Marketing is an ever-evolving sphere of business development. It’s hard to say what marketing will be like in the future. But history does show that as times and consumer insights change, so do marketing practices. As technology has rapidly improved, the way companies and brands market have transformed. 

With the uncertainty and volatility involved in marketing, entrepreneurs and marketers must stay on their toes and watch the latest marketing and business trends. Many times, marketing might feel like a hit or miss event. Only 58% of marketers achieve their marketing goals. The other times, professionals in the field fall short. To experience more success, marketers must discover the newest ways to stay on top of the competition. 

Some look towards content marketing, growth hacking, online advertising, and even AI-driven marketing campaigns. But one growing trend is the on-going rivalry between multi-channel and cross-channel marketing strategies.

What is Multi-channel and Cross-channel Marketing?

At the onset, multi-channel marketing campaigns and a cross-channel marketing strategy might look the same. While they overlap in various points, both have their vital differences. What are the main similarities and differences that multi-channel marketing and cross-channel marketing might have?

Multi-channel marketing makes use of various channels to communicate multiple messages with customers. The approach takes on more of a “mass blast” approach where marketers continually send out marketing messages, campaigns, offers, and content to different audiences. Multi-channel marketing campaigns might use various channels, including push notifications, social media, websites, and even offline channels. 

Cross-channel marketing strategies, just like multi-channel marketing, use multiple channels. But the main difference between this approach is that it tracks user data and communicates that data between various channels to make a more seamless customer experience. Cross-channel marketing deploys a smarter marketing approach, using data such as age, gender, screen time, preferences, favourite TV shows, and a slew of other person-specific metrics to show smarter ads and content.

Examples of Multi-channel and Cross Channel Marketing

A multi-channel marketing strategy is one of today’s most easily employed strategies. Marketing teams and professionals often send out a variety of messages through various channels. For instance, one apparel company can use a multi-channel campaign to send out a season-specific collection like a summer line of clothing to their followers and subscribers. 

Taking on a multi-channel approach, the company might send out a string of email newsletters talking about the products, send out coupons through push notifications, post various photos on social media, and deploy in-store promotional materials and messages to let people know about their summer collection.

A cross-channel messaging campaign applied to that same company might take on a more calculated approach. For example, the company could set up a trigger every time someone clicks on its Facebook ad that automatically sends out a coupon to the customer via an app push notification. The team then puts up a QR code after someone purchases that provide them with an electronic guide containing all the things they need to know about fashion summer trends and puts in interstitial ads about their other offerings. After downloading, the company’s email marketing application then detects the download and then emails them another coupon code for the top products that fit their preferences, gender, and location. In general, a cross-channel marketing approach uses more analytics and data to create a string of messages based on how the customer reacts. One better parallelism with this approach would be much like the Netflix movie “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” which provides watchers with various endings based on what they would like to see the characters do.

The Benefits of Each Approach

Each approach provides a unique set of benefits and challenges. 

The benefits of multi-channel marketing include ease of set up and a greater awareness build-up. Using a multi-channel approach will allow a brand or company to target a wider audience in various ways. This can be a great objective if a company is looking to build greater awareness about a brand, campaign, offer, or advocacy.

A multi-channel marketing approach utilizes all communication channels to send a wide spectrum of messages, making it easier to get the word out. Also, given how simple the flow of information is, the ease of setting up a multi-channel campaign is much higher compared to the intricacy of creating and connecting a cross-channel approach.

The benefits of multi-channel marketing

The benefits of cross channel marketing, on the other hand, are a smarter and more directed approach to communication and the use of relevant data. Because brands who adopt a cross-channel approach use contextual data, messages sent via a cross-channel marketing approach will appear less “spammy” and more targeted. Using a cross-channel strategy often entails building a marketing funnel that better filters good leads from cold ones. Another good example would be how movie streaming apps might inform a person via email or push notification about the newest releases that match their interests based on their previous viewing history.

A tailored approach helps brands convert more of their traffic into customers, which also means a lower spend per conversion and a greater ROI per impression. Studies show that brands that take on a more data-driven approach to marketing gain five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend. Since data collection and interpretation is vital in a cross-channel marketing strategy, however, setting up the system for a campaign might take more time, personnel, and resources.

What Tools You Will Need for Cross-Channel Marketing

When developing cross-channel marketing campaigns, there will be a need for specific cross channel marketing tools. Some of the most commonly needed tools will include some of the following:

  • Email and SMS Sending Software. Email and SMS sending software will come in handy for marketers who create marketing funnels that data will trigger message blasts when clients meet a certain requirement. Some good examples include ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, and Mailchimp.
  • Customer Relationship Management Tool. A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool makes use of data gathering technology to store customer insights and data in a cloud that helps direct marketing decisions. Some of the most common include Copper and Hubspot.
  • Predictive Analysis Tool. Predictive analysis software creates predictions for future outcomes based on the user data of customers and potential leads. This helps marketers create smarter predictions based on past behaviour. 
  • Advertising Trackers (Pixel Tools). Pixel trackers like FB Pixel or TikTok Pixel help track customer click responses to help direct ads towards the right audiences.

Base Your Approach on Your Marketing Goals

In conclusion, there ultimately isn’t a better way to do marketing. Whether deploying a cross channel marketing strategy or a multi-channel one, what matters is the marketing goal. Multi-channel approaches help with early customer stages, such as building awareness and getting the word out. Cross-channel ones help marketers maximize customer lifetime value by retargeting ads towards existing customers.

The key is to know what you or your team looks to achieve with a given marketing campaign. Both multi-channel marketing campaigns and a cross-channel marketing strategy can provide great value to a company, but only if it’s clear what needs to happen. 

At the end of the day, both trends show us that marketing is moving towards an era of digital improvement. If any company wants to maximize their marketing budget, it’s important to start diving into digital marketing now and create strategies that help acquire customers and get leads on virtual platforms.