Song Rattanavong provides insights into how offline and online marketing strategies must co-exist and work together to optimize the return for a business.

All right. Let’s get started. Thanks for joining me today on our weekly webinar series.

I recently attended the Search Marketing Expo conference in New York this past month. I found that the recurring theme, even though the conference was focused on search marketing, was how to maximize or optimize a business’ multichannel marketing strategies. So I thought today would be a good touchpoint on that subject. This week, I’m gonna provide some insight into what I learned and how offline and online marketing strategies must coexist, work together to optimize return for that business for the local location.

A little bit about myself, again, thanks for joining me, taking the time out of your busy schedules, I always value the time I get when talking to our partners. I’m Song Rattanavong, the Director of Sales here at Vendasta. I’ve had the pleasure to work with some of the largest partners, some of our largest partners and national brands that we work with.

A little bit about Vendasta. We currently partner with over 500 organizations globally while working with their 5000 salespeople on the street. Our software has been essential in selling foundational solutions to over 400,000 local businesses. Our platform, of course, helps agencies sell more of what they are already selling and our products provide local marketing solutions to businesses to manage their online presence. For the latest product updates, please join our email marketing product insider updates, it’ll also help you stay in touch with what’s going on here, our product improvements, as well as provides helpful advice and tips when using or selling our solutions to your customers and clients.

So let’s get started with today’s webinar. A lot of talk in the marketing industry is around the effectiveness of online marketing strategies. It’s created new solutions for agencies in the world of digital. This, of course, include SEO and search engine marketing. It’s also cropped up a lot of new marketing companies that solely focus on digital marketing solutions.

That being said, we know that local businesses spend billions of dollar annually on traditional marketing services such as radio, television and print. Today, I’m gonna touch on why having a strategy that encompasses the entire marketing mix is essential for local businesses to achieve success.

So, what is multichannel marketing? It is defined as communication with, and marketing to prospects and customers across many channels, online and offline. What this means is instead of running a marketing campaign and using one medium such as TV or radio, businesses need to connect with their customers on the mediums and devices that they want to use. Which means lots and lots of places, of course, right? Think about your own habits. We are inundated with messages every day, whether they be on television, radio or billboard ads. And this, of course, leads to the online channels such as email, websites and social platforms like Facebook. It never ends and it’s consumed on numerous screens and devices.

A business’ marketing strategy no longer can, or should, utilize one channel. The ones who identify the channels their target audiences are using and understand how their customers move from one to another by creating a seamless experience, will ultimately see more success in converting opportunities, those people looking for your products, into sales.

So, one thing we all have to understand is that the consumer’s path to purchase journey is not a linear one. It’s not a straight line. It usually involves a lot of channels online, websites, blogs and social. And offline, word of mouth, talking to a friend or family, flyers and, of course, TV and radio ads. The one recurring theme is that it always leads to an online search or research online.

This, of course, leads to more searches of that product and services that the persona wants to buy. So awareness begins with a stimulus. It could happen anywhere. It could happen in a TV ad, it could happen talking to friends or family, it could happen in a print ad or a flyer. It could even happen at work or at a backyard barbecue. Once you have this interest, you know, it tends to lead to a lot of research. People wanna find the best options. You know, they wanna know whether or not to purchase the item based upon factors such as price. You know, what does it cost, what’s the quality of the product, and their needs.

Once the research is done, we’ve all done this, and the facts are weighed out, a decision is made whether or not to purchase that product. Of course, depending upon the value of the product, the research process can take many days or many months. As marketers, it’s our job to convince the consumer to purchase the product or service from our customers or our clients over the businesses that provide the same type of product or item.

Google research has determined that many types of ad platforms will prompt a search. Surprisingly, if you look the top one, the top ad format that leads to research is direct mail. I wouldn’t have thought that at…you know, 35% of the time when there’s an interest, people are going online and doing their research. Even though 3 of the top 5 formats are digital, TV, newspaper and magazine ads are still in the top 10 and lead to further research for that product or service. So it’s imperative that a business incorporates marketing strategies at the local level using offline, whatever they’re doing offline, whether it be TV, radio or print, they replicate that experience online. So these promotions or these value propositions that they have in their traditional marketing mix, they need to be incorporated on their website, the reviews that they’re receiving and any search engine marketing that they’re doing.

If a business has a promotion offline and then they incorporate that and they want to encourage the consumer down the path to purchase. Of course, we all know this graph, Google Zero Moment of Truth, it identifies the importance of online search to a customer’s journey or path to purchase. Once the purchase is made, it doesn’t end there. It never does. It’s always the second moment on the truth begins and the cycle recurs once again. Of course, people leave reviews, these reviews are important for repeat customers, attracting new customers. They’re the new word of mouth, they’re the new referrals and they’re how customers and consumers are leaving feedback for those local businesses.

So it’s an important part of understanding why our product is important and why Zero Moment of Truth is important. So why is understanding multichannel marketing important? Well, ensuring a business’ marketing messages are consistent will increase their chances of conversion and getting new customers. Businesses that use multichannel marketing are not only gonna attract more customers, they attract higher value customers. These customers are willing to spend three to four more times what a consumer that only uses one channel. What this means is, of course, is consumers spend more time researching things that are typically higher ticket items such as cars, homes or other luxury goods.

So I wanna talk a little about my experience. Of course, we’ve all had similar experiences. It began with me looking for a barbecue. My barbecue had come to the end of its life. It was in horrible shape. It was all rusted up, it only had one burner working. I needed to make sure I was watching it closely not to start a fire. So it wasn’t a great experience. So it was time for a new one. It was time for a change. I didn’t wanna buy just any barbecue. I thought I’d spend a little bit more and get a good barbecue. Get a quality barbecue. Of course, you know, going back and thinking about it, you know, the brands that came to mind, that I’d heard through ads and friends was Weber and Napoleon. So, of course, it was time to do a little research.

When I went online and did the search of Napoleon versus Weber, well, what came up was more information about barbecues than I ever knew existing. I spent hours reading blogs, checking out barbecue forums, which I didn’t even know existed, reading reviews and prices and checking out prices on numerous sites. I even went to a site like Craigslist in Canada, it’s called Kijiji, to see if I could find a good used one. I not only did it on my phone, but of course, I used many devices. The research was not done on just one device, but sometimes many at the same time. I’d be watching television and use both my phone and laptop all at once, depending upon, you know, which one created the better experience. And I know you’re all doing it as well, I think I heard a recent stat that like almost 50% of the time, people have at least one device near them at all times.

Meanwhile, there are a bunch of distractions. Not only was I doing my research on, of course, on devices, these devices are super disruptive. They create many distractions along the way. I was also checking on my fantasy football team, checking out Facebook and my email, watching television, asking friends and family online about their experiences. The list goes on and on with all the distractions that we go through. And our focus changes from, of course, from minute to minute, from day to day. Our lack of focus typically lends to a longer sales cycle or purchase cycle. And sometimes, we never even make the decision unless there’s a compelling argument that can be made to buy that product or service.

Once I decided to buy a product or service, once I decided to finally buy that barbecue, you know, it was a decision. I had to make a decision on who to buy it from. Well, after looking at some local reviews, I looked for local businesses that sold that barbecue that I was looking for and reading up on the reviews of those local businesses. You know, I wanted to buy it from someone locally because if I had any issues, you know, I could take it back and they could fix it. Of course, when I’m looking at local businesses, I’m reading their reviews. I wanna make sure that they’re nearby, where are they located, what’s their phone number and what are people saying about them online? This helped me decide eventually who to choose.

It took me six months. But six months later, I went with the Napoleon due to the price, the quality and the ability to get it from a local business. So I guess the moral of the story is that there is never a clear path to purchase and research can take time, but the message that a business portrays must be consistent across all channels. For retailers selling certain brands or products, it must be prominent across all their marketing channels, their website, their emails, TV and radio and, of course, their search marketing strategies.

There are many businesses carrying these products and services, and in this case, this brand of barbecue. So make it easy for them to find them, find those businesses, and by doing so, make sure that the reviews that they’re reading are positive. This will only increase their chances of being at the end of that path to purchase or the business that they buy this product from.

So the steps to getting this right. Well, one thing as marketers, we need to have a single view of the customers, of our customers. We need to know…we know that customers often interact with a business in a variety of ways that involve more than just one channel. So understanding how your customers behave across all channels and knowing a customer’s value will help increase success when utilizing or using these channels.

Two, establish a multichannel marketing strategy with your customers and your clients. Understand what they are doing offline as you wanna replicate that online to attract new customers. We no longer need to develop a digital marketing strategy, rather we should develop a marketing strategy in a digital world. By establishing a multichannel marketing strategy, you’ll be able to integrate offline to online channels. It will be easier. In doing so, you will be able to simplify the execution of cross channel marketing campaigns. The results, of course, will be reaching the right people, providing them with the right offer, on the right channel, at the right time. This will improve the effectiveness and the performance of your client’s marketing efforts.

And the third thing is create a consistent customer experience across all these channels. A customer’s experience is one of the most effective and competitive differentiators a business can have. While the quality of the customer’s experience is important, consistency is equally important. People’s experiences are not based on one event, they can take place offline as much as online. Whether the interactions are online, in a store, or over a phone, or all of the above, each experience must be a positive one. If a channel is not part of the entire marketing mix, businesses run the risk of turning away their potential customers.

So let’s go back to the importance again of this Zero Moment of Truth. How can we help our customers achieve success offline and online? It all starts with that interest and they’re gonna do some research to see, you know, where to buy the products and services from. Our foundational solutions are gonna help them manage their virtual doorway and create a seamless customer experience that will attract new business. So the first thing when managing a business’ virtual doorway is our goal is to help them address the issues with their listings. The pillars of the virtual doorway should mirror the marketing strategies businesses are utilizing offline. So if their print ads are focused on products and services, or their promotions have the same messages, these messages need to be conveyed online as well. The pillars need to be consistent so that their business listings across the web, social marketing, their website, they all look the same when people are doing research and doing a search.

The first thing we wanna do is to make sure that they’re easily found on the internet and that the business name, address, phone number and website are 100% accurate across the board. This, of course, is important for their SEO score and is based upon accuracy that Google sees and the ability for them to show up on that magic three or whatever Google is calling it nowadays. The information that you wanna provide the client is not only just name, address and phone number, you also wanna provide them with that enhanced content. This can include payment methods, this can include services that they provide, brands that they sell and a business description. So all that needs to be incorporated when having a listing strategy for your customers.

So here’s an example of a local business that I’ve worked with in the past. Ultimo is a clothing store here with lots of great brands, they provide exceptional customer service. As you can see, when someone, you know, does a search for this business, not only does the relevant contact information show up, so do all their reviews on sites like Facebook. Creating a positive customer experience to move them…to move the consumer, the customer down the path to purchase is crucial for getting that person’s business. We want to make it easy for people to get to the next step. That could be going to the business’ web site, finding directions or calling them.

Of course, reviews play a huge part in converting potential customers into new customers or new business. With 85% of all buying decisions made based upon online reviews, they’re everything. Reviews are the new word of mouth. They not only prove…improve your SEO and page ranking, it really is how we make our buying decisions for any product or service that we purchase. This goes back, again, to my experience in buying the right barbecue. After reading a number of reviews, it helped me decide who to buy it from.

If reviews mention a product or service that those customers provide, this tends to lead better for search results and help at improving with converting new customers down the path to purchase. There are themes that keep coming up in these customer reviews. I mean, these themes should be a part of the business’ marketing strategy online and off. For the example here, if clients keep mentioning the great brands that they buy from them, or jeans, in this case this should be part of their business’ marketing messages whether they be doing print, radio or news…or television.

And, of course, a successful social media campaign has three components. One is customer service. It allows you to be able to respond to your customers in an easy way or the platform that they choose. Two is it generates new leads or new customers. And three, it helps build fans so that they can spread your message.

Social is a great way…I mean, I love Facebook, it’s a great way to amplify the business’ marketing message. Facebook is great for reaching customers and, as we all know, it shows up in search now. We saw examples of Facebook reviews and the business’ Facebook page showing up on the first page of that Google Search for them. It’s ideal that a business not only monitors their page, they maintain it and keep it up to date. So have interesting and relevant content that pertains to the products and services that they provide. Almost everyone I know is on Facebook. Even if you’re not though, consumers will be able to view that page. So businesses need to make sure that any promotions and offers that they are doing show up on these relevant sites.

And then finally, their website. Well, according to Google, the most sought after information on a businesses’ website is their phone number, is a business’ phone number, their address and hours of operation. From my previous experience, it was extremely frustrating when using my phone and trying to get information if it wasn’t mobile responsive. Having a device-responsive website is not only…is not something that a business should want to have, it’s something that they must have. It’s crucial for their success. It’s also one of the most important criteria now when it comes to your search engine ranking, as it factors in…as Google factors in the user experience for that person on a mobile device. So no longer can we say, you know, we don’t need to have a mobile-responsive website. It’s a must. These clients need to have it if they want to win that customer’s business.

And here’s an example of why it’s important to have a well-indexed website. According to Google, you know, it’s showing that the website is indexed properly will increase that search engine optimization your customers are looking for. What this means is making sure Google recognizes the products and services that they provide. So if it’s men’s clothing or women’s clothing, that needs to show up in the search. This is only gonna help the business with their search engine ranking, but it will also improve the site’s SEO and conversions of new customers. If you make it easy for Google to find them, then, of course, you’re gonna make it easy for consumers to find them as well.

And another important thing is by listing the products and services that the businesses provide, this will improve the chances of getting found when they’re not searching directly for that business, but searching for the brands and services from local businesses. So if a business is promoting products offline, these products should be indexed properly on the business’ website so that when people are searching for that product or service or that brand, they’re coming up on the first page of Google Search. Our ultimate goal is to help consumers find the products and services they are looking for and make sure that our clients are getting the business from those customers.

So some of my final thoughts from today’s presentation are my experience at the Search Marketing Expo in New York. Multichannel marketing, of course, is critical for businesses to attract new customers and get recurring business by staying top of mind. It is crucial that local businesses provide a similar and positive experience across all their channels. Online messages and strategies need to mirror what businesses are trying to accomplish online.

So on that final note, I wanna thank everyone for joining me today. I appreciate your time. My name is Song Rattanavong. I’m the Director of Sales here at Vendasta. Signing off from sunny Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, have a profitable week and keep on keeping on. If you wanna get a hold of me, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to either send me an email or give me a call. Till then, have a great week.

Song Rattanavong

Song Rattanavong

Director of Product Sales

Song Rattanavong has been selling B2B solutions since 2005 with a simple mantra: if you do what's best for your clients, increased sales will follow. Having worked with a number of A list brands such as MTV, Puma, and VISA, this Canadian with a Laos ancestry and a Thai name has acquired a sales approach that is just as multidimensional. When he is not on a sales call helping his clients make money — yep, we see the irony in that, but hey, that's how we roll — he can be found either on a golf course or a soccer pitch.

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