On the surface, the proliferation of digital channels seems like a boon to professional marketers—more ways to reach your target audience should mean new opportunities to deliver a compelling message or offer, and to deepen the customer connection and boost sales. But there's more to channels than access. Here we take a look at the evolving channel-scape, and how to focus on improving the customer experience across all channels.
Let's start with a clear definition of channels, as used in the context of marketing. A marketing channel is the place where the brand meets the customer. (See Figure 14.1.) It's a platform, chosen by the customer or the brand, that deploys content based on what is known about the customer and related circumstances along with associated business rules—all to enable the customer's interaction with a brand (ideally at an atomic moment of truth).
As we all know, channels have been evolving rapidly during the past dozen years or so.
Historically, marketers thought of channels as broadcast, direct mail, and print, because those were the first channels we had available to us. Or there were also more human-focused channels, like branch sales, retail ...