What Can Hansel & Gretel Can Teach Us About Multi-Channel Marketing?

Multi Channel MarketingSo…pebbles or breadcrumbs? Which marketing technique do you prefer?

Huh, you say?

Hansel and Gretel were two enterprising kids in a tough predicament. Overhearing a nefarious plot to abandon them in the woods to starve, Hansel saves them by collecting pebbles to leave as a trail back home.

But then his wicked stepmother ensures he can’t collect any more pebbles, and the next time they’re ditched in the forest, all Hansel has in his pocket is a piece of bread. He leaves breadcrumbs behind as a trail, but a flock of birds eats the crumbs, leaving Hansel and Gretel thoroughly lost.

And just what does this have to do with multi-channel marketing, you ask?

Direct mail marketing could be likened to Hansel’s pebbles – tangible, rock-like, easily found if dropped (or laid aside on a messy desk).

Email marketing could be likened to Hansel’s breadcrumbs – tasty morsels that are easily digested, but leave no trail. Your prospect becomes lost in the woods, your email gobbled up by that flock of marketing emails that descend upon his inbox every day.

Which doesn’t mean email marketing is ineffective – far from it. But without some tangible reminder of that great offer you worked so hard to develop, your email can vanish like breadcrumbs in the forest, relying solely on your prospect’s memory and motivation to hunt through the hundreds of emails he’s received to find yours again.

Assuming, of course, your email – like Hansel’s breadcrumbs — left even that much of a trail in his memory.

On the other hand, if your email brings to mind that beautifully-designed and eye-catching direct mail piece he received the other day, or if that beautifully-designed direct mail piece sends your prospect straight to that lovely website you’ve built, then you have created multiple trails straight to your product. If the birds obscure one trail, there is always another, and another (and even more if you utilize other media, such as newspaper inserts, display ads, telemarketing, etc).

When you reach out to your prospect with nicely-timed emails that prepare him or her for your great direct mail offer, then follow up to reinforce the memory of that offer, you are tapping into the finest qualities of both mediums.

Yes, Hansel and Gretel temporarily lost their way after their breadcrumb trail was consumed. But according to the Brothers Grimm, they finally made their way home bearing the witch’s treasure, and lived happily – and wealthily – ever after with their papa, who had never wanted to abandon them to begin with.

Using a judicious combination of marketing channels you, too, can arrive safely home with a wealth of conversions. And your prospects will have found the treasure they sought when your product proves perfect for their needs, leaving them with a wealth of good memories and the likelihood they will proactively hunt you down – provided you have left a tangible trail! – the next time they want what you are selling.