May 20, 2008

ACCM 2008: Multichannel Marketing

I continue to sense a disconnect between the perception of multichannel marketing between conference attendees, and vendors.

An attendee told me that he likes testing different concepts in different advertising channels and different physical channels. Each channel offered unique opportunities for the customer.

A vendor told me that we must offer the same merchandise at the same price in all channels. Another vendor mentioned that all customers are multichannel customers.

A speaker told the audience that products should be available in all channels, then mentioned that various items are not advertised in catalog because you cannot afford to market all products.

A vendor told me that the vendor community must lead the attendees on this issue, because attendees struggle with the multi-dimensionality of this topic.

So many attendees shared unique quirks in their business model that require multichannel marketing strategies that are fundamentally different --- different by business, different across channels, different across price points.

I become more convinced that the attendees are actually ahead of the vendors on the topic of multichannel marketing. While vendors make theoretically accurate arguments about "silos", attendees deal with the realities of a world that doesn't easily accommodate sameness everywhere. Vendors may be accurate in wishing that brand better measure multichannel activities. Attendees appear much farther ahead in testing strategies without the constraint of "sameness".

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