#ChannelSurfing — How to create a channel strategy

Steve Harvey
Jun 10, 2019 · 5 min read

What would a #ChannelStrategy do for your business?

The modern buyer journey is evolving at a rapid pace. Consumers are no longer restricted to their local stores and service providers. Today, your clients can easily find dozens of solutions to their problems online. The only way to make sure that your company stays in business is to connect with your customers as frequently as possible.

A channel strategy is all about giving your organisation the exposure it needs. By carefully choosing the right channels for your promotional campaigns, you ensure that you’re building relationships with the right customers, without breaking your marketing budget.

The question is, with hundreds of potential channels to choose from, how do you select the right variety for your brand?

Here’s your guide to the ultimate channel surfing strategy.

What is channel strategy marketing?

Before you can begin adjusting your #MarketingPlan to focus on the right channels, you’ll need to understand what “channels” are in the current consumer journey.

In today’s ever-changing business world, there are plenty of ways for your customers to connect with your brand. For instance, some of your consumers might come to you through social media recommendations, while others find you because they’re searching online through Google. If you’re a new brand, you might even access help from other people to help expand your marketing potential, like influencers and advocates.

The channels you choose to define your advertising campaigns are the avenues that you feel are most likely to bring you face-to-face with your target audience.

In some cases, your channel strategy will involve deciding whether you’re going to advertise and sell your products directly or engage other people to do it for you. For instance, some businesses work with value-added resellers and distributors to help them connect with a wider range of B2B consumers. However, “indirect” sales are more common among companies selling products that require extra help to access and use.

For the most part, when people refer to channel marketing, they’re referring to the specific platforms’ companies use to speak to their audience, such as:

  • Offline retail and in-person marketing
  • Event marketing
  • Social media and forums
  • PR and partnerships
  • Influencer and word of mouth campaigns
  • Email marketing
  • SEM and SEO
  • PPC campaigns
  • Content marketing

How to create your channel strategy template

As consumer trends continue to change, and marketing strategies evolve, new channels seem to emerge all the time. Only a few years ago, no company would have thought about advertising their products and services on social media. Now, channels all the way from Instagram to LinkedIn have become a vital part of the advertising experience.

Since you’ll have a pre-set budget to consider when choosing your #MarketingChannels, it’s essential to make the right choices for your campaigns. Here are some of the ways that you can improve your chances of success.

1. Research your competition

While copying whatever your competitors do is rarely a good way to achieve success, a little research can be the key to your success. If you know that competitors in your industry are achieving massive success with their email marketing campaigns, then it stands to reason that your customers would respond to that channel too. You can even use tools like Google Alerts to see which keywords your competitors are using in their content and SEO campaigns.

Competitor analysis will give you the inspiration you need to start choosing marketing channels. However, it will also help if you’re looking for ways to differentiate yourself from people in your industry.

2. Understand your audience

While knowing your competition is crucial, understanding your audience is even more critical. The more you know about your target customers, the easier it will be to extend your marketing reach through the channels that they already appreciate and use.

Start by creating buyer personas that give you an in-depth look into the people you’re marketing to. Your personas will help you to decide whether your customers are more likely to read emails about your products or respond to you on social media, for instance. You can also listen to industry conversations, watch what your customers are talking about online, or consider sending questionnaires to pre-existing customers.

3. Remember the bigger picture

Finally, once you know everything there is to know about your audience and competitors, start building your distribution strategy with an eye on the overall consumer journey. Remember, your goal should be to connect with your customers at every crucial touchpoint in their decision-making adventure. If you know that your end-users need lots of information before they can make a purchase, ensure that you have FAQs on your website, a social media customer service team, and plenty of articles to answer their questions.

The key to success with great marketing campaigns isn’t just listing potential channels. You need to think about how each touchpoint in your channel strategy will come together to deliver a cohesive experience for your audience.

Get ready to master your channel marketing strategy

Ultimately, making the most of your #MarketingCampaign starts with understanding the changing consumer journey.

Today, making a sale is no longer as simple as it once was. Customers can find your brand in hundreds of different places both online and offline. The only way to make sure that they remember your brand, is to provide them with an incredible experience on the channels that matter most to them.

Importantly, very few companies today will be able to get away with focusing on a single marketing channel. As consumers continue to switch between multiple platforms and devices to engage with their favourite brands, you’ll need a strategy that keeps you connected with your audience from one touchpoint to another.

To learn more about marketing channels, and how you can use them to your advantage, check out our guide. Alternatively, for some guidance from your local marketing experts, reach out to the team at Fabrik!

Time to go channel surfing?

Steve Harvey

Written by

Co-owner of creative agency Fabrik Brands, London.

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