5 Reasons To Have A Balanced Channel Portfolio

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Although some digital marketing channels can be viewed as more efficient than others; it is important to manage a balanced portfolio of online channels to maximize results of any digital marketing campaign. Similar to traditional marketing methods, the correct combination of both 'push' and 'pull' marketing techniques is necessary in forming an effective digital marketing strategy. Push digital marketing is when customers are provided information by receiving or viewing advertisements digitally, such as: SMS, RSS, mobile camapigns etc., or subscribing to the latest product and service information provided by the company. Pull digital marketing is when the customer seeks information about products and/or services by visiting the company’s sources of information.[1] This information is easily accessible and typically located in websites, blogs, mobile applications, streaming audio and video sources.[2]

The 5 main reasons to use both 'push' and 'pull' techniques through a balanced channel portfolio are outlined below.[3]

1. Every Channel has PROS & CONS

Each marketing channel has positive and negative elements which must be considered when allocating budget.

Search Engine Marketing
SEM investment is generally based on a cost per click basis and is thus considered measurable, non-intrusive, highly targeted and acts as a positive facilitator for site optimization.
On the downside, SEM is limited for branding, and posseses less credibility than search engine optimization. SEM must be consistent, as no investment translates to no consumer traffic. There is also high competition for generic keywords and using such common references can lead to cannibalization of organically routed traffic.

Search Engine Optimization
The greatest benefit of SEO is that it is free. There is high credibility attached to performing an effective and sustained SEO strategy and techniques which generally result in an increased volume of consumer traffic and an improved quality score in the eyes of search engine algorithms. However, on the negative side, SEO relies on using a limited number of keywords and results are difficult to measure as they do not take effect immediately. SEO is also highly dependent on Google algorithms which can change over time, and thus the impact of every SEO change may not be realized.

Social Media Marketing
SMM provides a large platform for the fastest growing online audience, with a high level of consumer engagement and hyper-targeting possibilities. Social sites such as Facebook and Twitter foster network collaboration, which cultivates the viral effect and increases brand credibility when products or services are recommended by a trusted source. On the other hand, consumers when visiting social sites are generally not in a purchasing mood, and so bottom line results are slow to obtain. SMM is significantly less measurable than SEM, and offers no guarantee of success. Brands have no control over what consumers say about them, and therefore require constant online monitoring from an in-house community manager, a skill in serious demand and one which increases operating costs.

Mobile Marketing
With the huge increase in smartphone usage across the globe, mobile marketing is now more effective than ever.[4] Users are always 'switched on', and brands can create campaigns with a unique user experience to engage consumers. Mobile platforms provide targeted geo-marketing possibilities, and the ability to include social features through mobile applications.
However, even with the abundance of competing apps on the market; mobile marketing is still underdeveloped, as the technique is limited to high-end devices. It can be costly to develop a number of applications necessary to be compatible with several platforms, and marketers are faced with small screen sizes and limited functionality abilities.

2. Synergies & Dependencies Exist Among Channels

Rather than substitutes, digital channels are complimentary as they each serve different purposes and can be used for different objectives. For example, optimizing the synergies between SEO and SMM has multiple effects that lead to a more effective marketing budget allocation by increasing the brand performance in realtime and social search:
  • SMM increases brand awareness and can attract new users through niche content by linking to the main site
  • High relevance and popularity achieved through viral capabilities in SMM increases the click through rate
  • The higher the click through rate the higher quality score which results in improved ranking in search engines
The Multi-Channel Funnels from Google Analytics measures the impact and effectiveness of various channel performances in consumer conversion rates.[5]

3. Marginal Efficiency Decreases When Volume Increases

Over emphasis on one digital marketing channel can create decreasing returns. An increase in spending past the tipping point to saturation not only dilutes the message being conveyed but can lead to a situation where dollars are not optimized, therefore spending across multiple channels is more effective for marketers to optimize every penny spent to receive bigger returns.

4. Ability to Reach Different Consumer Profiles

People consume media in different ways and have preference for specific media channels; depending on the age, personality and purchasing habits, some prefer reading blogs, others prefer to be updated via Twitter or Facebook, some consumers embrace mobile technology while others search for products only via authorized websites. For example, social media channels are used to enhance brand awareness through virality and to create a personal connection with consumers, however only very specific market segments are reached through this medium. Alternatively SEO and SEM are more effective when attracting new customers and produce high-quality leads accross a number of demographic segments.

5. Diversifies Risk & Reduces Dependency of Individual Channels

A multiple digital channel strategy helps companies to reach the same customer through different mediums, and reinforces branding messages across multiple platforms. It gives marketers the chance to connect with the target audience and deliver messages in the most effective manner. Therefore, using multiple channels reduces risk for companies as it reduces the dependency on one single channel.

See Also

  1. Why Is SEM Important
  2. Why is Viral Marketing important
  3. What are the synergies between SEM and SEO
  4. •Synergies between search, social media and mobile marketing


  1. ^ http://david-r-wetzel.suite101.com/digital-marketing-strategies-a54789
  2. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_marketing
  3. ^ Slides used in class by Professor David Gracia, IE Business School IMBA 2011, Digital Marketing Elective
  4. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_marketing
  5. ^ http://www.google.com/analytics/analytics-funnels.html