Part Three: Multi-Channel, Cross-Channel, Omni-Channel: The Best Ways To Build Relationships With Your Target Market

This is the third blogpost in our five-part series discussing the most important trends in public relations and marketing.

If your company needs an effective marketing strategy – and in Northern Virginia’s ultra-competitive business environment, you do – then you absolutely must be multi-channel about it.

This year we are talking more and more with our small business and corporate clients about multi-channel marketing (MCM), also known as cross-channel or omni-channel marketing.

Given the challenges modern companies face, the future growth of your business depends upon your ability to expand the reach of your target market by any means (channels) available. Whether your aim is Loudoun County, the Washington, D.C. region, or National targets, multi-channel marketing (MCM) is the best way to build high-touch, top-of-mind relationships with prospective customers and broadcast to them your most effective message.

But the greatest PR outreach and the most creative marketing efforts are utterly worthless if you can’t deliver that message to your customers through the mediums (channels) they’re looking at – and not just one channel, but multiple.

First let’s define what we mean by “channel.” Channels, in a marketing context, refers to a two-way communication conduit between you (the business) and them (the customers). A channel is any way to convey your offer to your targeted market AND THEN allow the customer to do business with you (make a purchase, make an appointment, make a phone call, make a visit, etc.).

For a for-profit company, examples of marketing channels include your:

  • Storefronts and retail locations
  • Outdoor signs (e.g., billboards)
  • Print advertisements
  • Direct mailers
  • Catalogs
  • Websites
  • Blog Posts
  • Email blasts
  • Newsletters
  • SMS text messages
  • Mobile apps
  • Facebook posts
  • Instagram posts
  • Twitter posts
  • LinkedIn posts and articles
  • YouTube videos
  • TV and radio ads
  • Press releases
  • Podcasts
  • Product packaging
  • Promotions and contests
  • Public-facing events
  • Pop-up stores
  • Employee interactions

Notice the mix of off-line and on-line channels. Your company’s website and Instagram feed are channels – and so is a visit or a phone call to your store or office. From the standpoint of multi-channel marketing and public relations, on-line and off-line are all part of the same mix.

To be multi-channel does not require your company to maintain a presence on every single one (though it wouldn’t be a bad idea!). To be multi-channel means, essentially:

  1. Your brand uses a variety of different platforms to deliver a message to your target audience.
  2. Your message – your brand – is communicated consistently across the channels – same tagline, same color scheme, same offerings, and – most importantly – same call-to-action. Customers receive the same services, information, and pricing regardless of how they choose to interact with your company.

And that’s the point. Your company needs to be multi-channel in its marketing approach precisely because today’s consumers make purchasing decisions in a myriad of different ways. To reach them and maximize your sales, you must be able to communicate your message to them through their preferred channel. Give your customers the power to buy from you on their terms…as long as they buy from you.

In 2019, it’s necessary to be multi-channel in your marketing strategy. That requires unflagging diligence about consistency of your brand’s message, and it requires a PR/marketing firm with the technological and public relations knowledge to implement it.

About Loudoun Clear Marketing: LCM was founded in Leesburg, Virginia, by Sharon L. Wright, who brings more than 30 years of local, national and international experience in the fields of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations. She has established a team of high-performing professionals to serve the PR outreach and strategic marketing needs of clients throughout Loudoun, DC and nationally, bringing customization, community connections and technological know-how to every project.

LCM is heavily involved with a variety of non-profit organizations serving Loudoun, and works closely with for-profit companies to enhance their brand within the NoVA region. More about Loudoun Clear Marketing is at Turn It Up!