When you hear the word “multichannel,” what do you think of? Many brands would think of a variety of communication channels that they can use to successfully engage prospective customers or leads. These channels can include social media, print, traditional web platforms, mobile devices and any other communication medium under the sun.

In the past, multichannel marketing campaigns were handled mostly linearly, with the same content delivered through all channels via a digital asset management system. Multichannel campaigns were initiatives designed to essentially broaden a company’s net, ensuring they hit the most customers possible with their promotional efforts.

Multichannel doesn't just mean sending the same content through a variety of platforms.

Multichannel doesn’t just mean sending the same content through a variety of platforms.

Trans-media Instead of Multichannel

However, things have changed. Studies have shown that taking this traditional multichannel approach isn’t always effective. Consumers log in to Facebook for different reasons than they read email or send text messages to friends. Thus, sending the same message through multiple communication channels isn’t always an effective way of engaging people. In fact, it can frequently have detrimental effects – just think how annoying it could be to constantly receive coupons on your smartphone, for instance.

As Econsultancy suggests, the way brands are approaching multichannel campaigns is different. Many are redefining the term, and instead likening it to a “trans-media” strategy. Technology has improved to the point where companies can quickly and easily send messages that are tailored to the channel through which they are engaging customers, and businesses are capitalizing on this trend.

“In order to achieve this trans-media distribution, brand management software must be able to segment messages, depending on channel,” the source explains. “This is designed to ensure that consumers experience the brand in ways that suit their personal needs – while allowing the brand manager to maintain brand consistency.”

Walking in the Customer’s Shoes
The end goal of multichannel marketing is to better understand consumers and engage them on their own terms. Channel, timing and message are all important when approaching a customer, regardless of whether they are long-term buyers or have never heard of you before. To that end, it’s crucial that you’re personalizing your message for their specific needs. This shows consumers that you truly understand their pain points and can aid the conversion process.

Think about it this way: When was the last time that you saw a television commercial that truly spoke to you as a person? For many people, it’s quite possible the answer is “never.” This is because television is a mass media channel designed to appeal to the broadest audience, and for that purpose, it’s very effective. But you wouldn’t want to have those television commercials sent straight to your phone, which may even frustrate you because of how impersonal it is.

Treat your multichannel campaigns as if you’re engaging customers personally. By taking this step, you can show them that they matter as individuals and they aren’t just random numbers in your customer database. There is no excuse not to do this in 2013, given the sheer number of tools available to marketers. Personalized marketing has grown increasingly easier due to technology that enables brands to quickly customize content and distribute to a variety of targets. Personalization no longer has to be the hassle it once was.