Measuring the effectiveness of multi-channel marketing

When you use more than one communications channel for any campaign or promotion you increase the effectivness of your multi-channel marketing.

The effectiveness of multi-channel marketing is clear.

The effectiveness of multi-channel marketing is clear.

Analytic Partners’ influential research measured the effectiveness of multi-channel marketing. They measured the short and long-term impact of 3,200 US campaigns between 2010 and 2015. The research looked at a wide variety of communications channels. The results were adjusted to reflect the different budgets used by big and smaller companies.

The proportion of campaigns that used 1, 2 and 3 communications channels was roughly equal. A far smaller proportion of campaigns used 4 or 5 channels.

And yet the results showed that the impact of the campaigns was consistently better when more channels were used, rising from a 19% boost when a second channel was used to a 35% boost when a fifth was used.


Is this a “no shit, Sherlock” moment?

In a sense, this is just a statistical extension of Mark Ritson’s principle of Bothism – don’t follow one path, follow two (or more).

In another sense, the conclusion might seem blindingly obvious. It’s not. The research isn’t saying that you need to spend five times more to get a bigger impact. That really would be NSS. It’s saying you need to use five channels (or more). Split your budget, don’t multiply it. It’s not how much you spend, it’s where you spend it.

It’s also worth remembering that this is a principle that works for single adverts, a full campaign or a corporate strategy.


Improving the effectivness of multi-channel marketing.

Multi-channel marketing means putting in a little extra effort for a lot of extra benefit. You need to repackage your content to suit the channels you’re going to use. You don’t need to rewrite it for it to be effective.

When you repackage your content, it’s important to remember to keep it consistent. This is the core message of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), as devised by Don Schultz. Brand recognition is so low for most companies that promoting one message in numerous ways just dilutes any impact you might build. Instead of one campaign with wallop you get many campaigns which miss.


Multi-channel marketing examples.

Pick channels that are:

  1. Relevant to your target market; and
  2. Accessible to you. Accessibility means you must be able to repackage your content to fit the channel, be allowed to use the channel and have the budget to broadcast there.

Brands with huge advertising budgets provide great examples of multi-channel marketing in action. Just consider the consistency of Compare The Market’s meerkat promotions. It doesn’t matter whether it’s TV, web, outdoor – those meerkats are always there.

The same can be said of GoCompare’s Gio Campario.

And before we fall into the trap of thinking big budgets make everything easier, consider that more channels, more territories and more staff multiply the scope for chaos.


Social media channels.

The advantages of social media are numerous but it mainly comes down to being free. At least it looks free on the surface. Posting to social media is free but frighteningly few people realise that their posts are only shown to a tiny minority of their contacts i.e. 5% or less.

Costs are higher if you i) take your time into account (especially if you create graphics or videos) and ii) use sponsored posts (adverts). You don’t have to create graphics or videos but text-only ads have as much effect as rain on the sun in most social media platforms.

If you are creating graphics, these size guides will be useful. Platforms to consider include:

  1. YouTube.
  2. LinkedIn.
  3. FaceBook.
  4. Twitter.
  5. Pinterest.
  6. Instagram.
  7. Tik-Tok.
  8. Clubhouse.
  9. plus whatever gets invented tomorrow.



It should almost go without saying that you’ll put details of your promotion on your website. What we often forget is to make a download available from our websites too. This gives visitors something to pass on to colleagues and a permanent to-do reminder.

Frame your promotion so it catches organic search traffic or attach it to a page that already attracts organic search traffic.



It’s equally obvious that promotions should be broadcast via email. This is another zero-budget channel. Just make sure you only send the promotion to relevant people. With email, segmentation is the golden rule.


Traditional media channels.

To call traditional media “print media” would be deceptive. There’s hardly a publication in existence that doesn’t have an online edition.

While national publications may be beyond the range of most businesses, local media and industry-specific trade media are not. They also have the advantage of being more focused on your target markets.

Consider both advertising and writing editorial for traditional media channels. You won’t get paid for editorial but most publications need content from the public; very few have a writing staff capable of filling all their pages.

You’ll often need to be an advertiser before a publication will let you write for them.



If you’re attending exhibitions, make sure your stand has a panel about the campaign. Pop-up banners are now about £50 so it’s well within the budget of every campaign to include one. Print some A6 cards to handout to delegates who visit your stand.

If you’re running a webinar, include a slide about the campaign. The best time is the dead minutes at the start of the webinar while you wait for everyone to join. Setup a rolling presentation that fills those empty minutes with something productive.



If you are attending an exhibition, you could take some of the digital billboards in the surrounding area. Even if you’re not attending an exhibition, they’re a great idea. The advent of digital billboards has generated a wave of creative opportunities for promotions. The prices are not as high as you’d expect.


Messaging apps.

Many of the email service providers (ESPs) also let you broadcast messages via text message. Text message promotions should be used with caution. They’re wonderfully effective – the open and read rate is far higher than emails. But many people consider them an intrusion into their personal space. Their phone is personal in a way their email inbox is not.

Outside simple text messages, you may promote through other messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat.


TV and radio.

If your budget stretches to it, broadcast media such as TV and radio are obvious channels. The broadcast costs are significant and the creative costs can be high too.


Multi-channel tools.

It would be nice to think that there’s a tool that could manage your multi-channel promotions. Apps like Hootsuite and Zoho Social help, but they only manage your social media accounts. That’s only scratching the surface of true multi-channel marketing.


Next steps.

The most important take-away is that you don’t have to start using all channels at once. Not even all the channels you hope to use. It’s a learning curve. Start with two or three channels you’re familiar with a expand to more over time.

  1. The DIY route. If you want to put multi-channel marketing into action, you need:
    1. Social media accounts with the platforms your customers use. You may also need to familiarise yourself with the intricacies of their advertising systems; they are horribly complex. Before advertising, it’s also worth considering the threat of ad fraud.
    2. Time. Most of the channels – web, email, social, messaging – need your time more than your money.
    3. Writing skills. You need to be able to write good content.
    4. Budget. If you’re taking the advertising route, you need to be able to fund it through out the duration of the promotion.
  2. The Assisted route. If you don’t have the time, people or system to do this yourself, well, that’s what we’re here for. Give us a call. We’re surprisingly friendly.

Remember, Forbes Baxter Associates is a marketing development agency so we develop your in-house marketing skills while we help you grow your business.