Design and Implement Effective Multichannel Campaigns

Understanding multichannel marketing is fast becoming a requirement for print service providers of all sizes. The Internet and mobile technologies have triggered an explosion in the types of messaging media available, giving everyone no choice but to respond. For example, it has forced marketers to use different channels to attract different demographic groups in order to maximize the reach and response rates for their messages.

The good news in all of this is that it presents print service providers with an excellent opportunity to expand their portfolio of products and services. However, there are a number of considerations to take into account when it comes to offering multi channel solutions broad enough to get results.

First, the design and execution of a multichannel campaign will involve strategic as well as tactical planning to ensure you are creating a common graphic design scheme and consistent messaging across all media—keeping the campaign coordinated through every touch. This not only creates the side benefit of reinforcing a company’s branding, it also increases the effectiveness of the campaign overall by making it possible for the recipient to interact with a familiar campaign over multiple channels. Next comes the question, what actions do your customers want from prospects or customers and how do you want them to respond to your call to action? It is important to offer the ability to respond in multiple ways to any given campaign, and you’ll want to make sure those responses can be captured and measured.

Recently, Ricoh created its own multichannel campaign for Graph Expo 2011 to illustrate the possibilities a multichannel marketing campaign can offer. We started with a goal of getting printers to share their success stories as business owners—something we knew would be of interest to everyone running their own business today.

Our overarching theme was, “Making it Happen.” The purpose of the campaign was to ask printers how they made “it” happen—how did they achieve long-term success and continual business growth? We wanted to find out how today’s printers were finding success and get them to share their stories, and we gave them the ability to do that over a variety of media. At each touch point, our call to action was simple: share your “it” with the graphic communication community.



The campaign incorporated five different channels: direct mail, PURLs, a microsite, QR codes, and social media marketing. The focal point of the campaign came from six customer profiles, presented in short, easy-to-produce video segments. In each video, a Ricoh customer shared their story and the secret to the success of their business. From this dialogue, we hoped to spur conversation and feedback from other print providers who wanted to share their “it” as well.

The first touch in the campaign was a personalized direct mail piece incorporating variable data from our database of more than 10,000 printers. The call to action in the piece was a PURL that led recipients to a microsite/landing page where they could watch a customer profile video and fill out a registration form to visit our booth at Graph Expo. At the show, we invited booth visitors to film a short segment with us and share their “it” through social media.

Additionally, the mailer profiled two successful business owners in a variety of printing segments, including commercial, transactional, franchise, and quick printing. Included with each business owner profile was a QR code, which the recipient could scan with a smartphone and then be taken to a case study video of the profiled customer. At the end of each video was another call to action to visit the Ricoh booth at Graph Expo and share your “it.”

While your customers may not want to go as far as we did with their multichannel campaign, my point in sharing this is that there does not have to be just one way to get your customer’s message to their target market. It is important to evaluate the capabilities of each execution channel at your disposal and decide which will be best for achieving the end goal—a response to your call to action.


Elements for Success

Here are several things to keep in mind when it comes to successfully designing and implementing multichannel solutions:

• It all starts with good data. Managing the data used in a multichannel campaign is crucial. You will need to work closely with your customer to understand the sources of data available about their customers and prospects, from flat file data to data stored in more sophisticated relational databases. Examining the data available about preferences will help develop a campaign that is highly personalized. It is essential to cleanse the data to ensure accuracy and bolster results.

• Keep the message consistent, but vary the approach to leverage each channel’s strength. For example, direct mail needs to deliver its message with a concise and attention grabbing approach, whereas video is a great medium for telling a story in a warm and personal way. Keep the message consistent, but take advantage of the strength of each particular channel.

• Make sure your customer is prepared for real-time response. You can help ensure that your customer’s multichannel campaign is a success by advising them about the need to align their internal resources, from sales to customer service, so that they are prepared to respond quickly to inquiries, meeting the expectations that these channels create with their customers.

• Track results. Keeping track of the success of your customer’s marketing campaign, by channel, will offer rich insights into where the target audience can most effectively be reached. Doing so will also help you evaluate and fine tune multichannel campaigns with your customers to ensure that messages are being communicated effectively in each channel.

Your print customers are looking to leverage every opportunity available to reach their target audience with a consistent and personalized message. Offering effective multichannel solutions is an excellent way for printers of all sizes to move beyond a traditional product and services portfolio and become trusted marketing consultants for their customers.