Multichannel marketing in the digital world

Posted on: 2014-09-23 in Opinion


Caroline Betts, Head of Marketing at Access Self Storage, discusses her strategies for marketing effectively across many different channels.

When I first started out in marketing, I’d rely on a print directories to get a name out there. Need to improve brand recognition? Buy print advertising. Want to target a specific geographical area? Start a direct mail campaign. I certainly wouldn’t have been writing about digital marketing in this detail!

As a marketer, the environment I work in now has completely changed. Keeping up with this pace of change over the last decade has almost been a full time job in itself, but it’s made all of our jobs a lot more exciting.

At Access Self Storage, I’ve embraced this revolution and used it to improve our multichannel digital marketing strategies. With the ever-growing importance of smart phone-using, multi-screening consumers, social media as promotional and customer service tools, and Google’s clout when it comes to PPC and SEO, our strategies have had to become more flexible and responsive than ever.

The print materials that formed so much of marketing strategy a decade ago have all but gone out the window, replaced by online directories, online display advertising and re-targeting, and e-marketing plus substantial investment in the ever changing domain of search marketing. Direct mail hasn’t quite lost all of its power and is still a useful way of reaching our target market, but it’s certainly a much smaller part of our plan than before.

Our integrated comms strategy has transformed to take account of digital’s ability to reach the consumer, whether it’s a business owner using Google to search for a place to keep stock or a student seeing an ad on Facebook who wants to store possessions over the summer. Around 60% of our activity is based online – whether that’s SEO, PPC ads, display and re-targeting or other forms of e-marketing. Due to its importance to SEO, we spend about 10% of our energy working on social media and content channels.

But not everything has gone online just yet. With 53 stores to market, we find that stores targeting their local areas with leaflet drops, billboards and other personalised activities is still very effective, meaning part of my job is listening to their ideas and supporting them in their own marketing. This forms about 15% of our integrated strategy; admittedly significantly down on a decade ago, but crucial to local markets.

The remainder of our strategy is concerned with hosting events, PR and directories – perhaps all of these would have formed part of our work years ago, but the forms they now take have completely changed. If we hold an event, we promote it through social media. If we want a directory entry, we go for one online to improve our ranking on Google.

Perhaps the greatest change in our multichannel digital strategy has been the effect of data on our decision-making processes. When we’re discussing strategy, data helps us reach final decisions and inspires our thinking. What was the impact of this event last year? How were search engine rankings affected by this new webpage? We’re constantly refining and striving to improve upon last year’s performance, whether our ideas worked or not.

Alongside keen-eyed analysis, we keep our ears to the ground for the latest trends or up-and-coming marketing tricks, taking advice from our partners and closely watching our competition.

Coordinating this strategy across Access’ 53 stores is one of my biggest challenges, but seeing positive data supporting our actions makes it all worthwhile. Luckily, I’m a control freak, so I’m happy to spend time supporting each store, keeping channels of communication open with everyone and keeping a close eye on the progress of our plans and the budget. It helps that I track everything fanatically, too!

How has your strategy changed in the last decade? Let us know by posting a comment below!


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About this blog

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The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by b2b pr specialist Heather Baker, founder TopLine Comms, an inbound marketing and B2B content marketing agency and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say.  Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact her via email on [email protected].

 

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