by Guy Marion, CMO & Head of Business, Autopilot HQ

Multi-Channel Marketing: Right Person, Right Place, Right Time

The best marketing reaches the right person with the right message in the right place at the right time. Sounds easy, right?

Every marketer and owner knows there is an incredible amount of work that goes into defining your ideal customer, understanding their challenges, crafting a message that leads to sales, and connecting at just-the-right moments in the customer journey. Not to mention the nuts and bolts of reaching people online, offline, and on mobile, widely known as multi-channel marketing.

Multi-channel marketing is all about connecting with customers in the right place. Examples of multi-channel could be email, SMS, direct mail, Facebook, Twitter, phone calls and more. The key is context. Are they at the office or at home? Are they on their iPhone or on their laptop? Different context requires different channels.

In this post, you’ll learn the challenges marketers face to implementing multi-channel marketing along with best practice tips we’ve learned from tackling these problems head-on at Autopilot.

Why marketers don’t do multi-channel marketing

Multi-channel marketing sounds great in theory, but there are real challenges keeping marketers and business owners from using it, including:

  • Marketers know that email still works. Most companies collect an email address to kickstart their marketing and nearly every automation tool is primarily email-based, except this one ;). For these reasons, jumping to an email-centric practice of communicating with customers makes total sense.
  • The customer identity is scattered. Customer demographics, metrics on how people are engaging with your product and website, and email engagement are silo’d in different systems, causing a knowledge gap of “Who are we marketing to again?”
  • The temptation to hound contacts. Excited about the endless possibilities, early adopter marketers embracing multi-channel marketing are overwhelming contacts with message after message, giving off the creepy guy spammer vibe.
  • Technically hard. By and large, multi-channel marketing is still hard to do, complex to configure, and so out of reach for most companies. Enterprises and “the tech elite” spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on technical, consulting, and content teams wiring up multi-channel campaigns.

But there is an easier way. Simple, visual tools like Autopilot are enabling smaller, more nimble companies to unbundle their tech stack to automate and do multi-channel marketing. And they are extending marketing beyond email to multi-channel, where it should’ve been all along.

Three Steps to Getting Started with Multi-Channel Marketing

Read on for three steps to getting started with multi-channel marketing.

1. Centralize and organize your customer record

The first step to implementing a multi-channel marketing strategy is to centralize and organize your customer record in a single location that incorporates actions, events, and behaviors across multiple services.

Think of the silo’d storehouses of contact data living in your website, product, CRM, marketing automation tool, landing page app, and customer service software about Tanya from DogToday, George from, or Michael from Initech.

Centralize and Organize Your Customer Record

By collecting all of their data points in one place, you can personalize your messages on a more granular level for a better customer experience. Imagine the kind of marketing you could do with services like Zapier and Segment, integrated with Autopilot, to trigger the right messages on the right channel or to limit communications from being sent at the wrong time, things like…

  • Sending an encouraging email to SaaS trial users who just added their tracking code
  • Reaching out with a text-based, personalized email to a person who hasn’t opened your last three email newsletters
  • Automating a special offer to a lead who’s clicked like crazy on your past three lead nurturing emails

It all starts with centralizing and organizing your customer record in one spot.

2. Identify the “interesting moments” in the customer journey

The customer journey is the chronological set of learnings, decisions, and touchpoints that a person experiences as they first get to know your company, then hopefully become a customer, and eventually become a repeat buyer and referrer. Whether you’re a tech startup with a freemium model, an ecommerce site selling clothes, or a consulting firm selling services, your customer is on a journey that you need to guide.

Identify the "interesting moments" in the Customer Journey

The “interesting moments” in the customer journey are like a fork in the road where customers can fall off the map or go one step further in their relationship with your company.

These interesting moments will look different for every business.

  • For a mobile app Task Manager, this could be right after a user signs up for a free trial, creates zero tasks, or becomes a paying customer
  • For Resound, a boutique marketing agency, the key touchpoints could be the second a lead inquires about their services, signs up for an email newsletter, or downloads a whitepaper
  • For an e-commerce company, the interesting moments could be when a potential buyer abandons a shopping cart or after a customer makes a repeat purchase

These are the crucial moments to engage your contacts with a relevant, personalized message on the right channel, whether text, email, social media, or even direct mail.

3. Converse naturally using email, text, direct mail, and…

Let’s say that Marie is planning to buy a new pair of stilettos for her gala next month through an ecommerce site she’s previously bought from. She researches options on her website from her laptop at work on Monday, sees the latest stiletto pics on Twitter from her iPhone on Thursday, gets a 10% off coupon for stilettos in the mail next Wednesday, and gets a text Thursday morning about a special 24-hour sale, then finally buys.

That’s the power of personalized multi-channel marketing – and you could easily create this journey with the simple Autopilot + Segment automation stack.

The three main channels to consider when crafting your strategy are email, direct mail, and SMS (texting) which cover online, offline, and mobile. Other channels to consider include retargeting ads and social media sponsored posts.

Email, Text, Direct Mail

Importantly, don’t go overboard and spam your customers with irrelevant messages in inappropriate contexts. That’s a recipe for mass unsubscribes, unhappy customers, and/or an online riot. Instead, target your messaging as if you were speaking to someone near and dear to your heart, like your husband, mother, or a highly valued client. It’s about being in the right place during those “interesting moments” in their buying journey.

How marketing automation fits in the picture

Manually executing a multi-channel marketing strategy is near impossible. You’d be poring over data minute-by-minute and frantically sending text messages, emails, and letters 24/7. Moreover, customer journey software is scalable, consistent, and now personal – your secret weapon. Personalize the customer record, identify the interesting moments in the customer journey, and message your customer in the right context. That’s the recipe for multi-channel marketing success.

How are you using multi-channel marketing in your business? What strategies have you seen drive results? Let us know in the comments.

Author Guy Marion, CMO & Head of Business, Autopilot HQ

Guy is the CMO & Head of Business at Autopilot HQ and is a revenue-focused leader interested in the shift towards all things cloud & SaaS, customer journey automation, and the consumerization of Enterprise software.

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