Channel Planning – All you need to know
Let’s explore the secret recipe of channel planning. Key personas, pinpoints, types and the purpose to do the effective channel strategy.
The possibility to cut down costs, enhance efficiency, expand the market and increase customer satisfaction make businesses as productive as possible.
It has become increasingly challenging for businesses to sell products in one place and reach success rates. In businesses, a channel is a pathway through which goods or services flow from producers to consumers.
Therefore, it’s crucial to consider each point on the path to creating an all-inclusive picture of how goods are distributed. How do you align channel marketing? How can you improve customer experience to drive loyalty? How do you formulate a channel plan? Read on to know everything about channel planning.
Identify Key Personas
The foremost thing you should do is to identify the target audience. Develop a handful of customer personas that take along characters to life, draw on important information such as gender, age, career and family to gain an in-depth overview. From here, you can dig out more data and build these personas. It helps you identify the key insights from their behavior, interests, needs, and attitudes.
Pinpoint the Touchpoints
To develop a channel plan that delivers, you must understand when, where and how your customers will communicate with your brand. Once you identify these essential touchpoints of the consumers, it will assist you in creating a better framework for your strategy.
When speaking of brand discovery, millions of people watch advertisements on television or through various search engines. An extensive range of millennials finds brands through TV shows and movies.
Figure out the Optimal Channels
Your research will play an important role in telling you which channels you should probably target. This means identifying the channels your target consumers love to use from brand websites to social applications and TV. For instance, you must be familiar with what is trending on Twitter. By understanding which channels should be targeted, you can make a significant impact.
Develop the Right Content
Now you have an important set of data to define your consumers in detail, it’s time to create the best content for the right medium. This can range from audio-visuals posts and e-books to a sequence of display adverts. Knowing the right kind of content will work best for your business once you have evaluated the needs, behaviors, and perceptions of consumers in detail. You should find out what topics can influence your target audience such as education, entertainment, sports, etc.
A channel strategy is a seller’s plan for moving the products or services through the chain of commerce to the end customer.
Purpose of Channel Strategy
A channel approach is a business marketing plan for moving a product or a service through a series of commerce to the end customer. In the business-to-business (B2B) world, a channel strategy offers a great way to promote a company’s products or services to potential consumers. Businesses offering simple products require very little support on web sales as an effective channel strategy.
On the contrary, a company with a complicated line of products needs expertise and a high level of support to make sure customers receive a positive experience and find value for their money. In a broader setting, a channel strategy is an important component of the corporate’s go-to-market strategy that targets the market, determine the buyer, and presents the products’ value forth the channel plan.
Types of Channel Strategies
The direct channel is the simplest approach in which the seller directly sells to the consumer. The merchant may maintain its sales force to close deals with consumers or wholesale products or services through an e-commerce website. Direct selling through a catalog is another possibility, though the business has been significantly subsumed by e-commerce.
Merchants can pursue sales through indirect channels including one or more intermediaries. Indirect sales primarily include retail, which involves the selling process either through a physical store or an online retailing company or both. Moreover, businesses can sell through VARs, corporations proving overarching solutions for customers.
As soon as you create content, your next step should be deciding on how you are going to distribute it. To figure out, you need a content marketing channel plan that considers the factors discussed below.
This is the very first step to address the marketing channels. It lets you use the information from the engagement cycle mapping and persona considering the current situation to figure out the most impactful story. Perceptibly some existing marketing efforts such as website or blog will come into play. The idea is everything you need to effectively tell your story. Here you need to ask three important questions:
- What platforms you already have to tell the story such as social media networks, corporate materials, existing websites, blogs, etc.
- What change is required to tell this story? For instance, whether you need to redefine your social media strategy or design a separate blog
- What factors you should avoid telling this story such as do you need to stop using Instagram and focus more on the blog.
Out of this situational analysis, here comes the finance consideration and other prioritization factors that need to be considered.
Your content marketing will unavoidably overlay into your marketing channels. Here metrics make for an important consideration. These are the objectives that align with your story. For instance, you are running a contest on Facebook intending to get 5,000 subscribers by the next two months.
This is where you need to plan the objectives of the marketing channels according to the engagement cycle. Remember these play an important role to achieve the ultimate goals. Also, it’s great if a channel contributes to another channel. For instance, depending on the objectives of content marketing and the story you want to communicate, you can decide the foremost objective of the campaign resulting in loyal traffic to your content. If Facebook is your primary channel, it’s important to create a following and build as many likes as possible.
Let’s suppose you want to talk about a mobile channel. Your primary objective would be to build a great subscriber base to your website or blog. Now assume you are posting a lot of valuable and long-form content on your blog. Your initial content plan for the mobile channel would be probably to produce a shorter and mobile-specific content knowing that your mobile persona has bandwidth and time for a short version. Here you are fulfilling the contextual need of your mobile channel.
This is how you design the channel to the bigger story structure. This will typically take the form of a narrative or outline to organize the content plan for your channel. For example, if your foremost goal for the Facebook channel is to increase loyal traffic to your blog, you will want to build a community. Considering effective channel tactics, the first part of your content plan is to design an email marketing campaign or some other community-building action to increase your Facebook subscription.
The second part will focus on many subscribers, conversions, etc. to help you refocus your content and drive certain personas to your blog. Now if we talk about the content management process, you need to make sure that you will need a strategy and process to manage the content for this particular channel. Here you must know what you are going to manage, who will do it and how?
One of the most important plans for channel planning is to have a well-researched and thorough editorial plan. The plan will have a global editorial calendar. Though it doesn’t mention all the dates or times. One important purpose of the editorial plan is to define desired action, pace, tone and structure for the content of the channel. Once again we will consider the example of the Facebook page. Below we have listed the set of defined goals:
- Velocity: Five posts per day
- Tone: Interactive, information, funny, friendly, etc.
- Desired action: You want users to click through to the blog
- Structure: 15-25 words per post in addition to images and conversion link
Channel planning is about demonstrating business value and influence, increase internal awareness, and build cross-functional associations. The strategic channel planning helps in delivering aligned channel marketing strategy, meet channel objectives, and indirect sales business.
Above we have discussed research and important factors for marketing activities, business strategy, and a way to achieve ultimate marketing goals through effective channel planning.