Even if you weren’t screaming at the movie screen on the opening night of “Avengers: Infinity War” or “Avengers: Endgame” (like I was), you’ve probably seen the infamous Infinity Gauntlet. It’s a huge golden glove given infinite power by six magical Infinity Stones.
Yep, that’s the one.
But did you know that you, a digital marketing expert, can build your own Infinity Gauntlet? It’s all about gathering the “Infinity Stones” — or, in this case, the multiple channels involved in a single marketing campaign. It’s called multichannel marketing, and it’s your path to world domination. (As long as no pesky Avengers get in the way, that is.)
Here’s how to make multichannel marketing your superpower.
What Is Multichannel Marketing?
At its core, multichannel marketing is about choosing and utilizing the channels that will appeal to your customers most effectively. As you’ve probably guessed, it’s a bit more complicated than single-channel marketing, because each different channel of distribution has its own rules, content types and even inside jokes.
For example, users on the social media blogging site Tumblr have long teased Twitter users, while Twitter users have very clear opinions about Tumblr. While you likely won’t be marketing on Tumblr, it’s still helpful to know how this relationship impacts audience members who may be on Twitter.
A multichannel marketing campaign also involves a lot of cross-departmental cooperation. You’ll need input from social media strategists, video and animation experts, graphic designers and even content writers. Think of it like building your own team of Avengers — who will, in turn, help you build your Infinity Gauntlet.
What does a multichannel strategy look like, you ask? To find out, let’s look at one brand — Marvel — and how they share similar messages across multiple channels:
100 years of dreaming. 100 years of creating. 100 years of Stan Lee.— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) December 28, 2022
Stan Lee, an Original documentary, is streaming 2023 on @DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/7MlWtP1IVD
This Tweet is short and sweet, but its repetitive sentence-fragment structure evokes just the right level of nostalgia.
This blog post gets comfortable in its longer-form structure, sharing a list of Stan Lee’s cameos in Marvel movies — including pictures and fun captions.
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The Power of Using More Than One Channel
Here’s the thing about Infinity Stones. One stone by itself is plenty powerful — so powerful, in fact, that most mortal beings can’t even touch them without disintegrating in a colorful burst of energy. However, Thanos — the main villain of “Infinity War” and “Endgame” — only becomes unstoppable when he unites them all.
When you use one channel, you’re strong. When you use multiple channels, you’re so powerful you could take on the Avengers with one hand tied behind your back.
Here are a few more benefits of multichannel marketing:
The average social media user could engage with all kinds of platforms. That means you could be running into the same people across multiple channels — which, in turn, means you have more opportunities to get their attention in slightly different ways.
On the other hand, some people — like yours truly — are only interested in one social media platform at a time. Because you might not always know which platform your target audience prefers, it’s safest to spend a little time on all of the major ones.
When you use more than one marketing channel in your campaign, you get a much broader variety of customer data. You’ll have a better view of your audience, how they respond to your messaging and what encourages them to engage — and that doesn’t just help sell your product or service. It also helps inform every future marketing campaign and allows you to use each platform more effectively.
One marketing channel may favor well-written paragraphs while another is designed for visual assets. If you use a single channel, then, you’ll be limited to whichever kind of content your platform prefers; use multiple, however, and you can experiment with different content types and structures.
Although I only pulled examples from 2 of Marvel’s marketing channels, you know they have about a million — including Facebook, Instagram and even TikTok. They’re everywhere — and in this digital age, that’s a big sign of credibility. (Hint: Multichannel marketing also makes it easier for customers to get in contact with you in whichever way they prefer!)
Your brand has a story to tell — multiple, in fact. The only problem is that different customers will likely respond to different parts of your storytelling. If you use multiple channels, you can optimize your social media content marketing to meet the expectations of each audience segment. For example, you might show the professional side of your story on LinkedIn and the fun side on Instagram.
Multichannel Magic: Choosing The Right Channels
The idea behind the Infinity Stones is that each one has a specialized function. For example, the Time Stone allows you to manipulate time at your will, while the Space Stone allows you to teleport just about anywhere you want. It’s easy to see how uniting all this power in one Infinity Gauntlet would make the wielder almost unstoppable.
The same is true when it comes to utilizing multiple channels. Each channel has unique strengths, especially when it comes to social media — so if you can combine them into a single marketing campaign, you’ll be able to connect with potential customers on entirely new levels.
Twitter’s infamous 280-character limit — including hashtags, punctuation, spaces and emojis — makes it a poor choice for long paragraphs and detailed explanations. Instead, Twitter’s strength lies in brevity and visual content.
Use Twitter when you have a hard-hitting question, statistic or statement, or when you want to focus on emojis, videos and images.
You might think Facebook has lost its place as social media royalty, but it’s still a popular social network. This channel is best for conversational writing and a mix of content formats — and although you won’t have to worry about a tight character limit, it’s still best to keep your posts short and to the point.
Use Facebook when you have slightly longer-form information to share or want to communicate more casually.
Instagram is all about visual content marketing. The character limit for captions is significantly longer than Twitter’s, but the platform is primarily used to view photos and videos — which means written content might not get as much traction.
Use Instagram when you have eye-catching visuals that are easy to consume and engage with.
TikTok is somewhat of a “new kid on the block,” and its generally younger audience goes through distinct and short-lived trends. If you want to keep up, you’ll need to post short videos that are fun, upbeat and immediately interesting.
Use TikTok when you want to give your brand or message a trendy, youthful image by sharing quick videos.
If you want to get in touch with professionals, this is the place. Keep in mind that, although LinkedIn posts with images get 2x higher engagement, this likely isn’t the best platform for memes, jokes or sarcasm. Instead, you’ll want to stay simple and organized, but approachable and welcoming.
Use LinkedIn when you have industry-specific statistics, job postings or any other content that will boost your professionalism.
While there’s a limit to the kind of content you can post on YouTube, there’s not much of a length limit. (Has anyone else listened to a 10-hour loop of “Easy Street” by The Collapsible Hearts as a reference to that one episode of “The Walking Dead” from like 10 years ago? Just me? OK, cool.) YouTube shorts allow you to communicate quick points, ideas or jokes, while longer videos enable explanations, detailed demos and more.
Use YouTube when you want to focus primarily on video content of any length.
Email is an often-overlooked channel because, while it has a significant role to play in just about any marketing campaign, it isn’t as social as Instagram, Twitter and all their friends. That’s no reason to overlook email campaigns, though. They’re great for talking to one customer at a time, whereas social media is more about mass messaging.
Use email when you’re promoting a webinar, distributing your newsletter or offering a personalized promotion or asset to a specific customer.
Your website is, in many ways, your Gauntlet itself. It combines all these smaller Infinity Stones and allows you to unite your multichannel marketing in one place. There’s also no limit to what, when and how you can post — but keep in mind that websites tend to be informative, while social media is more about engagement.
Use your website when you’re writing blog posts, sharing videos hosted on other sites, displaying your product catalogs or otherwise conducting digital business.
Tips for A Strong Multichannel Marketing Strategy
Spoiler alert: Thanos dies. Even with the Infinity Gauntlet, he wasn’t able to overcome the power of friendship, which is mostly what the Avengers brought to the battlefield.
The good news is that you’re not Thanos. You brought a team together, worked hard to unite the Infinity Stones and probably aren’t trying to destroy half of all living things through the power of multichannel marketing — which means you’re using the much better, far less evil Gauntlet built by Iron Man himself. In the end, you win.
But only if you have a good distribution channel strategy.
Here are a few tips to keep your multichannel campaign in check:
1. Choose Your Channels
You don’t have to grab up every Infinity Stone that comes your way. Instead, choose the marketing channels that make the most sense for your brand, messaging and customer base. For example, if you’re all about being serious and professional, you might not be comfortable on TikTok — but LinkedIn and Facebook may be a better fit.
2. Stay Consistent
It’s not always easy to keep up with so many different social media platforms and digital marketing channels, but the last thing you want to do is let any of them go stagnant. If users see that your last post was several months ago, you’ll lose credibility in their eyes, and your overall customer experience will suffer. Create a post schedule and use automated tools to publish content for you — that way, you don’t overextend yourself.
3. Know Your Voice
Every platform has different “rules,” so a joke that works on Twitter might not go over well on TikTok. Know the language of your chosen channels — and, more importantly, how to adapt your voice to fit each landscape. Even if you show your fun side on Twitter and your chatty side on your website, make it clear that these are two sides of the same coin.
Master Multichannel Marketing
Look, I’m not saying a multichannel marketing strategy will make you stronger than the Avengers. I’m also not saying it will help you “snap” away the competition. All I’m saying is that, if you gather the right marketing channels and use them effectively, you could be one of the most powerful marketers ever to walk the digital landscape.
Just don’t go mad with power. I have the Avengers on speed-dial and I’m not afraid to call them.