Why Multichannel Is The Only Marketing Channel Left

Credit: Forbidden Planet 1956

Reading Time: 8 minutes

In the past, research has shown that the average person used to engage with 2 channels before buying, now the number hovers around 4 channels. Here are some other reasons why multichannel marketing matters for your business.


“15 years ago the average consumer typically used two touch-points when buying an item and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today consumers use an average of almost six touch-points with nearly 50% regularly using more than four.” —KnexusGroup


Years ago, I  went through Michael Lewis’ book “Moneyball” and learned about how Bill James, the father of baseball statistics, originally reached his first audience through a small announcement made in a baseball magazine. 



There was a time when that basic model worked: use one format or tool exclusively and watch the attention increase and the money roll in. In marketing and advertising, we call that the “Command and Control” era, the epoch when catchy jingles, cute mascots, and funny phrases made unbelievable amounts of cash. That time is past. 


Understand that our multichannel reality is not something that I as a marketer or copywriter want to admit. Many of us get good at one channel or method and don’t diversify.


Fast forward a couple of years  and I’d just gotten out of a sales meeting with seasoned marketer running a digital agency and who has been running into some difficulty with consistent lead generation.


He’d been trying various pathways to market with varying degrees of success and bombarded me with questions on how to capture it once more.


Listening to him detail all he’d done and worked on for a few decades, what worked and what hadn’t, I thought of TV’s MadMen. Specifically, I recalled a scene in which the marketing and advertising agency was handling one of their top accounts, an airline company, and seeking to calm the nerves of its top executive.


Don Draper, the leading man, your 1960s era too-cool-for-school marketing exec with a dark past, decided to disappear for most of the day. You can imagine the panic this caused in the office. Hours went by while agency underlings tried to appease the waiting, and growingly anxious, airline exec.


Finally, Draper got back in-time for the big marketing meeting, fielding a ton of nervous questions from the airline executive. Draper paused before  cooly replying,


“Listen, this is marketing, we make a plan and we try our best.”


Why Multichannel Is The Only Marketing Channel Left


“Priceline CEO Glenn Fogel said the company is always experimenting and changing its marketing spending and trying to find the best return” 


thefly.com, “Priceline CEO says ‘always experimenting’ with marketing plans”


If the person in charge of a multibillion dollar company, essentially says, “we’re still figuring this thing out,” how can the rest of us pretend any different?


Update: Priceline Group has since become Booking Holdings Inc.


In this age of the “expert,” “guru,” and “influencer,” I know that I, with a blog, am supposed to know all — but I am still figuring it out.


There are literally dozens of ways to generate B2B leads and no one tactic can cover all your bases:


It actually pays to stray from a one-size-fits-all and embrace multichannel marketing. According to thebalancesmb.com, “campaigns that use 4+ channels outperform campaigns that only use one or two channels by 300%.” 


Once we can acknowledge this reality, we then can try to get the biggest bang for our bucks. Content, like this blog, is a good place to start.


Consider the top traction or growth channels cited in “Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Growth.” Authors Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares interviewed dozens of startup founders who’ve achieved accelerated growth, venture capitalists and other experts in the field to uncover the tools rapid-growth startups leveraged for more attention, users, and revenue. They were:


  • Targeting Blogs
  • Publicity
  • Unconventional PR
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social and Display Ads
  • Offline Ads
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Engineering as Marketing
  • Viral Marketing
  • Business Development
  • Sales
  • Affiliate Programs
  • Existing Platforms
  • Trade Shows
  • Offline Events
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Community Building


You might have noticed that most of these channels were either heavily supported by or delivery mechanisms for content.That is why producing it can help to drive all your other marketing endeavors.


Also notice  that:

Ad trust is falling


While they can be effective with the right audience/content mix — in general, they’re falling flat. According to Nielsen’s latest “Trust in Advertising” Report, even ads received via text are trusted nearly 30% less than a good website with good content.

Buyers research more


According to HubSpot’s “Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics,” buyers researching business purchases typically will not take any actions on your branded website until they’ve done 12 online searches first.


Multichannel customers are worth more


According to omni-channel, or multichannel, platform Benbria (and Google), “omni-channel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.”

Lasting success in sales and marketing requires a multichannel strategy


Content and supportive multichannel partnerships are a necessity for businesses seeking growth.

The other day I was warm-called by one of my vendors and the rep on the phone mistakenly tried to close me on that first call. Here I was, about to head out for the office and this rep hit me with a barrage of features and options and a whole lot of etceteras.

“Listen, can you just send this to me in an email?” I asked. “I’d like to read more about it and I have to go.”

“I can’t send you an email until you sign-up for a 30 day trial,” she responded.

Really? This had to be one of the most ridiculous things I had ever heard.

I would have rather chosen not to hang up on this person but she left me no recourse. Buy or die were my options–and this is a company that I’d been paying already. So, like I told the rep, I most likely will keep doing business and buy more of their stuff.  The offer on their new marketing solution sounded good but being a marketing guy, I needed to kick the tires a bit before signing up.

“While your solution sounds good, there are 50 other similar solutions I can think-up off the top of my head,” I retorted.

The bigger problem here was not the individual rep. The real culprit is all of us, our collective business culture when we forget to use a varied approach. While it is more glaring when a pushy phone salesperson tries to corner you into a buy-or-die situation, I’ve done it before and maybe you have.

We live in a world of accessibility, where if you can’t find something it is due to your lack of imagination and not lack of availability.

Ivy-League university classes now stream for free, using the same resource of the internet where one can locate and purchase textbooks of said course without needing any pesky go-betweens like professors and admissions counselors.

Buyers in large have gotten the memo and educated themselves on the purchases that matter most to them. Years of being prodded and manipulated by that bygone slick sales floor operator has made them wielders of informational power. 

Instead of sellers hoarding information until (and only until) buyers chose to  pony up the cash, buyers are getting much of their information from these same folks free (if they’re  smart) or competitive sources and choosing to contact the sales department only when they feel most prepared (and sold).Common knowledge tells us that by the time buyers come to a company’s door, physical or digital, they’re nearly 70% sold.

So, let’s all take this as a wake up call for humility and bit of honesty. Instead of pretending we know all, let’s accept and acknowledge the current climate and our buyers, as people, like us, who deserve options. It’s time.