Customers use a variety of channels to research products and find answers to issues they're trying to resolve. Because customers use multiple channels in their interactions, it's important for marketers to use mixed media to try to reach target customers based on their channel behaviors and preferences. However, many marketers continue to over-emphasize certain channels in their efforts to engage specific customer segments (e.g. Twitter, mobile for Millenials) while often overlooking the business value of using traditional channels to reach different customer groups. I was reminded of this last summer when I read about a study from Scarborough Research which noted how 57 percent of Millenials read newspapers (print or online) during the course of a given week.I had a chance to explore the topic again last week in a discussion I had with Mark Battaglia, CEO of ThinkVine. ThinkVine recently published a study which examines the use of media among 15 companies across a set of vertical industries with average revenue of $1.1 billion to target customers. Although the study involves a relatively small sampling of companies, it does reveal some interesting results.
The ThinkVine analysis finds that companies are spending too much or too little on specific media 85 percent of the time. For instance, retailers rely too heavily on coupons, allocating 51 percent of their media budget on this category whereas an optimal mix would have retailers devoting a greater portion of their marketing spend (18 percent versus 13 percent) on search marketing with 43 percent allocated toward coupons.
As consumer buying behavior changes and customers spend more time on the Web, online search offers retailers stronger returns on their marketing spend, says Battaglia.
Understanding your customers - including the different channels they use and the reasons they use those channels - is critical for developing effective engagement strategies. But since customers will often use a specific channel to suit their needs at a particular moment and they aren't locked in to using a single channel all the time, it's also important to consider the business benefits of a well-designed omnichannel engagement plan.