I’ve already talked about the need for marketing to change in the changing climate that is the digital age – cross-channel marketing is one more aspect of that change in practice, with businesses making use of a variety of marketing channels at the same time for a more wide-ranging effect.
According to wordstream.com, the most common technological pairings for this kind of marketing are:
Computer / Mobile
TV / Mobile
Computer / TV
Radio / Mobile
Computer / Radio
Of course, these pairings don’t remain static – a business may use a computer/mobile pairing during normal business hours, and then switch to TV/mobile in the evening to be able to hold onto their target demographic as they move from work mode to relaxation mode.
Cross-channel marketing is increasingly becoming more and more digitalised, particularly with the proliferation of social networking site which allow for interaction between staff and customers in real-time, but there is still a place for offline marketing, as is shown by the continued use of order catalogues by retailers such as Victoria’s Secret (which sends 375 million catalogues out per year) and strategically placed advertising posters and billboards as used by Starbucks in order to advertise their new and seasonal products.
Burberry is perhaps the best example of digital marketing available to us at the moment – as well as the main website, Burberry has profiles on nearly every social networking platform that exists, from Facebook to Pinterest, as a means of expanding its customer base and service – the Twitter account for Burberry displays the handle for customer service and tells customers that they can contact them for twenty four hour service.
As well as offering more ways for customers to contact them, social networking platforms also offer various retailers such as Burberry, Victoria’s Secret and Starbucks the ability to show off their new products using the picture features in those platforms.
Victoria’s Secret is a lot like Burberry – it has a main website, various social networking platforms such as Facebook and Instagram with which to interact with customers and disseminate information about sales, new lines, etc. It also has a dedicated Youtube channel, where it stores all the advertising videos for its latest designs along with interviews with the models.
The use of the Youtube channel is where Victoria’s Secret differs in its marketing approach to Burberry – where Burberry mainly uses its channel to promote its clothing line and post videos of events that customers may be interested in and market themselves through those mediums, Victoria’s Secret seems to use the channel as a means to market a lifestyle as portrayed by the models – customers who buy and wear Victoria’s Secret may be seen as so sexy and beautiful that they too may become famous models!
Starbucks is potentially unique among the three businesses I am looking at in this post because it is the only one using dynamic offline marketing in its cross-channel marketing approach. This is perhaps mainly because Starbucks trades in perishable goods such as cakes and coffee, but also most likely because the items in question cost less and are available for a much shorter length of time.
As well as its normal range of coffees available all year round, Starbucks offers a range of seasonally-appropriate coffees as well, such as gingerbread lattes at Christmas time. To promote this, it normally uses all the social networking platforms it is currently involved in, as well as posters put up in and around their locations. The use of a mix of on- and offline marketing shows us another strength of cross-channel marketing – the marketing chosen by Starbucks has an immediacy to it that suits the nature of the product they are selling, which is something that other forms of marketing such as videos could not provide.
Cross-channel marketing is ultimately about supporting and promoting the company it represents, by whatever means used. No matter what form of technological pairing is used in the marketing campaign, it will always link back to the main product\website\retail company in some way – the social networking platforms of Starbucks, for one example, all offer links to the main website, and Facebook at least gives its users the opportunity to find the Starbucks location nearest to them via Google Maps.
It is important to remember that this type of marketing is particularly effective for companies who wish to make use of non-technological marketing methods, such as catalogues and posters. We’ve already seen this in the case of Starbucks use of promotional campaigns via posters. Their use of posters in and around the entrance to their locations is possibly the best method of promoting new drinks, since the customers themselves have done the majority of the work which is normally the province of marketing themselves: presumably they are entering the location because they want to buy coffee in some form or other – the posters advertising new drinks are thus in a prime location to persuade these customers to try the new drink on offer.
That is one way in which offline marketing can link back to the original product, in much the same way as technological marketing does. The other way involves using offline marketing such as a catalogue – rather than simply allowing customers to order clothes via the catalogue or the phone, with no reference to the primary website or retail location, the catalogue could\should involve deals and special sales which can only be accessed via either the retail location or the website, depending on which sales outlet is the primary site for the company.
While other styles of marketing are, as we have seen, highly effective in their own ways, cross-channel marketing is perhaps the only one which accords the same importance to offline marketing methods (posters and catalogues, to continue the examples of this post) as it does to the various online methods which exist. This could perhaps lead us to the conclusion that cross-channel marketing is the best method of marketing yet.