Navigating Multi-Channel Engagement

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Mark Donnigan

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August 2, 2023

Multichannel approaches have become more prevalent as businesses adapt to digital technologies and various communication channels. Marketers actively use these strategies to engage with their target audience and provide a seamless experience across multiple touchpoints.

Significant events like the rise of smartphones and high-speed internet have driven this transformation. These advancements have connected people constantly and increased the demand for businesses to reach them through different channels.

The adoption of multichannel strategies has rapidly increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With lockdowns and social distancing measures, businesses have shifted their operations online and relied heavily on digital channels. This has made virtual events, remote collaboration, and e-commerce more important, emphasizing the need for multichannel approaches.

Different Multichannel Approach Implementation Areas

  • Email Marketing: Sending targeted emails allows businesses to deliver personalized messages and nurture leads. They tailor the content based on the recipient’s preferences and behaviors, leading to increased engagement and stronger relationships.
  • Engagement in Social Media: Building a strong presence on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and industry-specific forums enables companies to share informative content, participate in discussions, and raise awareness among their target audience.
  • Content Distribution: Creating valuable content such as blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, and videos and distributing them across various channels like websites, social media, emails, and industry publications helps businesses expand their audience reach and position themselves as industry thought leaders.
  • Events and Webinars: Hosting virtual or in-person events, webinars, and conferences allows companies to connect with their target audience. They promote these events through email campaigns, social media, and targeted advertisements to drive attendance and engage participants.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: Centralizing customer data, tracking interactions, and managing communication across channels using CRM systems ensure consistent messaging and seamless support. This includes features like automated email responses and maintaining communication history.
  • Digital Advertising: Leveraging platforms like Google Ads and LinkedIn Ads allows businesses to target specific industries, job titles, and company sizes. By optimizing ad campaigns for different channels, they deliver personalized messages that grab the attention of their target audience and drive desired actions.

In the world of B2B marketing, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is becoming known as an effective strategy for engaging high-value target accounts. It is important to clarify that ABM is not solely an advertising tactic. It requires a change in perspective and approach that goes beyond surface-level tactics. Simply throwing ads into the market-verse will not result in instant pipeline and deal closures. 

ABM uses a strategic approach that focuses on building strong relationships with target accounts via digital marketing and personalized techniques. It is about targeting specific accounts and creating experiences that resonate with your buying committee. This approach requires a deep understanding of the target accounts’ needs and preferences, which can only be achieved through careful planning and execution.

While ABM can produce impressive results, it is not a quick fix. It takes time to build strong relationships and see the desired outcomes. Therefore, defining the true essence of ABM in connecting with target accounts using a multichannel approach should be a priority. This approach involves using various channels such as email, social media, and content marketing to engage with target accounts at different stages of their buying journey.

Understanding the Role of The Multichannel Approach in ABM

Gone are the days when a 30-second TV commercial or a flood of emails could capture and maintain your audience’s attention. Attention is limited today, and you must be present on multiple channels to be seen. In response, ABM doesn’t stop at a single advertising tactic; it focuses on a comprehensive strategy that resonates with target accounts. 

Each channel has pros and cons, but the results are impressive when combined into a cohesive program. Instead of relying on a single channel, combining channels increases the likelihood of success. Prospectors should avoid relying solely on one technique, as experts Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin advise in “From Impossible To Inevitable,” and instead become proficient in two to four complementary techniques.

While numerous ways exist to connect with target contacts, personally, via email, and by phone, social media is a primary channel in outbound ABM. However, the multichannel strategy supports a variety of channels and formats, including text messages, Slack, one-on-one video, direct mail, SlideShare, blog comments, AngelList, and others. The key is to use the most appealing channels for your target audience and align them with their preferences.

Identifying High-Impact Touchpoints for Target Accounts

What are touchpoints?

Touchpoints refer to the various interactions and points of contact between a startup and its customers. These interactions can occur through different channels and mediums, such as phone calls, emails, website visits, social media interactions, and in-person meetings. Touchpoints arise at various stages of the customer journey, from the initial discovery of the startup to post-purchase experiences.

Let’s consider a scenario where a tech startup offers a software solution for small businesses to streamline their accounting processes. The startup focuses on effectively managing the following touchpoints to attract and retain customers: 

    1. Website Touchpoints: When potential customers visit the startup’s website, they are greeted with a straightforward and user-friendly interface. The website showcases the software’s features, benefits, and pricing. The company will use informative content, such as blog articles and video tutorials, to educate visitors and address common pain points. Providing a seamless website experience, the company creates a positive touchpoint that encourages further exploration and engagement.
    2. Sales and Onboarding Touchpoints: When a customer expresses interest in the product, the sales team engages in personalized phone calls or video conferences. They actively listen to the customer’s needs, answer questions, and provide relevant information. During the onboarding process, the startup ensures a smooth and efficient setup, offering personalized training sessions and ongoing support. These touchpoints help build a relationship of trust and confidence in the startup’s solution.
    3. Customer Support Touchpoints: Customers can connect through phone, email, or the website’s live chat feature. The support team promptly responds to queries, resolves issues, and guides to ensure customers have a positive experience. These touchpoints demonstrate the startup’s commitment to customer satisfaction and strengthen the customer relationship.
    4. Social Media Touchpoints: The startup consistently interacts with its target audience using social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, and relevant industry forums. They share informative content, respond to comments and messages, and participate in discussions. The startup creates touchpoints that foster brand awareness, thought leadership, and community engagement by building an online presence and actively interacting with potential and existing customers.
    5. Customer Feedback Touchpoints: The startup regularly seeks customer feedback through surveys, emails, or in-app prompts. They ask for suggestions, improvements, and testimonials. By actively listening to customer feedback, the startup creates touchpoints that show its dedication to continuously improving its product and providing a customer-centric experience.

Why are touchpoints important? 

In a highly competitive market, memorable touchpoints help stand out and make an excellent first impression. These interactions with your company, combined with a multichannel approach, will raise the possibility of customers returning for more.

How to Identify High-Impact Touchpoints

There are a few things you can do to identify high-impact touchpoints for your target accounts (I like to think of them as an audience):

    1. Understand your target audience. What necessities and challenges do they face? Which platforms do they use to gather information? Understanding your target audience and their motivations will allow you to pinpoint effective touchpoints that align with their behavior.
    2. Track your customer journey. What are the different stages your customers go through before they become paying customers? When you map the customer buying journey, you can pinpoint the touchpoints most likely to sway their decision-making process.
    3. Experiment and measure. Once you’ve identified potential touchpoints, it’s important to experiment and measure their impact. This will help you determine which touchpoints are most effective in driving results.

Examples of High-Impact Touchpoints 

Here are timely examples of high-impact touchpoints that elevate your multichannel strategy and captivate your target accounts.

  • Personalized email campaigns: Sending tailored emails that address customers’ needs and demonstrate attention to detail.
  • Social media engagement: Consistently interacting with customers on social media platforms demonstrates a sincere interest in their views and responses.
  • Content marketing: Providing valuable and informative content that positions your company as an industry expert and builds customers’ trust.
  • Product Feedback Surveys: You can use platforms like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to create and distribute product feedback surveys to your target accounts. This can be an excellent way to assess and gather information and critical behavioral data.
  • Customer Loyalty Programs: Offering personalized rewards, exclusive discounts, and VIP perks to drive engagement and foster long-term customer relationships.
  • Referral programs: Motivating customers to recommend friends and colleagues by offering incentives, thus producing new leads and sales.

Crafting Multichannel Campaigns for ABM Success

In this mini step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through crafting a winning multichannel ABM campaign.

Step 1: Develop Detailed Buyer Personas

Conduct thorough research by analyzing customer data, conducting surveys, and interviewing target accounts to understand their preferences, behaviors, and communication modes. Document their demographic information, pain points, motivations, and decision-making criteria.

Create detailed buyer personas by compiling the collected information into profiles representing different segments of your target accounts. Include critical characteristics, such as job title, industry, challenges they face, and goals they aim to achieve.

Step 2: Select Channels Aligned with Preferences

Review the preferences and behaviors of your buyer personas to determine the channels they are likely to engage with. Analyze data from previous campaigns, conduct audience surveys, and use market research to validate your assumptions.

Think about incorporating both online and offline channels. Determine which platforms your target accounts frequent and which channels have successfully reached and engaged them. Align your channel selection with your target accounts’ preferences.

Step 3: Consolidate Data within a Customer Data Platform (CDP)

Assess the available data sources within your organization, such as marketing automation platforms, CRM systems, website analytics tools, and customer support databases. Identify the relevant data points and ensure they can be integrated into a CDP. 

Implement a CDP that can aggregate and unify data from various sources. Use data integration tools and application programming interfaces to connect systems and transfer data to the CDP. This will provide a centralized and comprehensive view of your target accounts’ interactions across channels.

Step 4: Customize Content for Personalization

Utilize the insights from your buyer personas and the data within the CDP to craft personalized content. Identify pain points and challenges specific to each buyer persona and create messaging that directly addresses them.

Tailor your content based on the channel preferences of your target accounts. For example, optimize emails for personalization, create engaging visuals for social media platforms, and develop in-depth whitepapers for industry publications.

Step 5: Establish a Strong Presence on Social Platforms

Create social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Construct a content calendar specifying the regularity and varieties of posts you intend to share.

Share a mix of informative, entertaining, and promotional content on your social media channels. Create thought leadership articles, case studies, success stories, videos, and infographics that align with your target accounts’ interests and challenges.

Step 6: Utilize Advanced Targeting Capabilities

Leverage digital advertising platforms with advanced targeting features like Facebook Ads Manager, Google Ads, and LinkedIn Campaign Manager. Utilize their audience targeting options to reach specific segments of your target accounts.

Segment your target accounts based on their characteristics and preferences. Utilize data from your CDP to create custom audiences and lookalike audiences. Craft personalized ad copy and visuals to resonate with each segment.

Step 7: Measure Effectiveness with Control Groups

Set up control groups by randomly selecting a portion of your target accounts to exclude from your multichannel campaigns. Ensure they are comparable in characteristics to the targeted segments.

Measure the performance of your targeted segments and compare them to the control groups. Analyze engagement rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated. This comparison will help you understand the impact and effectiveness of your multichannel campaigns.

Step 8: Provide Seamless Support Across Channels

Implement live chat software and chatbot tools on your website and social media platforms. Establish automated replies for commonly asked questions and incorporate them into your customer support systems.

Assign dedicated account managers to provide personalized support for your target accounts. Ensure they are trained to handle inquiries across various channels and equipped with the necessary information to provide prompt and accurate assistance.

In this video, we examine the significant shifts in the B2B marketing landscape over the past decade, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With decreased effectiveness of traditional marketing, it’s imperative for B2B companies to establish their brand and create content in the digital realm, where potential clients conduct their research.

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