137 Channels for Marketing, Sales and Service: Six New Updates
I’ve added several new channels to the All Channel Excel spreadsheet including vending machines, dash buttons, drones, media/analyst briefings, investor relations, APIs and desktop/mobile wallpapers.
Each channel comes with its Channel Index score:
Vending and Gaming Machines (7/10)
These machines provide both increased brand visibility in public spaces but also create a transactional point of sale. A classic example is the Coca-Cola or Pepsi branded vending machines that are found globally.
More recent and inventive ideas have included BestBuy vending machines at airports where passengers may want to pick up a pair of headphones or a new phone charger.
Challenges around this is the capital expenditure required to place the vending machines into public spaces and then the cost of restocking them. For goods more valuable than a can of soft drink, retailers will also need to consider challenges of what happens when a product is damaged or not served correctly
Additional opportunities include the ability to personalise the vending machine experience or to add smart options to pay via contactless cards and mobile devices.
Dash Buttons (5/10)
Recently launched, these physical buttons sync with a smart-phone and allow you to repurchase consumable goods. Washing powder, kitchen towels and razor blades are some of the examples.
Amazon are behind the concept and so far it’s had a lot of press attention. How successful it is in the long-term is yet to be seen.
Amazon and Dominos are major brands that have experimented with the use of drones for delivery. Remotely controlled drones can quickly dispatch goods from a location and drop them with precision at locations.
TGI Friday attempted to use selfie drones in their restaurants to capture pictures of people enjoying their meals. Sadly this attempt ended in a customer almost having their nose sliced off (source).
Media/Analyst Briefings (5/10)
A PR activity favoured particularly by software vendors. By briefing and having a good relationship with an analyst firm, the technology vendor will benefit from receiving coverage in whitepapers and reports.
Blogger outreach is a similar activity for brands to gain reviews and coverage of new products and services.
Investor Relations (7/10)
Another PR based activity, Investor Relations is the activity of communicating with investors in your company. Typically used by publicly traded companies, this highly regulated form of communications allows the business to provide updates to shareholders on the business’ progress.
Investor Relations will typically rely on other channels to deliver the communications although the quality and extensiveness of this varies. For instance some forward thinking PLCs are digitising their annual report to make it accessible on the web or mobile.
Application Programming Interface (API) or web service, allows a business to expose their underlying technology directly to customers.
This serves a number of important purposes as a channel:
- Affiliates or aggregators can directly access your product and pricing database to engage their existing pool of customers
- Customers can order directly from your business through their systems. For example a client may have an inventory system that detects low stock levels and automatically orders from your systems.
- Provide data as a product. PostcodeAnywhere changed the licensing of the Royal Mail postcode database from a big licensed product, to a credit based Pay As You Go model
New tech from the likes of Apigee, Mashery and Akana is helping organisations to do this.
Desktop/Mobile Wallpapers (5/10)
My current desktop wallpaper is a McLaren P1 – a beautiful and inspiring supercar. Everytime I start up or close down the laptop I get to see the car and the brand again.
Internally, I’ve seen large corporates using desktop wallpapers to reinforce corporate values or current marketing propositions. Something all their staff can see each day.
For consumer product brands there’s a chance to provide customers with attractive wallpapers that they’ll want to use. A travel company could offer pictures of luxurious beaches or beautiful cities. Car manufacturers can provide the photography that they already create as a set of branded wallpapers for mobile and desktop.
Granted that you need a fairly aspirational product, but do bear in mind that McDonalds offer a Big Mac wallpaper!
What is the All Channel Spreadsheet
The All Channel Spreadsheet is a list of every channel available as part of an omnichannel customer experience. For each channel listed there are 35 attributes covering whether the channel is personalisable, transactional, above the line and more.
Due to the work that’s gone into creating and updating the spreadsheet there is a small charge of £99 to download it.
To purchase the file please visit – All Channel Spreadsheet.
What is the Channel Index
The SCI score or Sealey Channel Index, is a score given to each channel based on it’s uses, flexibility and cost.
Cheap, versatile and personalisable channels will have a high score. Expensive channels that can’t be personalised or scaled will have a low score.
Email is currently the highest ranked channel.
Business cards are the lowest ranked channel.