It is the hall­mark of a dig­i­tal age that every­one you know has a slew of elec­tronic devices and is active on mul­ti­ple social net­works.  Absolutely every­one is online, and I am not just talk­ing about my mother. Even my neighbor’s dog has his own blog!  There are lit­er­ally thou­sands of chan­nels and hun­dreds of ways to access them.  In my house, we get infor­ma­tion via a PC, iPad, iPhone, Kin­dle, X Box, and more. Soon I expect we will add a smart watch to the mix. To me per­son­ally, it can some­times feel a bit over­whelm­ing, but as a mar­keter it is a boon in being able to reach more peo­ple in more places, via mul­ti­ple channels.

How­ever, all this com­plex­ity makes it dif­fi­cult for mar­keters to fig­ure out how to use each chan­nel to our advan­tage.  How can we offer a con­sis­tent cus­tomer expe­ri­ence with­out being repet­i­tive and take advan­tage of the unique­ness of each medium while mak­ing sure they all work together?

In my expe­ri­ence, many mar­keters approach each chan­nel as an iso­lated vehi­cle.  But to be truly effec­tive in mul­ti­chan­nel mar­ket­ing, you need to think of your­self as a con­duc­tor of an orches­tra, with each media “instru­ment” bring­ing some­thing unique to your brand yet blend­ing together to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Get­ting the Con­tent Right

Just like a great sym­phony starts with a great score, your mul­ti­chan­nel plan must start with a robust con­tent strat­egy.  What are the dif­fer­ent mes­sages you want to deliver to cus­tomers and in what vehi­cles?  For exam­ple, in social media we often pro­mote cus­tomer sto­ries and con­tent, show­ing the amaz­ing work of every­one from stu­dents to pros and how our prod­ucts help them t real­ize their cre­ative vision.   We pro­mote our prod­ucts in non­con­ven­tional ways, like in this hilar­i­ous Adobe and the Frog love story.  Of course we tweet an occa­sional pro­mo­tion or post an invite to an event, but our pri­mary goal with social is to inspire and engage, not just to sell.

Once a prospect gets to our web­site, our con­tent strat­egy shifts and becomes much more prod­uct focused.  On Adobe​.com, we use lots of quick videos to show off what our prod­ucts do and encour­age trial (and pur­chase). Finally, when some­one becomes a mem­ber of our ser­vice, we use email and in-product mes­sages to quickly on-board them and drive active use. We heav­ily lever­age our learn­ing con­tent to pro­vide “how to’s” and tips and tricks peo­ple need to get started quickly and get value from what they purchased.

Mak­ing Beau­ti­ful Music

In addi­tion to the right con­tent, you need the right media strat­egy.  At Adobe we look at the ben­e­fits of each chan­nel and how it can help us drive peo­ple down the fun­nel.  It is not just about how each vehi­cle plays indi­vid­u­ally, but how they work together.  We have syn­chro­nize our media across search, dis­play, email, and social so that a cus­tomer who comes to our web­site and looks at prod­uct A will sub­se­quently see dif­fer­ent ban­ner ads, responses to search inquires, and cus­tomized emails com­pared with a cus­tomer who is look­ing at prod­uct B.   This of course is the ulti­mate in personalization.

While assem­bling your own media strat­egy may seem daunt­ing, as always there are processes and tech­nol­ogy that help.  At Adobe we use respon­sive design to ensure that our cus­tomers get a great expe­ri­ence no mat­ter the device they are using. To man­age the mul­ti­tude of con­tent we use a kick-ass con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem (CMS)—shameless plug for our own Adobe Expe­ri­ence Manager—and solu­tions such as Adobe Tar­get and Media Opti­mizer to put this con­tent in front of the right peo­ple and ensure con­sis­tency across dif­fer­ent channels.

There is no one size fits all approach to mar­ket­ing in mul­ti­ple chan­nels, but hav­ing the right con­tent aligned to the right vehi­cles and tak­ing advan­tage of the unique­ness of each medium while mak­ing sure they all work together is key to mak­ing you not just an effec­tive mar­keter, but a virtuoso.