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Difference Between Single Channel and Multi Channel Marketing

Marketing efforts differ with brands. While some choose to go ham on the marketing efforts, utilizing every single opportunity available, others utilize only one channel. Why put all your eggs in one basket, you may ask. Despite the differences between single-channel marketing and multi-channel marketing, the two are popular. Their usage, however, is based on a brand’s goal, marketing budget as well as the availability of other resources. In this article, we provide into insight of the difference between the two. 

What is Single channel?

This is the use of one channel to market a company’s products and services. As such the brand’s communication is centered on the chosen channel. This could be an online channel, traditional retail, face to face selling or catalogue.

Advantages of using single-channel marketing strategy include;

  • It is cost-efficient as brands only utilize one marketing channel
  • It helps build a loyal customer base
  • It is simple to operate in terms of tracking inventory, customer service and shipping inventory. 

It, however, has disadvantages including;

  • It may not be as speedy in response as needed
  • It is difficult to keep up with technological development while using one channel, hence the marketing efforts do not reach the optimum customer base
  • The brand loses its prospective customers who use alternative marketing channels

What is Multi-channel?

This is the use of more than one channel for brands marketing and communication. This method accommodates where, how and when consumers make purchases, and focuses on ensuring the products or services are available when needed. It hence makes it easy for consumers to shop. The multi-channel marketing strategy also enhances a firms’ ability to reach current customers and also reach a wider number of prospective consumers.  

The advantages of the multi-channel marketing strategy include;

  • The presence of the brand to its consumers on different channels boosts chances of sales
  • Due to the exposure to new markets, it is easy to reach new customers  
  • A brand can focus on target selling, considering some products sell better on different targeted marketplaces
  • The brand reduces the chances of fake products in the market as its products are readily available 

Despite the advantages, there are various disadvantages including;

  • It is expensive to operate as many resources are required
  • Inventory level complications may arise as a result of many sales. While this should essentially not be a problem to the brand, consumers may shift to another product in instances where a product is sold out
  • Managing customer service could be problematic for a brand. Using a good system improves customer service services

Multi-channel marketing needs good organizational skills, discipline, infrastructure and resources. Brands should also ensure consistency with the availability, product details and pricing across the different channels. 

Similarities between Single-channel and Multi-channel marketing

  • Both are marketing strategies aimed at increasing the customer base

Differences between Single-channel and multi-channel marketing

Definition

Single channel marketing refers to the use of one marketing channel to market a company’s products and services. On the other hand, multi-channel marketing refers to the use of more than one channel for brands marketing and communication. 

Cost-efficiency

While single-channel is cost-efficient as it uses one marketing channel, multi-channel is expensive to operate and maintain. 

Customer base

Single-channel has a narrow customer reach while multi-channel has a wide customer reach. 

Organizational complexity

While single-channel is simple to operate in terms of tracking inventory, customer service and shipping inventory, multi-channel requires good organizational infrastructure and discipline.  

Single channel marketing vs. Multi channel marketing: Comparison Table

Summary of Single-channel marketing vs. Multi-channel marketing

Single-channel marketing refers to the use of one marketing channel to market a company’s products and services. Although cost-effective and simple to operate in terms of tracking inventory, customer service and shipping inventory, it has a narrow customer reach. On the other hand, multi-channel marketing refers to the use of more than one channel for brands marketing and communication. It has a wide customer reach, despite the cost-inefficiencies and organizational complexity. Although the choice of a marketing strategy depends on a brand’s preference, it is advisable to use several marketing channels to avoid being outdated and reach a larger market share, especially in the current technological advancement era. 


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References :


[0]Bruce Keillor. Marketing in the 21st Century: Interactive and multi-channel marketing, Volume 2. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=z1xclowKSdQC&pg=PA131&dq=Difference+between+single+channel+and+multi-channel+marketing&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwisgfmjsoHpAhUZGsAKHXyyBmIQ6AEILjAB#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20single%20channel%20and%20multi-channel%20marketing&f=false

[1]Buck M & Conrady R. Trends and Issues in Global Tourism 2008. Springer Science & Business Media, 2008. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=jx8blroadUgC&pg=PA171&dq=Difference+between+single+channel+and+multi-channel+marketing&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwisgfmjsoHpAhUZGsAKHXyyBmIQ6AEIQDAD#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20single%20channel%20and%20multi-channel%20marketing&f=false

[2]Swapnil & Kumar. Supply Chain Management Strategies and Risk Assessment in Retail Environments. IGI Global Publishers, 2017. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=7Ow_DwAAQBAJ&pg=PA101&dq=Difference+between+single+channel+and+multi-channel+marketing&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwisgfmjsoHpAhUZGsAKHXyyBmIQ6AEISDAE#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20single%20channel%20and%20multi-channel%20marketing&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Services_marketing#/media/File:Environmental_psychology_model.jpg

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Multi_Channel_Tag_Cloud_-5.png

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