Omnichannel marketing addresses the fact that the modern customer is no longer confined to a single channel or platform for interaction with a brand, by striving to deliver a unified brand experience to an existing customer or potential buyer.
In this installment of MarTech 101, we look at the concept of omnichannel marketing, the difference between omnichannel and multichannel marketing, how to craft an omnichannel marketing strategy, and its best practices.
Let’s look at an overview of the topics we will cover in this article:
Table of Contents:
Omnichannel marketing is defined as a cross-channel marketing discipline that aligns content delivery across various marketing channels to provide seamless and consistent content experiencesOpens a new window across the buyer’s journey and beyond.
Omnichannel marketing acknowledges and addresses the fact that the modern customer is no longer confined to a single platform, and therefore, strives to deliver a smoother buying experience to customers regardless of the channel, platform or the stage of the buyer’s journeyOpens a new window .
For example: Do you remember the last time you bought something online on your first visit to that channel? Your purchase journey instead would have been something like this:
- When casually scrolling through your Facebook news feed and an ad grabbed your attention.
- After clicking on the ad, you were redirected to the landing page with the product details, ratings, and reviews.
- Since you liked the product, you clicked on Buy Now, but something came up, so you left the website without completing the payment.
- A few days later, you received an email asking you to complete the purchase. The store also provided a discount and offered free shipping since you were a first-time buyer.
- You bought the product as they made you an offer you couldn’t refuse.
- A few weeks later the same store may displayed ads of similar products on your social media feeds and on your frequented visited websites, with the intention of up-selling you to a higher value product.
This is omnichannel marketing in action. Omnichannel marketing focuses on providing a consistent and relevant shopping experience across different marketing avenues, which is highly personalized and based on the unique tastes and preferences of each user.
Learn more: Content Experience StrategiesOpens a new window
The following four components can guarantee the success of your omnichannel marketing activities:
- Marketing Channels: Organizations need to identify and increase their presence on the channels their audience is present on. For a SaaS company, the channels could be purely online, whereas, for a retail store, they might consist of both online and offline channels
- Consistency: To provide seamless experiences, brands should ensure consistency not only through their presence, communication, and user experienceOpens a new window but also through the processes they implement
- Personalization: Brands can attract and engage people by reaching out to them with the right customized message at the opportune moment
- Optimization: Omnichannel marketing is an iterative process. Brands should measure the relevant metrics to their marketing activities and optimize the processes and messaging over time.
Now that we have understood the concept of omnichannel marketing, a common question that might arise is, what is the difference between omnichannel and multichannel marketing?
The key difference lies in the approach. Here is how multichannel marketing is different from omnichannel marketing:
- Multichannel marketing aims to spread the word through as many channels as possible.
- The approach to marketing is channel-based.
- Each channel has individual objectives and metrics, and they function independently.
- Multichannel marketing focuses on generating customer engagement, and it puts the brand at the core of the marketing strategy even though it may not be apparent.
On the other hand:
- Omnichannel marketing puts the customer at the nucleus of all marketing activities.
- All efforts are geared towards smoothening the Customer ExperienceOpens a new window (CX) by unifyingÂ individual channel experience.
- The unified experience facilitates consistent messaging throughout the buyer journey, and leads to seamless content experiences and therefore, conversions.
Essentially, all omnichannel marketing campaigns are multichannel, but the reverse may not be true.
As the buyer’s journeyOpens a new window becomes more intricate with the growing number of marketing channels, marketers need to disentangle it and make it as simple as possible. Here is how you can go about creating an omnichannel marketing strategy for your organization:
Representation of the 7 Steps to Create an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
Step 1: Cultivate a Customer-Centric Marketing Culture
To adopt omnichannel marketing, organizations need to make a fundamental shift in how they approach marketing. As seen earlier, the major distinguishing factor between omnichannel and multichannel marketing is that omnichannel marketing prioritizes the customer over the brand.
The first step to go omnichannel is to change your perception of the buyer’s journey. Evaluate all the touchpoints a buyer goes through before becoming your customer and ensure that they all provide a consistent CX. You need to bring all concerned teams on the same page to implement this change. That means no team/department should work in a vacuum. Of course, individual departments should have their own goals and KPIs, but they should be aligned to facilitate delightful customer experiences.
Step 2: Understand Your Customers
Understanding the buyer’s journey is just a part of getting started with omnichannel marketing. The next step is to gather an in-depth understanding of your customers.
You’re off to a good start if you already have defined buyer personas. If not, start by identifying your target audience, their wants, needs, behavior patterns, demographics, habits, preferences, motivators, goals and so on.
Next, compile the first-party dataOpens a new window collected via various tools, analyze it, and identify patterns.
For instance, use Google Analytics to find out the channels that drive traffic to your website, understand how users navigate through your website and identify the commonly used search queries that lead to your site. Knowing this will enable you to uncover their pain points.
You can strengthen these two activities by occasionally collecting hard facts about your prospects and customers through interviews and surveys.
Step 3: Implement the Right Tools in Your MarTech Stack
Since you have collected the essential customer characteristics, you now need to identify the right tools and applications to connect with them.
With over 7000 MarTech tools available, choosing what fits your MarTech stack well has become more daunting than ever. The tools should cater to the entire buyer’s journey spanning the discovery to the delight phase.
Here is a partial list of tools you will need as part of your stack:
- Content Management System (CMS)Opens a new window
- Marketing Automation PlatformOpens a new window (MAP)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
- Social Media Management tools
- Content Marketing tools
- SEO tools
- Customer Data Platform (CDP)Opens a new window
- Other quantitative and qualitative analytical tools
The MAP and CRM software are central to your MarTech stack as these two applications are crucial for the personalization activities. Therefore, before choosing any application that would potentially interact with the MAP and CRM, confirm its compatibility with the CRM and MAP.
Step 4: Segment Your Target Audience
There are practically endless ways to segment your audience based on their demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics.Identify the data points/audience characteristics that are highly relevant to your business goals and use them to define audience segments.
For example, you can create segments based on product usage and subscription details. Retaining customers is an important priority for organizations. So, based on the above two data points, segment the audience in the following ways:
- A segment of users whose subscription is about to end: As a gentle nudge, initiate a campaign that reminds them to renew their subscription through emails and push notifications. Offer special discounts if they haven’t renewed until the last day.
- A segment of users who have stopped using your product: Create a special re-onboarding campaign for such users that will explain the various product use cases, and help you understand their hesitations
Successful e-commerce companies use the segmentation technique effectively. They tackle cart abandonment by running remarketing campaigns and sending out reminder emails. They also provide discounts or coupon codes to speed up the process.
Bonus Tip 1: If you are just starting out, segmenting your audience based on the buyer persona profiles will set you in the right direction.
Bonus Tip 2: Using the different paths to purchase (i.e., marketing + sales funnels) is also an excellent way to segment your audience.
Step 5: Personalize!
After laying the groundwork specified in the previous four steps, this is where you start executing your plans. Personalization is the most critical aspect of omnichannel marketing, as this is what makes customers feel valued.
The crux of personalization is to go beyond the typical boilerplate messages and establish a 1:1 connection with your audience.With the right tools in your MarTech stack, you can go beyond Dearand personalize communication at a much higher level. Your capability to personalize the CX will keep getting stronger as you collect more customer data.
Data points provide context to personalizationOpens a new window . For instance, if your target audience consists of both modern and old-school marketers, you can craft your ads, emails, landing pages, etc. in a way that speaks their preferred languages.
Also, make sure to use the personalization features offered by the platform. For example, you can run Google display ads on your audiences’ frequented websites or use granular level targeting capabilities offered by social media platforms.
An essential caveat to keep in mind while personalizing is to consider the intent and stage of the segment/users’ buyer journey. You don’t want to pester users who have signed up to download an entry level ebook to register for a demo, just yet.
Step 6: Be Proactive Across All Platforms
To provide a consistent CX, you need to be present on the channels your customers spend most of their time. Consumers use multiple devices and marketing channels to shop and interact with brands.
Don’t make users work to reach you. A few years back, some e-commerce websites learned this the hard way by being accessible exclusively through their dedicated app for mobile users.
Instead, engage with them on the medium of their choice and be active on multiple mediums that they prefer for different stages of their buyer’s journey.
Also, maintain consistency across all channels so that you don’t leave your customers confused. If a user finds out about you via a social media platformOpens a new window and lands on your website, there should be a common thread such as the brand voice or design that establishes consistency in your appearance.
Step 7: Track the Right Metrics
Choosing the right tools in your MarTech stackOpens a new window makes it easier for them to collaborate and report accurate data. When you combine different tools, you get a consolidated view of your metrics, which reduces confusion and helps you derive actionable insights.
Tracking the right metrics using the right tools can also help you identify the inconsistencies in your data. For example, while running ads on social media, you can view the campaign results in the insights section. When you cross-check these numbers with an analytics tool such as Google Analytics, you will notice a difference in the results. This measurement error is very common while reporting metrics such as link clicks. The social media platform measures the link click regardless of whether the user waited for the landing page to load completely, whereas the analytics tool will report only the legitimate clicks.
Now that we know how to devise an omnichannel marketing strategy, let’s look at the five omnichannel marketing best practices.
Representation of the 5 Best Practices of Omnichannel Marketing
1. Project a Consistent Brand Voice
In the age of information overload, brands face a challenge to stand out in the noise. The user is hounded with SMS, notifications, emails, and so on. In this mishmash of attention-grabbing tactics, brands have a limited window of opportunity to make a mark.
Having a consistent brand voice across all channels ensures better brand recognition and a consistent CX. This also enables customers to advance through the funnel without any hiccups.
2. Be Device-Agnostic
The average internet user accesses your website from 2 or more different devices. Your website should be responsive across all devices to improve the readability of your text, form fields, and other website elements. A responsive website ensures easy navigation and content accessibility regardless of the device.
3. Implement a Customer Service Software
Reciting the same concern all over again to a customer care representative is extremely infuriating especially when they have already explained the problem via social media and email.
To avoid such situations, organizations should consider investing in a reliable customer service software. By gaining access to cross-channel reports, customer service personnel can assist customers better. If the software doesn’t have the feature of cross-channel reporting, it should at least offer CRM integration.
4. Enable Self-Service for Customers
Customers need an immediate response to their queries. There are potentially two hurdles to this.
- Connecting with a customer service representative tends to be time-consuming
- Organizations can’t rely on chatbots completely as they have limitations and are yet to reach maturity
In such cases, it is wise to empower customers to resolve basic issues themselves. Organizations can create a FAQ section, a self-service portal, user forum, or instructional videos that answer commonly asked queries.
5. Test and Persist
Like any marketing activity, it’s impossible to nail down the omnichannel marketing strategy in the first attempt. Marketers need to keep iterating and testing various aspects such as the messages, marketing channels, processes, rich media, etc. to understand what works.
To truly succeed in your omnichannel marketing efforts, adopting the growth mindset will get you ahead in the game.
A well-executed omnichannel marketing strategy yields the following benefits:
Representation of the 3 Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing
1. Boosts Customer Retention and Loyalty
Customers buy from the brands they trust. Omnichannel marketing provides a consistent experience across different platforms, customizing the message for different strata of your audience. This empathetic approach instills trust in the minds of your audience, which enhances the overall CX and leads to increased customer retention and loyalty.
2. Strengthens Brand Recall
In today’s age, brand recall is a major win for a brand because consumers buy products by brands they remember.The most common example of this is the Nike swoosh logo. The emphasis on consistency in omnichannel marketing ensures that there is no disconnect in how the brand is portrayed across platforms and devices. This consistency acts as a reminder for consumers, which helps in strengthening brand recall.
3. Helps in Revenue Growth
The result of any sales and marketing activity is to impact the bottom line significantly. The success of omnichannel marketing lies in accurate segmentation and personalization. Along with helping retain customers, omnichannel marketing also attracts new customers through highly personalized content and offers that help in increasing the revenue.
If you are contemplating omnichannel marketing, we’d urge you to start laying the foundation right now. Here are three activities you can begin to work on:
- Understand the customer journey thoroughly. Leave no stone unturned. Identify all the possibilities that lead a prospect to become your customer.
- Break down interdepartmental silos. Collaboration is key.
- Start evaluating various tools required in your day-to-day workflow to build a sturdy MarTech stack.
Of course, omnichannel marketing is a significant undertaking but know that the efforts are bound to yield tenfold results.