What is Multichannel Marketing?

Sheri Cyprus

Multichannel marketing uses more than one purchasing passageway to give customers access to products and services. These different marketing channels could include websites, retail stores, mail order catalogs, direct mail and e-mail. Multichannel marketing involves using two or more of these channels to provide increased benefits to both the company and its customers.

Pills are often rebranded for multichannel marketing.
Pills are often rebranded for multichannel marketing.

The main benefit of multichannel marketing for companies is often said to be the increased interaction with customers. Increased customer interaction increases opportunities for the promotion of products and services which increases potential profits. If a company can make sales through different channels such as through an e-commerce website as well as a brick and mortar store, the amount of sales potential is expanded.

Multichannel marketing could include having a physical and online store.
Multichannel marketing could include having a physical and online store.

Crosschanneling is an important consideration of multichannel marketing. This offers customers much appreciated conveniences such as being able to check the availability of an item on the company's website before driving down to the local store to pick it up. In order to make the most of crosschanneling within multichannel marketing, the customer base must be clearly understood in terms of what conveniences and information it expects.

The success of multichannel marketing often relies heavily on partner services. For example, a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals may have a repackaging and rebranding specialist to take their products from old or bulk packaging and repackage and relabel them. Many pharmaceutical repackagers in the United States use blister packaging as blister packed medicine became a huge American trend. The repackagers make sure both the packaging and the labeling are suitable for strong commercial distribution.

Retailers are another important part of multichannel marketing. For instance, a mail order catalog could contain a coupon that must be redeemed at the company's brick and mortar retail store. The coupon offer from the mail order channel drives traffic to the retail store channel. Once those customers are in the store, sales people would be prepared to present other great offers to keep increasing sales.

Another type of partner often involved in multichannel marketing approaches is a consultant. Consultants analyze what channels would be best for a certain company. They are experts on marketing channels and could include creative directors from advertising agencies, e-commerce sales strategists from e-tail websites and merchandise analysts from retail stores. Multichannel marketing consultants should understand consumer trends and how they affect the different buying channels such as store, website, mail, email and telephone.

Direct mail can be part of multichannel marketing.
Direct mail can be part of multichannel marketing.

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