Not everyone sees data as “beautiful,” but lately around the Vladimir Jones office, we’ve been hearing that more and more. As we continue to improve the insights that drive our production, the data – both qualitative and quantitative – that we collect serves as the primary benchmark for the work we do. One of the most important applications for data and insights is channel strategy.
Channel strategy is the strategic roadmap we use to coordinate how production, content, and delivery mechanisms align to provide the biggest return on brand visibility and audience engagement possible within the scope of our efforts.
Building a solid channel strategy begins with collaboration with our partners to understand and help define the business and marketing goals they have and the benchmarks or milestones that will measure success. From here, it’s all about data and insight. Understanding the brand, the market, and the audience.
Understanding how a consumer engages with information relevant to the industries we represent not just online, but individually within each platform, is vital to developing a channel strategy. While many web platforms provide specific resources or function, the ways with which audiences engage with these resources varies between groups. The following four components are vital to developing a successful channel strategy:
- Start with the Science: Using existing studies, research where consumers spend most of their time, where they are most receptive to marketing, how they consume data, what they share, and what inspires them to connect with a brand or product. Understanding all consumer behaviors is the first step toward an informed strategy. Because consumer behavior varies depending on the product or service, it’s important to further refine the data by testing the conclusions relative to an audience through additional insight research or focus groups.
- Mapping Content and Channels: Every website can be distilled and defined as having a singular function and purpose: to deliver content, whether it’s copy, design, imagery, video, or audio. Clearly defining the content and channels where this data will live is an important step because it allows an organization to record, document, and clearly communicate performance. This ultimately helps to provide a big-picture view of how the content will work together as a cohesive campaign and reveals opportunities to keep users engaged across multiple channels, either through marketing methods like retargeting, or simply finding ways to predict what sites will be most likely to engage the user. When we see channels under- or over-performing, we react to ensure the content and channel are contributing to the success of overall campaign benchmarks and goals.
- Engage the Audience: One aspect of channel strategy that is often overlooked is the response plan – the brand’s engagement model within a given campaign. Being prepared to respond to positive, negative and neutral engagements will help further encourage additional interaction and impression. Creating a messaging model ensures you’re prepared for potential scenarios so they can be handled correctly and efficiently. We advise brands to encourage positive, discourage negative, and inform/welcome neutral interactions.
- Documenting Success: When strategy is clearly defined and the channels are compartmentalized, resulting data can be better understood. The value of knowing what worked well, what didn’t work, and what channels you found the most audience interest among can help inform future campaigns and add precision to the forecasts as well as define the value received as a result of the overall efforts.
Remember that every brand is different, every campaign is unique, and every channel has its own distinctive benefits and concerns to consider. When a channel strategy is structured well, these concerns become opportunities. Every effort and campaign improves as it is informed by data, and, most importantly, a coordinated effort that ensures you are going to maximize engagement.