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What is Multichannel Marketing, Anyway?

Post by Nancy Dowd
Posted September 30, 2013 in

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The other day I was chatting with someone abut marketing. I was going on and on about multichannel marketing when she finally interrupted me and said, “Nance, what the heck is multichannel marketing?”

I went blank for a moment and then smiled. The marketing field is famous for inventing trendy names when it comes to describing what we are doing. There was push then pull. We have social, relationship and viral strategies. Heck, we had the four p’s that became the 5 p’s that morphed into the 5 c’s. No wonder my friend had no idea of what I was talking about!

Multichannel marketing describes the process of promoting your program, product, or service through different communication channels. So if you post a flyer in your library, send an email, and post to Facebook, you utilized three communication channels to tell people about your program.

An added bonus is that you can also make suggestions for other programs, products, or services that match the interests of the people you are reaching. And that’s called cross-promoting. So if you are telling someone about a really cool program featuring Legos, you may want to add a reading list of books that they will find interesting. Effective cross promotion will leverage any activity you are doing and give you double or triple the results.

LibraryAware makes it really easy to that.

Here’s an example of what that would look like.

Widget 1 Email Poster Widget 2

You'll notice that I carry the same photo and coloring through each piece so each time someone sees an item they will be able to connect it to the other pieces. (We call that visual brand identity marketing but that’s a whole other conversation). And remember you don’t have to make all these things but a good goal would be to think about making at least two.

1. Here’s a poster one of our libraries created.

2. Why not make a bookmark and reading list that you can give out at the circ desk or around the library? 

3. Since you have a poster and bookmark, why not put up a widget on your website so you can reach more people that might be interested in your program?

4. Since you have the widget already, think about whether it makes sense to start building an email list. With an email list of people interested in activities and reading recommendation for students and parents thinking about college, you would be able to let them know about any relevant program and make some super reading recommendations. To build an opt-in email list, why not use a widget that links to a sign up page.

5. Since you have a few names for the email list you could send them an email and add a few books.

All this took me about a half hour to make, schedule, post, and print. I even had a few extra minutes to post the flyer to Facebook, Twitter, and the catalog. If you told a marketer outside of the library field that you were able to create an all-out multichannel marketing strategy in less than an hour, they’d be astonished!


Nancy Dowd is the Product Lead for LibraryAware. Her passion is helping libraries connect to their communities.