In the pursuit of my marketing degree at the University of Iowa (many years ago), I had many great professors and classes. However, my favorite class, and the only class I got an A+ in, was Advertising Theory. My professor always preached the need to reach your target market through multiple channels. Don’t just rely on radio. Or TV. Or newspapers. Can you can tell this was before the age of the internet?
People consume information differently. Use of multiple channels increases the likelihood your message will reach more people through their preferred channels.
The invention of many new digital media and message channels has made my professor’s multichannel marketing advice even more important today.
Some may call it “integrated marketing” or “360-degree marketing.” No matter the term you use, there are some basics that need to go into any multichannel campaign:
- Consistent visual identity. Certainly, an e-mail program has a different look and feel from a Twitter or Facebook page or direct mail package. Still, the use of a brand logo, creative template, standardized taglines or “about” descriptions should stay consistent.
- Message consistency. Ensure that what is showcased in your message and brand strategy is aligned throughout your communication channels. You don’t want active Twitter accounts saying one thing while your website or direct mail messaging is ignoring—or even challenging—that very message.
- Not all budgets are created equal. Every channel does not need (or deserve) the same financial or resource commitment. There may be seasonal or campaign needs when budgets can vary. Some media platforms are just more costly in materials and fees than others. Budgeting for results, not uniformity, is a key to managing multichannel marketing.
- Multichannel marketing can involve channels you may not have thought of. Meetings with board members, communicating with business partners, community events, engagement with employees and volunteers: These all are communication touchpoints that deserve the same message planning and consistency you apply to donors and prospects. They are all ambassadors for your nonprofit that can multiply your brand value in new and powerful ways through donor referrals, hiring of talent, new alliances or just valuable advice.
- Regularly evaluate the data from your various channels. If print newsletters are consistently generating 10x the donor touches or inquiries of digital email, or vice versa, it may be time to adjust. If a targeted email campaign is boosting landing page views or conversions much more so than Facebook, a Facebook strategy redo may be in order. Multichannel marketing doesn’t mean “set-it-and-forget-it” marketing. Channels are meant to be tested and evaluated.
If you’re interested in seeing how other nonprofits, like you, have used multichannel marketing for their outreach, click here.
There are many more things to learn and other thoughts to be explored on this topic. Just remember, when your communications channels are all in sync, 2 + 2 can indeed = 7. Or more!