There is a sizable number of idioms around the idea that doing everything—or trying to be everything—is the equivalent to doing nothing or even being nothing. ‘If you stand for nothing you’ll fall for everything’. ‘If you market to everyone, you’re marketing to no one.’ Even the laws of nature support this—when you combine all colors in the light spectrum you get transparent white light.
Despite the fact that ‘everything and nothing’ is about as paradoxical as a statement gets, there’s undoubtedly a connection between the two.
I’d like to add to that list of idioms with ‘If you’re an omnichannel marketer, you’re an anti-channel marketer’. In other words—if you’re utilizing all relevant channels, you’re beyond channel-specific marketing. Of course, many marketers—myself included—have warned about the dangers of the spray and pray marketing, which involves spraying your message all over the internet and then *praying* that it sticks.
So, you won’t find this blog advocating that you revise your marketing strategy to pay equal attention to every possible channel—I’m not even sure that would be possible. As marketing becomes more and more de-silo-ed, though, strict distinctions will become less important to marketing team structures and budgets.
Despite all of these changes coming down the marketing pipeline, what the omnichannel/anti-channel marketing movement is really being driven by is mobile—which has itself been considered an ‘anti-channel’. (Marketing Daily)
Your Audience is Everywhere – And Everywhere is A Lot Bigger Than it Used to Be
Mobile is often referred to as a platform, but it can be more accurately described as an intersection of platforms. There’s another intersection that mobile has recently surpassed, though, and that’s the intersection of desktop and mobile usage.
As you can see, mobile surpassed desktop back around the 2014 mark and its usage continues to increase. (Smart Insights) As such, mobile is often considered to be the future of marketing.
Still, it’s vital to remember that mobile is also a bit of a rebel in the marketing world. Mobile has shaken up the customer journey in more than one way. Firstly, it blurs the lines between digital and physical reality. When consumers were mostly accessing the internet through their desktops or laptops, marketers could generally assume they were in a fixed location—mostly likely at home or at work, maybe at a coffee shop or in a hotel. The options were relatively limited, though. With the increased mobile usage we’re seeing today, an individual can be almost anywhere and check his or her emails, for example. Plus, jumping between devices—or using two devices at once—during the customer journey is increasingly common.
This, in turn, requires marketers to adapt everything they do to mobile usage—not just in terms of design but also in terms of a mobile mentality. And studies show that the most active mobile user checks his or her phone approximately 900 times a day. (NPR) So opportunity there is ripe for the taking if brands are up for omnichannel adaptation.
In fact, even some of the more notoriously old school industries are showing innovative methods of adapting to mobile. For example, some car repair companies have started sending SMS messages, emails, or in-app notifications to customers to notify them of service updates, remind them of upcoming appointments, and more. (Automotive News)
Achieving this level of alignment across digital and physical reality requires a strong central message that is threaded throughout any and all channels your audience may live on. Thus, rethinking mobile as an ‘anti-channel’ that stretches across all communication platforms will help marketers to stop defining their marketing efforts strictly by channels.
Diversifying Communication According to the Law of Mobile
Ultimately being an anti-channel marketer comes down to two main components: diversification and agility. When thinking critically about how to communicate with an audience, no platform or channel can be ignored. So you don’t necessarily need to be everywhere, but you need to be in the right places regardless of channels or platforms, which can–in some cases–feel like you need to be everywhere.
Now that you’re competing with Amazon as well your competitors down the street, the need for integration of physical presence and online presence will also be leading marketers to find continuity and integration in messaging in unexpected ways. Best Buy achieves this by allowing customers to purchase products online and pick them up in the store the same day while also offering options for how customers can be communicated with (SMS, email, etc.).
How can you diversify your communications with agility? I have three words for you: nurture and mobile.
Embracing Nurture Marketing
At its core, nurture marketing is an anti-channel marketing strategy. Instead of focusing on channel strategies, it focuses on messaging that is delivered via marketing automation to nurture an audience towards an end goal. Breaking down walls in departments, strategies, and budgets–as well as focusing on your audience and how they want to be communicated with–are the only ways to successfully adopt nurture marketing.
Take note of brands such as Fox, which isn’t afraid of thinking outside the box and utilizing each relevant channel when marketing its television shows. By auditing channel and platform opportunities and understanding audience device usage, they’re mixing and matching strategies and tactics in an innovative yet effective way.
Adopt mobile. And be sure to stay on top of the ever-changing mobile trends. This might seem like an understatement of massive proportions. Forrester has estimated that less than 4% of businesses are in a place that will allow them to take advantage of the growing opportunities in mobile, though. As wearable technology and internet-enabled appliances become the norm, those brands that are still struggling to break into the mobile space will find themselves left very much behind when anti-channel marketing takes over.
While mobile isn’t the only reason you should be thinking beyond channels, it is an accurate and relevant illustration of the new anti-channel wave of marketing. Ultimately, your focus should be on creating messages that carry throughout various channels and distributing them appropriately–mobile or not.
Did you like this post? Let us know why (or why not) in the comments. In the meantime, check out our blog Blurred Lines: The De-Silo-Ing of Marketing to discover why breaking down organizational silos is key to staying agile and ahead of your competition.