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What is Omnichannel Marketing?

Today, companies need to do more than simply advertise on different channels, because customers like to jump from one to another at will - and mirroring consumer behavior is vital for all marketing and advertising teams.

Marketers are responding to this by integrating all these touchpoints together, thanks to an approach called omnichannel marketing - an idea that was first adopted by retail stores and is regularly thrown around by every kind of marketer at the moment.

From the name, you’ve probably worked out that it has something to do with how you interact with customers through all your different channels.

And that’s exactly what it is - a consumer-first approach that provides a seamless shopping experience across all channels, including, email, social media, and so forth.

Omnichannel marketing is quickly becoming the most common strategy out there, with 74% of companies in the process of integrating it into their operations (Coresight).

This article will look at how it differs from multichannel marketing, before running through the benefits of an omnichannel strategy for marketers.
 

How is Omnichannel Marketing Different?

To answer this question, we first need to understand what came before it - that being multichannel marketing.

This term refers to the practice of communicating with customers via various channels, including email, social media and text - in other words, standard digital marketing fair.

The focus of multichannel marketing is on these various channels - from social to mobile, with specific goals for each. With this approach, customers interact with a company via whichever channel they prefer, and they will find there a logical path to purchase.

This has long been an effective strategy for companies, but one with an obvious weakness in that each channel is effectively siloed off from each other - hardly ideal when 67% of customers use multiple channels to complete a single transaction (Salesforce).

It can also mean that the customer experience is uneven, which can cause confusion or frustration, and lower trust.

By pulling everything together, omnichannel marketing removes these issues. It includes all the best qualities of multichannel marketing, but adds a magical ingredient - a focus on customer experience.

For instead of being focused on the channel, omnichannel marketing is about the customer, and viewing the digital experience through their eyes. Its objective is to sustain seamless dialogue with consumers, regardless of the medium they use at any given time.

Omnichannel marketing therefore includes every channel out there, including both the internet and the real world - with each one working together to create a unified customer journey, and maybe even something special.

It means that customers can jump from laptop to smartphone and from your website to social media, and each new interaction still feels like a continuation of what came before.

As such, if the differences between multichannel and omnichannel marketing had to be summed up in one word, it would be integration.

Practically, the following are all clear examples of omnichannel marketing:

  • A customer receives a promotional text message while walking around the store
  • A prospect sees a reminder on Facebook about a product left in their online shopping basket on your website
  • A customer gets support through live chat, but can move between phone and tablet during the conversation
     

What are the Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing only works when all channels are automatically updated with information, and that this is mirrored in all messaging. It also needs the right martech to enable the strategy to be consistent, engaging and effective.

However, when done well, it brings with it tremendous benefits. Customers get an integrated, consistent and personalized shopping experience, while companies benefit from greater reach, more engagement, higher sales and better levels of customer retention and satisfaction. 

It’s also a great way to reach new customer segments, and increases operational efficiency since companies don’t need to worry about creating and implementing strategies for each and every marketing channel they have.
 

What Are the Components of Omnichannel Marketing?

An omnichannel marketing strategy will be successful if it includes the following three components:

  1. Marketing channels - companies need to identify all the channels they use to market and sell their products, be they completely online or way from the computer
     
  2. Consistency - companies must set up each channel so that each touchpoint interacts effectively with each other along the full customer journey
     
  3. Personalization - companies can engage customers and prospects by sending automated and personalized messages to them that reflect their particular position on the customer journey at that time
     

Boost Your Strategy with Analytics

Today, any business worth their wares will be utilizing more than one channel, and it makes complete sense to optimize the way they work together.

It can admittedly take more time and money to create than a more simple multichannel marketing strategy, but when done properly, it’s infinitely more effective.

However omnichannel marketing is heavily reliant on customer data to track interactions across channels, meaning that a data analytics tool should take pride of place in your martech stack.