Marketing Channels E-Commerce Companies Are Investing In

Media mix is a frequent topic all marketers are curious about. It’s a critical decision that requires getting and spending money, such as setting a media budget or purchasing a software tool.

This MarketingSherpa chart illustrates the channels e-commerce companies are investing in.

e-commerce marketing channels

Email marketing is almost universally used by e-commerce companies

Email marketing is one of the only channels (direct mail comes to mind as well) that forces a decision. To paraphrase a famous Apple ad, customers can glorify (clickthrough) or vilify (delete or unsubscribe) emails. About the only thing they can’t do is ignore emails. As long as your email earns its way into the inbox, customers have to make a decision on what to do with it.

Emails also have among the shortest lead times of any channel, so marketers can use it to quickly respond to events and it provides feedback on customer performance whether through A/B testing or simple analytics reviews. Companies can use this information to change campaigns on the fly, as this marketer alluded to in his Benchmark Study survey response:

Why is the number not 100%, then? Well, to use emails for marketing, you have to first build that list, so it can be a difficult for very new companies to pull off (aside from buying lists).

The top three channels most frequently invested in – email marketing, social media marketing and SEO – often require content

While content marketing is the seventh most-used tactic, according to the e-commerce marketers, there is an interesting similarity among the three most frequently used channels — they all tend to be heavily used channels for content marketing.

The marketers who said they invested in one of these channels, but not in content marketing, could focus all of their email efforts on promos, all social media marketing on ads, and all SEO on search engine friendly development.

Or, one might surmise, that even when they are engaged in content marketing — they don’t consider themselves to be engaged in content marketing because they are writing a check to an SEO agency or an email service provider. For this reason, there is technically no line item for “content marketing” and investment in this channel can be overlooked.

Nevertheless, content marketing does require an investment to be successful, as this marketer pointed out.

Print is the top offline channel

While print has been a much beleaguered marketing medium of late, it is a natural fit for e-commerce.

Unlike TV or radio, which often offer fleeting mentions of URLs, print advertising puts your website in customers’ hands. Beyond simply a printed URL, e-commerce advertisers also use QR codes, apps and other technology to make the connection between offline and online even easier for customers.

Beyond direct response, print helps reinforce the brand as well.

Print marketing can involve more than just traditional paid media, as content can play a role here as well.

Radio and TV ads are the channels least used by e-commerce companies

While broadcast tends to be the medium most associated with marketing and advertising, it is only used by a minority of e-commerce companies. Not only do radio and TV ads tend to be more expensive than other surveyed channels, they can also be more difficult to connect to traffic, sales and ROI than other channels.

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