Possibly the best multi-channel marketing analogy I ever came up with has to do with a classic video game from my youth. In Frogger, your job is to guide a wayward amphibian across a busy highway and then across a raging river, dodging cars and leaping onto fast moving logs in order to reach the safety of a lily pad.

If each of the lily pads is a touch-point for your business, then it’s all but impossible for you to accurately predict the path the frog will take or what point he’ll land on. In our mutli-channel, social media society, the customer will choose the route most convenient (not to mention safest) to them. In today’s “pull” model, you can’t funnel a prospect into your chosen path. Today, you have to react by ensuring you have a presence on any of the channels that person may prefer to use.

As with the video game, the path is anything but linear, and just about the only thing you can actually bet on is that the customer or prospect will use a combination of channels to engage with you.

So how does that work?

For example, the prospect might hear about you on Twitter, they may then check you out on Facebook or LinkedIn, they might email a professional email list or post to a forum they are on, asking if others have used your services of products. The prospect might decide to sign up for your email marketing newsletter to learn more about you. Once they choose to engage with you, that might happen via your website or on Twitter or Facebook or they might email or even call you or use the live pre-sales chat feature you have on your site.

It’s not all one way either.

If you can get people connecting with you across multiple channels such as email marketing or social media, then you have a stronger relationship and they may prove to be more engaged and responsive. At least, Gretchen Scheiman makes that suggestion blogging for MediaPost recently.

Of course, there’s also a lot to get out of the multitude of brand related conversations happening constantly on social. Just listening can provide you with everything from divine inspiration to the proverbial canary in a coal mine. Gretchen also points out the ROI potential in taking some cues from what people have to say about your product or service.

If you don’t have technology that enables you to know your customers and deliver relevant, engaging content when, where and how they want it, then you’d best hop over to the Sailthru lily pad and find out how easy it can be with the right partner!