Opinion: Be Multichannel, Not A “Channel Trender”

As a direct marketing professional, I have noticed a trend during the past few years: Retailers and direct marketers routinely position themselves as multichannel merchants, but are they really? Lately it seems that marketers are more “channel trenders” vs. true multichannel marketers.

Merchants are so quick to jump onto a trend vs. integrate a new trend or strategy into an overall multichannel approach. Yesterday it was social media, today it’s QR codes—what’s tomorrow? How can our industry be true to the name multichannel and not to the trend?

The industry is so quick to shift course before allowing a new trend to be fully understood and integrated and ultimately worked into a long-term game plan. What ever happened to the solid blocking and tackling of marketing and business, which has established some of the world’s greatest brands and greatest marketers?

Our agency consistently has clients who come to us and urge us to dump everything into one channel. We help them to resist this urge—although it’s hard sometimes—in hopes that we can channel their ideas (and ours) into a more integrated and balanced approach.

It’s always a tricky area to help our clients hear what they need to know vs. what they want to hear. There is a balance to integrating new technologies and tried-and-true tactics.

Seeing more people showcase and advocate this balance would serve the industry well. It might be a wake-up call of sorts for those channel trenders out there to be what they probably want to be—multichannel marketers.

Jonathan Larsen is managing partner of Larnish & Associates, a results-driven marketing agency.

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