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Multichannel Marketing is a Perfect Storm of Synergies.

By Jennifer Beck | July 03, 2013 | 1 Comment

I had a dream last night that my awesomely aggressive sales targets were dressed up as old men in overalls, smoking cigars, in red wooden rocking chairs on the front porch of the county store. One was wheezing out a tune. The other was playing a pretty mean harmonica riff of Bob Dylan’s “It’s all Over Now, Baby Blue”. I shook myself fully awake and reached for the notes I’d left bedside at around 3:00 that morning. It was the final definition of Gartner’s take on multichannel marketing. It reads:

“Gartner defines Multichannel marketing as optimizing the customer engagement according to the way customers want to talk, shop, buy and obtain services through digital and/or offline channels, orchestrated to build ensemble interactions that create differentiated and compelling experiences.”

Whew. Ensemble interactions, you say? Pretty fancy talk. And how did Dylan, cigars and mellow old men creep into my dream time? In some odd way it was a lesson in this much talked about, but often misunderstood method of creating the perfect marketing campaign design to match every individual buyer’s preferences and permissions. You look for synergies. And you look for the images they create.

So old men, rockers (as in the chairs) and cigars kind of worked for me. They go together in my head. Add in the Dylan and the harmonica and it was a perfect storm.  Like fireworks, a BBQ and the Fourth of July appeals to the patriotic American. Or the way a popular cause, one YouTube viral video, and about a million smart phones can mobilize some major momentum in about an hour. There are plenty of examples of solid multichannel marketing out there, but how do you choose just the right number and type of channels that complement each other, and reach your buyer? And what about the content moving through those carefully crafted set of channels?

Many marketers can get one or the other right. But most are over-engineering their campaign designs and cheating on the content side. If you don’t have a really brilliant concept like Dove’s idea to have a forensic sketch artist draw women as others see them, or Kraft’s risky Fun My Life Jell-O Twitter campaign, then it won’t matter if you get the execution right, no one will be listening. It’s that connection between something intellectually interesting, hilariously funny, or uplifting that makes for great multichannel marketing.

Adam Sarner, Julie Hopkins and I are designing a trio approach to a free webinar on July 23rd for anyone interested in:

  • Forces changing how we think about multichannel initiatives.
  • Models for planning and investing in multichannel programs
  • Compelling examples of multichannel marketing done right

If the subject matter isn’t compelling enough, listening to three Gartner analysts trying to get everything they know across in less than an hour should provide some entertainment value. And let’s kick the definition around, shall we? There’s a reason Gartner doesn’t call it omnichannel or cross-channel. We’ll be asking questions so you may not want to be multi-tasking during a webinar on multichannel. Join the discussion.


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1 Comment

  • Hans Willems says:

    Thank you Jennifer. Great blog and I will definitely join the webinar.

    In the definition I particularly like “the way customers want to talk, shop….”. Why? The customer is the starting point. In practise it’s quite a challenge to get that understanding. Our systems are getting better and better in predicting what customers want and the use of these insights is improving. There is anyhow still a big time gap between the decision what we will say and the moment we actually talk to customers. The talking is almost in real-time but the thinking is out of date. That doesn’t feel right.