.
Where it’s strong: Nurture, Repurchase
One of the best ways to use data to drive relevant messages is through customer lifecycle messaging using automated emails. A customer behavior – like email sign-up, purchase, or cart abandon – triggers a series that can speak to the customer right at that moment, meeting them exactly where they are.
When it comes to campaign strategy, it’s a key component to getting the new sale, brand campaign, or Big Idea in front of your customers and subscribers, and moving them through the journey with you, from campaign announcement to engagement with social events, Facebook Live videos, hashtag campaigns and eventually, purchase.
Where it’s strong: Engagement, Nurturing, Awareness
Versatility is social media’s biggest boon. It’s a “brand hug” for your most loyal customers, getting your carefully crafted campaign in front of your audience, who will engage and share it. And while we marketers agonize over and espouse community and relationships, social is the channel where it’s an easy two-way conversation. Catch their attention in a disruptive, helpful, or funny way, and your followers will share the campaign for you, increasing organic reach and driving awareness.
The low cost of entry for social advertising has given a boost to many startups, especially with a well-crafted campaign to catch attention in the news feed.
Where it’s strong: Consideration, Retention, Advocacy
Most channels in a consumer retail campaign function to drive traffic to the website. But as the pivotal decision point and hub of the campaign message, it can’t be left out.
For any campaign, it serves as the information hub and the point of transaction. It’s not just what you say with images and copy, it’s how you say it – how you weave a brand message into the user experience and give them a reason to feel great about buying from you, inviting them into a lifestyle, without getting in the way of what they are there to do.
Where it’s strong: Awareness, Consideration
We’ve all been there – you’ve visited a website and suddenly you’re being stalked everywhere. Once your campaign has driven them to the site, your retargeting campaign should remind them of the key message that drove them to your site in the first place. It’s all about top-of-mind awareness, expanding the moment of consideration from one interaction into several, and increasing your chances for a sale.
Catalog & Direct Mail
Where it’s strong: Acquisition, Retention
Marketers who rushed to abandon print in favor of digital may not have been seeing the big picture, as print and digital so clearly complement each other. Print is high cost, high touch, high impact, where digital is low(er) cost, low impact.
Print can touch a customer a handful of times per year or season at best, but it’s a powerful touch that drives action, where digital can follow a person everywhere, keeping top-of-mind awareness high.
People gushing over Amazon’s toy catalog commonly evoke the specter of the Sears catalog at Christmastime, and that speaks volumes about the impact that a tangible catalog can have, and the length of time it’s remembered.
And finally, while catalogs are a great brand vehicle and powerfully drive customers to repurchase, it earns a mention for acquisition as well due to the lifetime value of customers acquired through this channel. While it has a higher cost-of-entry than digital channels, new customers acquired through catalog mailings have a much higher AOV – sometimes by a multitude.
Using all these touchpoints together in a campaign has the potential to build relationships, drive sales, and reach new customers. A powerful direct marketing campaign is planned, and coordinated with all these considerations in mind. It’s not just well-designed and written, it’s optimized.