Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Channel and cross-channel marketing when everyone is connected everywhere all the time – 1

Posted in strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on April 30, 2012

The basic issues that arise when discussing marketing within and between channels are fairly simple and clear-cut, at least in principle and when viewed from the perspectives of a traditional geographically and demographically fixed business and its equally constrained marketplace. And I would note what that entails at least in brief outline by posing a short series of reality-check questions:

• What does your business seek to market?
• What are the expected market demographics of the people who would most likely be customers for the types of products and services that you offer?
• Your answer to this may be that you would most predictably find success in your business from reaching out to more than just one separate and distinct demographic group. Then this becomes an exercise in market partitioning and niche marketing for addressing the respective needs of the various target demographics that you have identified, and with marketing investment distributed in reaching out to them in proportion to the return on investment business-potential of these various target groups. When you are dealing with relatively fixed and more directly knowable communities and marketplace demographics, this becomes a more straightforward marketing analysis exercise.
• Looking to your particular catchment area, where do these people and statistically, the demographics groups they belong go to for information and entertainment? What channels and venues of news and information do they turn to?
• What do they look for there and for both content and expected format?
• How can you best organize and selectively craft your marketing message so as to comfortably fit into your would-be customer’s expectations and preferences for these various channels, and for each of them that you have identified as being significantly accessed and used by them? This can traditionally mean newspaper, television, radio, billboard and local throw-away advertising circulars and a wide range of other options. And with this I address channel marketing.
• Cross-channel marketing means coordinating your within-channel marketing campaigns to work together in reaching customers and potential customers who are likely to, for example, be both watching the television stations and programs that you advertise at, and reading the local newspaper, and who are also perhaps likely to look through the local advertising circular publications. And here, cross-channel marketing means developing and reinforcing a message that is placed in part in several places that your target audience is likely to see, and with each part developed for content and style so as to work in its respective channel’s context.

My goal in this series is to examine some of the issues that arise when you translate this to an online and ubiquitously connected context, with its more diffused and geographically distributed potential marketplace and customer base, and where you do not start out knowing the cultural context that you need to market to. And online and the increasingly ubiquitously interactive experience have both opened up new channels and types of channel, and taken an increasing part of the message that would have been traditionally owned by the business and handed it over to customers and potential customers – and to the community at large.

With this, the concepts of channel and cross-channel marketing take on whole new meaning. My goal in this series is to explore at least something as to what that is increasingly coming to mean and for businesses everywhere and for their customers. I am going to begin a more detailed discussion of this in my next series installment, there focusing on the impact of facing an open-ended catchment area as a source of actively available potential customers.

You can find this and related postings at Business Strategy and Operations – 2 (and also see Business Strategy and Operations.)

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