3emcAs time is a precious commodity for all of us, information is expected to be assimilated quickly and has to get to the point. EMC have taken this fact to heart and published their so-called 15-Minute Guide to Multichannel Marketing Communications that aims to support marketers in their struggle to create and deliver personalized marketing communications across multiple publishing channels.

Marketing communications come in a variety of forms - such as promotional offers, product descriptions, introductory letters, event invitations, case studies, or competitive comparisons – but all have in common to accomplish at least one of the following objectives:

  • Inform prospects about a product or service;
  • Encourage prospects to purchase a product or service;
  • Reinforce the brand personality of a product or service;
  • Build long-term brand recognition and customer loyalty.

To achieve these objectives, communications must be accurate, understandable, and persuasive - and in the case of multichannel marketing that’s even more difficult to realize due to the complexity of using different tools to spread a message. What remains the same, however, is the fact that a failure in any area can mean lost sales or tarnished relationships.

Maximize the opportunity of marketing in the digital age

The rise of the Web as a sales and marketing channel, as well as the “pull” versus “push” customer interaction model it supports, enables companies to engage prospects and customers in digital conversations that drive the sales process, develop meaningful, long-term relationships, and harvest a lot of rich marketing data.

An obvious and simple example of this approach is ad placement based on search engine optimization (SEO). Every web user is familiar with initiating a search on Google or Yahoo!, which returns a list of related websites plus sponsored links ranked by the relevance of purchased keywords. Users can explore these options by clicking on the sponsor’s link and visiting its website, where relationship-building through interactive marketing really begins—or ends—depending on the quality of the user experience.

Moreover, for savvy companies that learn to leverage social media, sites like Facebook and Twitter make the Web even more commercially attractive. Twitter feeds and Facebook fan pages move organizations even closer to the conversational give and take that makes one-to-one marketing possible.

But the opportunities these conversations generate—and the rich marketing data they provide—substantially raise the communications bar for companies that want to convert opportunity to revenue and brand loyalty. So the question now is how to use marketing data to produce personalized communications that move the needle effectively, since companies that master this skill will enjoy a tremendous competitive advantage over those that do not.

But coming back to multichannel marketing, the most effective way to communicate with prospects or customers, while ensuring accuracy, ease of comprehension, and persuasiveness, is through vehicles that are customized to the preferences of the recipient. Besides, customized content connects more effectively with an individual’s interests and is typically faster and easier to understand. That alone is persuasive – and customization also applies to various delivery channels: print, e-mail, web, or mobile device.

Supporting the sales cycle through multichannel marketing

Marketing channels are information and fulfillment delivery mechanisms. For some types of products and services, face-to-face engagements may be the only way to move through the sales cycle. Generally, the bigger the expenditure, the more in-person contact is necessary. For others, the entire sales cycle—from generating initial interest to closing the sale—can be accomplished entirely over the Web.

Many products and services, however, require a hybrid approach—multiple channels.

As such, the sales cycle is supported by face-to-face meetings, virtual meetings, print collateral, e-mail communications, customer information portals, and web-based ordering and tracking.

Primarily web-based marketing and sales efforts have distinct advantages, including low cost per sale and virtually unlimited scalability. For these reasons, many companies have augmented their traditional marketing and sales channels with a web-based, e-commerce channel. They’ve found that even when an entire sales cycle cannot be automated via the Web, a major portion often can be, increasing sales efficiency while reducing costs.

An e-commerce channel can use a wide range of prospect and customer touch points including personalized e-mails, web landing pages, social media networks, customer service wikis, streaming video, and 3D product demonstrations, and product review forums. All of these communication options can help an organization stay in tune with its customer base, which increases retention and repeat business.

To complement a multichannel marketing effort, collateral must be customized by prospect-selected criteria such as language, desired technical level, and product options. Such on-demand customization delivers relevant, high-impact, cost-effective materials that can be read offline, shared with others, and printed locally as needed.

As a result, multichannel marketing can give prospects and customers unprecedented control over the buying process while enabling businesses to:

• Boost response rates;

• Build relationships that become more profitable over time;

• Capture richer, more descriptive customer data.

But effective multichannel marketing demands a unified communications infrastructure, one that can deliver customized, channel-specific communications that leverage common data, design, and production resources. Serving each channel via separate technologies and content infrastructures is simply too costly.

Therefore, make sure that your unified marketing communications infrastructure - which must be able to generate, manage, and deliver outbound and inbound multichannel communications – provides the following five major capabilities:

  1. Integrated content and data management;
  2. Fit-for-purpose design tools;
  3. Scalable multichannel content generation;
  4. Secure content archiving;
  5. Enterprise integration.

For more detailed insights, please take a look at EMC’s 15-Minute Guide to Multichannel Marketing Communications. We think these 15 minutes are indeed well spent.

By MediaBUZZ