October 23, 2008

Being Multichannel

I don't do this often --- here's a quote from Seth Godin:

If you have a presence on twitter, squidoo, blogs, facebook, myspace, linkedin and 20 other sites, the chances of finding critical mass at any of them is close to zero. But if you dominate, if you're the goto person, the king of your hill, magical things happen. One follower in each of twenty places is worthless. Twenty connected followers in one place is a tribe. It's the foundation for building something that matters.

This is the essence of being a multichannel marketer, isn't it? We're told that we have to be in mobile marketing, social media, e-mail marketing (best ROI, right?), pay-per-click, SEO, affiliate advertising, shopping comparison sites, portal advertising, catalog advertising, retail stores, radio advertising, television advertising, newspaper advertising, eBay, blah blah blah blah. Almost nobody has been able to demonstrate that actively being in all these channels increases sales and profit for the corporation at a rate that is greater than being outstanding in just one channel.

Don Libey says this in a different way on page 37 of the Expanded Second Edition of "Libey and Pickering on RFM And Beyond" (link to first edition on Amazon here):

"You never want to chase your market. It costs money to chase the market; it costs much less when the market chases you. That difference in cost is pure profit."

There's nothing wrong with having multiple channels, we need to have multiple channels. But when we chase channels as a solution, we lose.

Bob Lefsetz positions the challenge another way via the music industry.

"We’ve moved on to a new marketplace, where iPod penetration is gargantuan and the CD is antiquated, a worse fit for the times than network television shows. The goal is to get on someone’s iPod, how do you do that?"

Doesn't that sum up multichannel marketing in a nutshell? We chase channels. However, the goal is for us to have our brand appear in someone's browser, how do we do that?

How do we do that? Not by diving into mobile marketing because it is the next big thing, or e-mail marketing because it has the best ROI, but by understanding the needs of our customer, allowing our customer to "pull us in" however she wants, not by pushing fifty-four channels at her, or by pushing fifty-four versions of one channel at her.

When we view the challenge this way ... "
the goal is for us to have our brand appear in someone's browser, how do we do that?", a whole new world opens up for us.

I don't force you to visit my blog. 80 out of every 100 folks view the blog in an RSS reader, 40 out of 100 via Google Reader. I don't force you to consume the information the way I want it consumed. I'm blessed to know that, for some reason, this information appears in your browser.

Being Multichannel means that we create an environment that allows the customer to pull us into her life. Being Multichannel does not mean that we pummel her by pushing channels at her.

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