Why You Should Take A Multi Channel Approach To Your Marketing

For your business to be successful in today’s market, you have to be different to the great mass of your competitors.

  • Different in what you offer
  • Different in how you position yourself
  • Different in your thinking
  • Different in the way you market your business

Most businesses operate within a straight jacket. They believe they need to market themselves in the same way that everyone else in their profession markets themselves. So all the plumbers advertise in the yellow pages, all the hairdressers advertise in the local paper, all the double glazing companies use direct marketing etc.

Increase the Ways You Market Your Business

If you are similar to most businesses, you probably use just one or two primary ways to market and grow your business. Perhaps it’s advertising. Perhaps it’s referrals, or direct mail. The fact is that using only one or two marketing approaches is seriously limiting the amount of business you generate.

What would happen if over the next few months you doubled that to say four primary ways of marketing? Then, over the next few months you were to double it again, so that you were using up to 8 different marketing channels?

I’ll tell you what would happen. You’ll see remarkable growth in your business. You could potentially grow by 25% or perhaps even more.

Those business owners who decide to make marketing their top priority are the ones who dramatically outperform their competitors.

Your marketing channels don’t need to be complicated or even expensive. There are lots of ways that you can get your messages in front of prospective customers simply and cheaply.

Have a look at this list of ten marketing channels. If you’re serious about growing your business, pick at least two that you’re either not doing and make a commitment to add them to your marketing mix in the coming months.

Direct Mail

Internet Marketing

Email Marketing

Advertising

Telephone Marketing

Direct Sales

Strategic Alliances

Up-selling existing customers/clients

Referral Marketing

PR

Why Should You Use A Multi Channel Approach?

There are a number of reasons:

  1. Different people like to receive their information in different ways. Some might like to get emails, others to receive letters while someone else might like to read information from a newspaper.
  2. The thing is you don’t know who likes what.
  3. If you’re only using one channel and it stops working for you, it could leave you with no route for generating new business, which could have disastrous consequences for you.
  4. The different channels should work synergistically together so each channel backs up and reinforces the others, so the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.

So take a look at your marketing and the channels you use currently and then identify what other routes you could be using. The last piece of the jigsaw will then be to commit to action.

Are You an Internet Marketing Genius?

Not many people are, so it shouldn’t be an embarrassment saying that you are not.

Internet marketing can be hard and even confusing. At least, it seems to be for the novice who just wants to get as many people as possible to see their website.

So what about internet marketing do most people find difficult?

Understanding how it has changed in the last decade. Traditional marketing used to be a relatively simple process. Maybe some mailers to people around town, a small space in the local Yellow pages, maybe even a spot on local radio. All of that has changed with the internet boom. Now you can market globally… if you understand how. Sure, it can make your business visible to a much larger audience, but how?

Making the best to use your time. Most small business people wear multiple hats. As a comparison, internet marketing is the cheap baseball cap compared to the expensive fedora of trying to manage the business. Internet marketing seems to take up way too much time for the tangible/measurable benefits it brings.

Spending the money. Marketing is just one of many costs, but because modern internet marketing is completed on so many fronts, it is difficult to know where the money is going. Keeping track of most expenses is easy because you have a direct relationship. But, marketing costs seem so ethereal.

Determining what is effective. In traditional marketing, you can do studies to determine exactly (or at least close to exactly) how effective your marketing dollars were. There was more of a direct link between marketing and sales. Now it is seems like it is very difficult to tell.
What is the answer to this dilemma? You know you have to market in order to be seen by as many people as possible.

So to get the most out of your marketing dollar, you can take one of two actions. Let’s look at them.

#1. Learn How to do Internet Marketing Yourself (effectively)

Computers are as necessary to business these days as buggy whips were at one time. Of course, the buggy whip manufacturers either adapted or they went the way of large wooden sailing ships. It is possible to find some of each in museums these days, but they aren’t in use anymore.

If you are hoping that the same happens to computers and the internet, you are probably also betting your business on a coin at the wishing well. Neither are a good bet.

So, computers are here to stay and you need to learn how to market using one. You know your business won’t grow itself, but learning a new task when your time is already precious is not efficient. But, internet marketing is necessary.

You could take one of the online courses, spend time just reading as much information as possible, or you could take the second alternative (at this point I am going to say that it is the better of the two).

#2. Outsource Your Internet Marketing

You have just reached a milestone and you want to show your employees how much you appreciate them. A party sounds like a good idea, something that they will remember for a long time. Something that will motivate them when they are doing their jobs tomorrow. What do you do?

Well, if you’re smart, you let an expert take over. You know what you’re good at and it isn’t planning parties (unless you’re an event planner or caterer, then think of a different example). You call the local Chucky Cheese (or other favorite venue) and let them do the planning.

Looking at this example, why would you then believe that you can be an effective internet marketer when it’s not your specialty?

Some would have you believe that internet marketing is as simple as putting up a Facebook page, sending out a few Tweets and writing something in your websites blog every two or three weeks. If that was true, why aren’t the orders flowing in?

Effective internet marketing is complex. You need to understand how to reach people using modern technologies and you need to understand the possible benefits of many different resources.

Why would you try to tackle such a complex system without some type of help? It would be insane.

Outsourcing works for companies in need of a service that is better done by someone else. For example, many small businesses turn to someone else for such services as human resources, payroll, web design and, yes, internet marketing. Because these are all specialized services, small business owners understand that they actually save money while outsourcing some aspects of their business.

Time is just too valuable!

You can find a company that specializes in internet marketing which could include handling your social media marketing, promoting your blog, etc. These companies have years of experience, keep up with changes that are always occurring in internet marketing and use proven marketing strategies to help their clients succeed.

In addition, just think of that extra time you would have on your hands if you didn’t have to do these tasks yourself and could concentrate on other important areas in your small business. Yes, it costs money to hire someone to handle your internet marketing, but remember… Time = Money.

Outsourcing may seem like something that large businesses can afford to do, but they have the money to have in-house departments. It pays for a small business to think creatively when they cannot afford to provide internet marketing services for themselves.

The original question was “Are you an internet marketing genius?” If not, then outsourcing your internet marketing chores may be the best way to go!

800 Number Management For Direct Response Marketing (AKA Toll Free Number Management)

800 Number Management has numerous related titles such as TFN Management, Dialed Name Identification Service Management (D.N.I.S.) and even Toll Free Number Management. For the sake of simplicity, and sanity, this article will use the term 800 Number Management, despite the numerous different references to the actual meaning behind the term.

When it comes to 800 Numbers the primary reason for having one is to sell a product or service or to make it convenient for an existing customer to receive service of a product or service. Hopefully, their purchase originated from you and your company. If you provide exceptional service to your existing customers, one method is to use an 800 Number to provide support services, with a bit of luck more additional products and/or services will be purchased.

The bottom line purpose for having 800 Numbers is to sell more products or services and to maximize the marketing results. However there is always an issue with having a bank of 800 Numbers or running multiple call centers and that problem is the management.

A company accumulates 800 Numbers because the C.M.O. wants to link the company’s marketing campaigns for every product, for every creative, for every offer, etc., to a unique 800 Number. So every variation requires a different and unique 800 Number. Then the C.M.O. wants to see which combination of product, creative, offer, and campaign is driving the most sales. This is called multi-channel marketing. So tracking marketing results via these linkages from marketing across multiple call centers and 800 Numbers to a sale quickly becomes a mind-numbing challenge.

No matter how you look at the problem, it requires smart executives to think more, spend more time and invest more money to get it right! Not to mention productive collaboration between the C.I.O., C.F.O., and C.M.O. Unfortunately, even the largest multi-national and national direct response companies don’t have this process down right.

A few marketing work-flow issues that must first be thought through are:

– Have standards been established for data collection and is there a mechanism to find, isolate and correct data issues as they arise?

– Are the people working in marketing, the call centers and the web group in possession of the commensurate technical knowledge? Do they have the insightful diligence to ask for the right information; in the right format; from their vendors?

– Is there a central repository, unique to marketing, for all historical information and data; from all vendors; across all marketing initiatives?

– Have we established a reporting infrastructure that can link calls (response), orders (sales) and other outcomes (disposition codes) to the specific marketing campaign that drove them?

I have talked to a lot of companies who use individual vanity 800 Numbers for each of their campaigns. The top two problems every company and ad agency have are:

1) They have a manual process of assigning, segregating and linking their 800 Number to an individual campaigns, offers and creative. Why, you maybe wondering? All but a handful of companies have a manual process for aggregating and linking. These manual processes open the door to huge probabilities for data errors.

2) A C.M.O. is forced or inadvertently funnels all their campaigns to one 800 Number, following a branding strategy, thus making it impossible to identify which campaign, offer or creative is the one real driving force behind the response and the sales revenue generation. This is called campaign overlapping and it is not pretty. One company is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in attribution modeling to statisticians in India, when the problem can easily be solved for as little as $500/month.

Summary of the Solution:

The ultimate goal of an 800 Number Management system is to be able to effectively use the 800 Numbers and their associated Dialed Name Identification Service as a mechanism to quickly, easily and cogently link or tie marketing activity directly to sales. Creating such a relationship is critical to measuring return on marketing investment. Having a direct, systematic, and automated link between everything marketing produces and touches with all response channels, such as: retail outlets, telesales and the web-group eliminates every hard-metric a marketing department has. Having an automated marketing work-flow process in place also provides an opportunity to achieve maximum marketing efficiency! Notice I said “opportunity,” the overwhelming majority of companies can’t even fantasize about such a system, let alone imagine implementing one.

The first step, and it is a solid one, would be to implement an 800 Number Management system, most companies don’t have a mechanism that seamlessly manages 800 Numbers, and associated Dialed Name Identification Service. The system must also be able to communicate and track every change, modification (and who initiated such edits,) and this information must be captured accurately and consistently. It must also be able to prompt action such as disseminating request, allocation and usage information. All of the aforementioned functionality is critically important to the success of any direct response marketing organization.

Additional bolt-on modules or having the flexibility to expand functionality in order to accommodate growth is also critical, such growth oriented functionality would be: forecasting, bucketing tracking tags by product, campaign, marketing group, agency, etc.; assignment of appropriate skill sets to specific call center personnel, and staff level balancing. The more sophisticated organizations will want to measure call center productivity over time periods (e.g. week over week) as well as marketing campaign performance at a granular level.

The Benefits of an 800 Number Management system for Telesales:

1) A centralized location to easily manage and track Dialed Name Identification Service across vendors, programs, skill sets and campaigns.

2) An apples to apples comparison of vendors that field calls for the same 800 Numbers and the associated marketing campaign.

3) Ability to bucket 800 Numbers to be used by the marketing organization to ensure seamless assignment and use of 800 Numbers across campaigns.

4) More accurate and timely forecasts based on marketing activities.

5) The ability to split out call volume by day when an unexpected Dialed Name Identification Service receives calls from multiple campaigns.

6) A simple to use interface that allows modifications to historic data, including splits of existing data across Dialed Name Identification Service, the ability to add new information, and deletion of data that may result from overflow that occurs, for example: when a trunk fails at a call center the overflow calls need to be reallocated to in order to provide accurate reporting.

The Benefits of an 800 Number Management system for Marketers:

1) 800 Number / Dialed Name Identification Service Management is one viable option for addressing direct response marketing professionals needs, however only a hand full of companies understand the real needs of marketing.

2) A centralized location to track and assign 800 Numbers to Dialed Name Identification Servic across programs and campaigns.

3) Elimination of unwanted re-use of 800 Numbers across multiple campaigns simultaneously.

4) Historical tracking of 800 Numbers as well as a mechanism to plan future use and assignment of 800 Numbers.

5) Link Campaign results to the campaigns that drove them (Direct Mail, Direct Response – Promo TV, Radio, Circulars.)

6) Systematically manage the assignment of 800 Numbers to campaigns based on business rules of your choosing.