Though multichannel marketing is the current trend, it is not an entirely new concept. Multichannel has roots in the age-old ?media mix? idea, which essentially said that buyers were reached at different times in different ways and that most successful marketing programs contained an appropriate mix of media for the targeted audience.
The theory was that effective use of multiple media helped a selling organization become top-of-mind when the buyer was ready to make a purchasing decision.
Two important developments helped evolve the media mix concept into what we now think of as multichannel marketing.
1. A transition by marketing and advertising professionals in the 1990s toward integrated communications. This marked a shift in focus from transactions to customer relationships. Even outside the marketing arena, engineers and statisticians were contributing by following the lead of successful Japanese industries that re-engineered business processes around customers? needs.
2. The number of channels available to marketers increased. Not only was there now recognition of the importance of building customer relationships and integrating communications, but new electronic media such as Web sites and e-mail also added channels. Moreover, there was less distinction between pure communication channels and sales channels. Increasingly, the two were becoming one and the same.