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Your strategy should be to connect customers with content. Channels are where your customers are at. Put your content there.
You have demographic customer data/persona models. You know what jobs they do, what their needs are. You know their approximate age, their desires and how they purchase. This informs decisions that lead to successful products and marketing creative.
So why display it all in the wrong shop window?
Imagine a company that wants to target a young demographic. They plan out a fantastic campaign, filled with übercool minimalist graphics. The slogans are perfect. The copy encapsulates the desire for product, delivering in a way that speaks to pure logic. But, they also deliver a gut blow of emotional revelation. The audience now knows why they need this product but also how empty their life has been without it. This campaign won’t only win awards, they’ll name awards after it.
Unfortunately, they advertised solely on billboards in abandoned coastal towns. Nobody saw them and the company went bust.
Marketing channels as a means of transmitting your message are a vital part of any campaign. It’s not just about visibility, but the right kind of visibility. Maybe you can get three times the views on Channel C, but your customers are all on channel A, a billion pixels away.
If you put the wrong content on the right channel you at least get your content in front of the right eyes. The right content in the wrong place? Less so. Whether B2B blogging or videos on social media, content is most effective when presented to the audience it’s curated for.
Making the right channel management decisions is also about capitalising on an attention opportunity. The purchase path of your potential customers will not take in every potential marketing channel. Your distribution channel strategy should be equally selective. A well-structured creative process might make it easy to produce the same piece of content across many channels. But you shouldn’t, it’s a waste of time and effort for minimal gains.
Distribution channel strategy isn’t only about the maintenance of marketing either. It’s also a part of how you make expansion into new markets and territories a success. Understanding purchase pathways and channel usage of your prospective new audience, you can tailor content accordingly and be ahead on day one. Rather than a year blitzing everything and undertaking analysis of what actually worked.
A final extreme metaphor to close.
It’s like sitting down at a fancy cutting edge micro-vegan hyper-bistro. You’re expecting them to serve you a nice mushroom risotto, only the waiter says there’s been a frightful mistake. Instead of having dinner, you’re giving a 45-minute lecture on the musical career of David Hasselhoff. To a conspiracy of suited business lemurs.
The restaurant didn’t give you the experience you expected, that’s annoying, and the one it did give you left you feeling confused. The lemurs, famously indifferent to David Hasselhoff, are entirely disinterested by your lecture. In spite of your deep insight into his 1993 soft rap single, Pingu Dance, they spent most of the time adjusting their ties, fidgeting and not paying you any attention at all.
Nobody is satisfied by disconnection and misalignment of content and expectations.
Create marketing campaigns that connect your brand to your target audience. Do it in the places where your customers go. It’s easier, cheaper and far more rewarding.
Mike McConnell is a Creative Lead at Mulberry Marketing Communications. An award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Melbourne. He has years of experience creating and editing written work alongside developing ideas for a diverse range of clients across multiple formats. His favourite channel is Instagram for its great mix of art, memes and adorable raccoons.