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When it comes to multichannel marketers are still in the “1990s”

You'll often hear the words “multichannel” or “omni channel” in meetings, but it seems these styles of marketing never make it past the games of buzzword-bingo.

A recent survey from PR agency Hotwire asked 300 senior marketing decision makers about how they currently run campaigns and also what they consider their biggest challenges to be in the future. The results revealed that marketing hasn't truly moved on much since the 1990s.

In fact, 46% of senior marketers who took part in the study admitted their campaigns run in isolation, and just under a third (30%) do not design their campaigns to be multichannel. This honest, but worrying response highlights a problem within our industry. We are working in silos, and have no incentive to collaborate on our campaigns.

So why is this happening? Confidence and knowledge seem to be an issue. 41% of respondents said they had concerns with new platforms, and 36% said that channel integration is their biggest challenge. Simply put, many marketing managers just do not understand new digital platforms; ultimately leaving them out of campaigns and opting for channels that have proven successful for them in the past.

Of course, if marketers have the data to prove something has worked, it’s only human nature to apply the same approach in the next campaign. But to succeed in a world where audiences are so fragmented, marketers need to face this fear of the unknown.

One thing that has moved on from the 1990s is that the senior marketers surveyed understood the importance of having a presence online, with 52% accounting for online advertising within their marketing budgets. But when it comes to social media – which has been a hot topic since before 2010 – only 27% are setting aside budget for the channel. 

Possibly the most surprising is the lack of importance marketers place on SEO. We all know Google is huge; it is how one in six people in the world now discover pages on the Internet. However, a staggering 80% of senior marketers do not budget for SEO.

It comes back to the confidence and knowledge issue. If senior marketers do not fully understand new platforms, or complex subjects such as SEO (where over 300 factors can affect a site's ranking) then they will be unlikely to stake their reputation on such channels.

Of course the good news is that PR comes near the top of the list for channels senior marketers focus on. But we all know we need to work together, creating campaigns that combine multiple channels and that are based on research and insight to shows us where the best place to be is.

The report offers five recommendations for managing a multichannel marketing campaign, but I’ll give you one for free. My best tip is to allocate your budget by needs, not by channels. Ask yourself what will work for your specific campaign and use data to guide your decision-making process.

We need to be smarter. We need to understand the different channels and how they work. Only then will senior marketers have the confidence to implement a truly multichannel marketing strategy. 


The independent study, commissioned by Hotwire PR, was carried out by OnePoll in May 2015 amongst 300 marketing decision makers. Download the full report here.

Written by Andy West, chief development officer, Hotwire

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