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Understanding Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing is a term thrown around quite frequently these days but rarely defined. We thought it might be helpful to hit pause and dig into what it means, why it’s essential to your marketing plan and how it can be used to your advantage.

So many channels, so little time

Single-channel marketing is relatively cut and dry. Your organization has just one option to meet your revenue goals. Very few companies use this method any longer. It harkens back to the days of Made-for-TV products sold through infomercials where customers called a 1-800 number to place their orders.

Multi-channel marketing offers several options, but they work independently of each other to prompt customer response. You could have your sales team making cold calls, a postcard mailing, an email campaign promoting a sale on last season’s goods, and a social media campaign showcasing your newest collection launch. These are all great ideas, but there are running independently and do not support each other.

Cross-channel marketing is where several options are working interactively to meet your goal. Taking the same examples above, the sales team, postcard, email campaign, and social media work in tandem. Your sales team could be following up on the postcard and email to see if customers had any questions, and social media campaigns could promote both the new collection and the sale, driving traffic back to your website.

Omnichannel marketing is a form of cross-channel marketing but turned into an even more seamless relationship-building experience. The idea is that every single point of contact your customer has with your company is an opportunity to move them closer to your goal. Messaging, imagery, and branding are fully integrated across all touchpoints to make the customer experience as smooth and effortless as possible. The Starbucks rewards app is a great example of omnichannel marketing. It allows customers to place mobile orders, finds their nearest location, play games, learn more about the company, and collect star rewards. In turn, the app learns about the customer’s preferences and can deliver marketing messaging and incentive deals regularly to their phones via notifications.

Why is it important?

Omnichannel marketing is what people crave. Nearly all Americans, at least 98%, switch between devices on any given day and what they desire in that experience is more consistent when they cross channels. Companies with omnichannel strategies also have a 91% greater retention rate. Case in point, consider the importance of having your website be mobile-friendly. If your customer researches your product on a desktop then decides to buy it later on their phone, but the website is not mobile-friendly or hard to use, there may be a lost sale.

Making omnichannel marketing work for you.

Begin by examining your organization’s structure.

  • Any media messaging and customer service access points need to be working together, not in silos.

  • Remember, consistency is key.

Next, map out your user experiences.

  • How are they reaching you?

  • Are you collecting sufficient data?

  • When customers make a purchase, is the follow-up messaging enough to make them satisfied?

Add or subtract channels as needed.

  • Don’t feel like you have to throw the kitchen sink at your customers.

  • Make sure you’re utilizing the correct channels for the right audience.

  • Diversify across digital and physical channels.

Evaluate your success.

  • If you’re not sure what is working for you, don’t be afraid to test and measure!

  • Use analytics to compare month to month, quarter to quarter, and year to year declines and improvements.

  • Make adjustments as needed, but only after you’ve given a channel sufficient time to work.

This guide is just an overview of omnichannel marketing, but we could go on for days talking about this stuff. It’s what we love to do. If you need help deciding what channels work best for your business and how to structure your marketing system. Give us a call! We’d be happy to talk through your options.

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