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Hybrid Marketing in a Multichannel Communication World

Hybrid marketing is a combination of traditional and digital marketing, guided by hybrid strategy.

Traditional marketing refers to forms of marketing such as direct mailing, events, tradeshows & conferences, offline advertising and media public relations, collectively often referred to an “interruption marketing”.

Digital marketing includes website design and development, paid advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, content marketing and influencer marketing that are all considered “permission marketing.”

Hybrid marketing is not a fad or trend but is a necessary marketing approach in a multichannel communication world.

WHAT EXACTLY IS MULTICHANNEL COMMUNICATION?

Multichannel communication refers to all the platforms, channels and devices that allow people you to connect with anyone and make themselves heard from anywhere in the world. And, these communication channels exist both offline and online.

About 3.8 billion people around the world are using social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Customers can also communicate with you or share their thoughts about your brand on a variety of online and offline channels.

These other channels can include surveys, email, text messages, instant messaging, videos, blog comments, customer forums and telephone hotlines.

To make things even more difficult for businesses, each demographic and individual customer has different communication preferences.

A study by Morning Consult found that a full 88% of respondents say they have learned about products they are interested in buying through social media.

Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they have made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer. 60% of YouTube subscribers would follow advice on what to buy from their favourite YouTuber over a mainstream celebrity.

This plethora of communication channels has forever changed the customer journey. This is influenced further by the number of people becoming increasingly assimilated to the digital world. This includes both digital natives and digital immigrants.

The term ‘digital native’ was coined by Marc Prensky, an education consultant, in 2001. A digital native is someone raised in a digital, media-saturated world as opposed to a digital immigrant who was introduced to digital technology as an adult.

References:

“Engaging Gen Z and Millennials”, (Nov 2019). The Influence Report, Morning Consult.

Karp, Katie, “The value of Influencers on Twitter”, (May 2016). Twitter.com.

[O’Neil-Hart, Celie; Blumenstein, Howard, “Why YouTube Stars are More Influential than Traditional Celebrities”, (Jul 2016). Think with Google.

Hybrid Marketing Communication | Evolve & Adapt

THE ROLE OF HYBRID MARKETING

As the world continues to move online, businesses cannot rely on traditional marketing efforts to connect, engage and communicate with consumers.

As the lines between marketing, customer experience and sales channels are increasingly blurred, customers expect a consistent and seamless experience interacting with brands across all channels, platforms and devices.

A hybrid marketing strategy uses technology and digital transformation to create customer experiences across marketing, sales, customer service, product, operations and throughout the entire organization.

While the approach to marketing may have evolved, the core approach to business has not changed:

  • Create value (in the form of product or service) for the market.
  • Let people know this value exists.
  • Give people reasons to invest in this value.
  • Create a positive experience, so customers return and become advocates of the brand.

The core of business has not changed. Likewise, the fundamentals of marketing have not changed, as well.

However, what businesses have to do is to evolve and adapt their strategies and tactics by engaging customers on new online communication channels and platforms.

This is the role of hybrid marketing. From a strategic perspective, a business’ overall marketing strategy must be a hybrid one. This simply means thinking both traditionally and digitally as you develop your strategy.

If you are creating a digital product, think how offline channels and media can improve the customer experience.

Likewise, if you are developing a traditional physical product or offer an offline service, utilize digital platforms to enhance the customer’s experience transacting with your brand.

In terms of hybrid marketing tactics, here are some examples:

  • Handing out a printed flyer with a QR code that directs prospects to a landing page on a website to sign up for a discount offer.
  • Setting up a search ad campaign on Google to drive traffic to a website that offers redemption vouchers that can only be used in brick-and-mortar retail outlet or restaurant.
  • Holding an online contest on social media for tickets for a ticketed event that will also be streamed live.

A multichannel communication world also means your business should consider multichannel selling, such as making your product or service available for purchase via more than one platform.

It’s no longer viable to be online-only or in-store-only. Not only do retailers need to have a presence online, one needs to have a cohesive experience across multiple channels to allow customers to buy anywhere, anytime.

Online channels will include your webstore, online marketplaces (like eBay, Amazon and Esty) and social media like Facebook and Instagram. Offline channels like your brick-and-mortar store, wholesale distributing to other stores, pop-up shops and events.

So, is your business hybrid marketing yet?

J C Sum

J C Sum is a certified management consultant (TR 43:2015), an American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) in marketing management as well as a certified digital marketing strategist (SSG-WSQ accredited) with 11 years of experience specializing in search engine optimization, content marketing and analytics. He is the author of "Evolve, Adapt or Collapse" and has been featured on The Straits Times, Business Times, Channel News Asia, The Edge Singapore, CNA938 and Money FM 89.3.

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