Multi-Channel Marketing

John Young

April 22, 2012

John Young

April 22, 2012

With postage, printing and other associated costs continually moving upward, everyone’s looking for cost-cutting marketing alternatives.

Permission-based email has the potential to reduce some advertising costs, and the Web has been proven to be a powerful business tool. Direct mail, the work horse of marketing, continues to move business forward. However, experience has demonstrated that a multi-channel marketing program which blends all three mediums tends to come out on top. Each has its own strengths and by using all three in tandem, your advertising campaigns can benefit.


The strengths of using email are numerous. Not only is it a timely way to personalize your information, it also can be easily tracked. Using this low per contact option, you have the ability to drive readers to a website and lead subscribers into taking immediate action.

Direct Mail

There’s something to be said for placing a physical mail piece in a prospect’s hands. Mail pieces can contain more information than an email. The mailing can include catalogs, discount coupons, scratch-off games, brochures, free samples, money and just about anything you want to provide them regarding your products, services or upcoming events. When the prospect or customer moves to a new address, typically their new mailing address can be obtained using a USPS Address Correction endorsement or the NCOA (National Change of Address) Service.

Mailing lists can be customized for specific demographics, perhaps matching that of your existing customer. If you wish to contact persons with a combined household income of $75,000+, who have young children, who just moved into a new home, and who have pets, it can easily be done. If you want to reach women over the age of 65, who subscribe to specific magazines and who live in certain zip codes, you can also do that. A mailing list can be created that is just right for you.

Internet Marketing

Internet Marketing, on the other hand, offers prospects and customers a sense of immediacy and freedom. They can pick and choose what they want to read and do. It provides users with a superhighway of information and connectivity. Visitors can search for answers at times that fit into their own schedule, even after your doors are locked and your staff has gone home.

Why Does It Have To Be Either/Or?

Do we have to set ourselves up in a three-way, winner-take-all, tug-of-war? Why not blend the strengths of all three marketing avenues into a single, coordinated multi-channel marketing enterprise? Take a look at the following fictional scenarios. Which do you believe has a better chance for success? Which approach offers more flexibility – both to you AND to your prospects and customers?

Scenario A:

  • Place your sale information on your website.
  • Wait for customers to find your website.

Scenario B:

  • Mail a traditional sale promotion to an existing customer list.
  • Wait for customers to come in.

Scenario C:

  • Email your subscribers, announcing next week’s in-store sale.
  • Wait for e-customers to come in.

 Scenario D:

  • Identify the demographics of your current customers (zip codes, incomes etc.)
  • Rent a mailing list of persons with similar demographics who live in your marketing area.
  • Merge/Purge the rented list against your current customer list.
  • Two weeks before the sale, send a traditional mailing about the sale to the rented list (and to your current customers for whom you have no email addresses), offering an “Additional 10% Off” coupon for everyone who signs up for email on the company’s web site.
  • On the email signup page and on the “successful signup” landing page, place a link to the webpage describing the upcoming sale.
  • Two days before the sale, email the promised discount coupon to all new email sign-ups.
  • Solicit additional email signups from in-store visitors and enter them in a special drawing. Hand out email signup cards in the store and/or use a dedicated in-store computer.
  • Allow customers to use their discount coupons either online or in the store.
  • Review email tracking (opens, click-throughs, etc.)
  • Plan the next multi-channel marketing promotion.

Which strategy do you believe holds the most promise for a successful sale?


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