Counselors and therapists often use the concept of the Missing Stair to describe problematic family or organizational dynamics – generally, there’s one person who’s create difficulties, but no one wants to address or deal with that person, so everyone changes their behavior to work around them. It’s like having a missing stair in a staircase – eventually, everyone learns not to step where the stair should be, and just skips it out of habit. It’s only when someone who’s not familiar with your staircase makes the journey unwarned, and steps where the step should be, and subsequently falls, that everyone’s forced to acknowledge that there’s something wrong.
For a significant amount of companies, channel management is the missing stair in the marketing arena. Technology’s rapid pace has forced many organizations to take on several new challenges all at once: maintaining a customer pleasing website, social media presence, and embracing mobile marketing is a big job. There is a tendency for these functionalities to be segmented; more than one company winds up working with multiple agencies to handle these tasks. This can often be in addition to a marketing or advertising agency that’s responsible for overall branding.
It takes clear, open and frequent communication between these disparate service providers to keep messaging clear and consistent across all platforms. Yet all too often, there’s no structure in place to ensure this channel management happens. Tools are not used strategically – a campaign that’s run on social media, for example, doesn’t show up on the company’s website and in store employees may not even know about it. This is a critical fatal flaw in a world where customers are fully platform agnostic – they expect full and complete information to be available to them no matter how they connect with your company.
Channel management doesn’t just happen. That’s the missing stair we need to start talking about. Who is going to oversee all of the different tools you’re using to market your business and make sure they’re all working in alignment, to your business’ best interest? The time to talk about this, both internally and with the companies you work with, is before some part of your operation ‘falls down’, endangering your relationship with your customers. Stair cases can be fixed. Having someone in place with the specific responsibility of channel management can help you realize much better results from all of your marketing campaigns.