There is a new term that seems to be confusing some people in the content marketing world today. The term is Omnichannel marketing. Many people confuse this term with multi-channel marketing. But they are not really the same. Let’s look at the differences between multi-channel marketing and Omnichannel marketing and see why people are somewhat confused about these terms.
First, a clarification. Though they are not the same, Omnichannel marketing is related to multi-level marketing because you have to do multichannel marketing in order to achieve omnichannel marketing. That is perhaps while a lot of people are confused, they tend to think of the prefix omni, which means everywhere when used with the word “omnipresent,” or all-knowing when used in the word “omniscient.” This implies an almost God-like trait to indicate that you are using a variety of channels. But in reality, it goes beyond this.
With multi-channel marketing, we are merely talking about putting your message out and your branding on a variety of different platforms and channels. This is just something that you should do to permeate the market with your brand.
Customers come in from a variety of sources, whether it be YouTube, social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, or even just through a search through the Google search engine. Having your message on all of these platforms is crucial because you need your brand to saturate the market. You never know which platform your customer will be coming in on, so you must be all of them. This is still a good idea and must be it here too to saturate the market.
But omnichannel marketing has more to do with the customer than the channel.
Where multichannel marketing deals with getting your message and brand out to all of the available channels and platforms, omnichannel marketing is more about providing a truly great experience for all customers on the various platforms. It is the connection that you make between your customers and your brand and the multiple markets that you are on are just the vehicle you use to get there.
It means taking into account all of the obstacles of this process that might sacrifice quality for the customer and being able to control the outcome by making every channel compatible with your brand’s message.
This means understanding all of the caveats of every platform or channel you are operating from as well as having an understanding of the technology and device capabilities of each customer and how their experience may vary depending on the device they use.
Diverse vs. Holistic Approach
While the two concepts do work together in a practical way, they are contradictory terms in some ways. The multichannel marketing concept has to do with getting on as many platforms as possible. but doing omnichannel marketing involves a more holistic approach for the customer or visitor.
It’s About the Customer, not the Platform
Omnichannel marketing has to do with providing a positive experience for every customer regardless of what device or channel they are using to access your brand.
The Need for Consistency
In addition to taking a more complete approach to marketing by addressing the needs of customers, using an omnichannel approach also creates more consistency in terms of what people come to expect of your brand. Branding is about creating a positive but consistent level of quality that your customers come to expect.
By focusing on creating consistency of your brand message, you will be assured that customers are getting the same impression of your brand no matter which channel they are on.
Therefore, doing omnichannel marketing is much more brand-focused than multichannel marketing. Just because you put up information about your brand, post information or links, or have a social media page on every platform doesn’t mean you will improve your brand.
But if you focus it more on reaching those visitors who are most likely going to turn into customers, you are going to be more likely to see the positive results you want for your brand.
How to Make the Most of Omnichannel Marketing
When you are working on your branding, it is important to be able to leverage every tool and resource you have at your disposal to increase the visibility of your brand as well as improve the relationships you have with your followers.
By utilizing the opportunity of omnichannel marketing, you can open doors that you have not been able to open before due to the increased exposure of multichannel marketing when combined with a specific branding strategy designed to increase the quality of the customer’s experience.
Omnichannel marketing also makes your job easier as a marketer or business owner because of how it uncovers or reveals data that can be collected by all of the tools available when carrying out a multichannel campaign.
If done correctly, you can decrease the amount of effort it takes to run a successful marketing campaign and increase your ROI and results with a smaller amount of effort.
An Aggregated Approach: Bringing it All Together
In essence, the goal of omnichannel marketing is to bring it all together in one cohesive plan so that you are reaching your potential customers on all of the important platforms, engaging them in your brand, and creating a connected experience for your customer that is hard for your competitor to beat.
This is not an easy task. But the following tips may help you to achieve this.
1. Utilize new automation and AI tools to increase the level of customer interactions that you can achieve through an omnichannel approach. There are tools that can help you increase your return on investment such as Salesforce.com or Kissmetrics.com that give you a look at your target audience and how to generate more interactions from all of the various channels you are on.
2. Using chatbots. There are a number of online web chat services that you may want to look into when trying to optimize your results through omnichannel marketing. Gomoxie.com is one good example of an online chat program. What are the advantages of this type of program? People may stay on your site longer if they can get help for their questions 24/7. With so many automation programs available today for your business, this can prevent you from losing customers by keeping people on your site longer which may lead to more sales.
3. Use automatic responders. Autoresponders have been around for a long time, but they have become increasingly important to keep customers from leaving your site or canceling orders. Aweber.com, mailchimp.com, and Constantcontact.com all offer an easy-to-use automation email tool that can help you keep in touch with customers even when you are not physically present to send direct emails to customers and visitors.
MailChimp and other similar programs also have additional features such as automatically emailing and targeting or retargeting features for lost visitors. The goal of this aspect of omnichannel marketing is to win back those lost sales and turn them into a loyal customer.
Using Data to Reel Them In
Another aspect to omnichannel marketing is to use available data to land a customer. Retargeting and remarketing is becoming increasingly important. If someone abandons their shopping cart, for example, do you know when they did this? What do you have in place to use to win back that customer?
This is where omnichannel marketing can help you save that abandoned sale or lasso in the lost customer. Automated software such as Cartstack.com can help you reverse lost sales by offering visitors another chance to make a purchase. Many abandoned shopping cart tools also allow you to offer the customer a slight discount through a coupon for 10% off a product they had in their shopping cart. Many people will purchase an item when you drop the price if they wanted it. If the price was the reason for the abandoned item, shopping cart type tools that help save the sale can be a great solution.
Features of Omnichannel Marketing
There are some specific features of successful omnichannel marketing. Take a look at the following features and think about how you will utilize each one to build your brand on multiple channels.
Step-by-Step Guide in Designing your own Omnichannel Strategy
In the end, we are talking about creating a complete customer journey through the various channels that you are putting your brand on. If you are not sure where to start, begin by following these steps.
1. Get your entire eCommerce company and staff onboard about the omnichannel marketing technique. In order to make this kind of campaign work, you have to get everyone on board with the idea. People in your company need to understand that this approach only works if everyone practices the techniques involved in an omnichannel strategy.
2. Start collecting data on your processes and your customers. Use technology and other means to collect data on your customers, as well as your processes. Data collection can be done a number of different ways including customer service emails, posts on social media, and data regarding the number of returns. Tracking software that monitors and reports customer browsing can also be effective.
3. Analyze the data and act on it. Once you have the initial data, analyze what you have collected and use it to your advantage. Study the behaviors to learn what customers want and create a system that rewards customer loyalty and keeps them coming back for more.
4. Use data to segment smaller groups in your target audience for retargeting campaigns. When customers do not complete a sale, you need to know why. Find out if you can by using software or by asking the customer in the form of a survey. Many companies have automatic emails that ask customers to respond to their experience with their purchase after the sale. This kind of tool can be highly successful in learning what customers liked (and didn’t like) about your processes.
5. Create a profile for your average customer (know your audience). Learn to profile your customers by learning everything you can about them including their demographics and preferences, age, beliefs, and more. This data can be turned into offers that will appeal to these customers if you retarget them later for future offers.
6. Do A/B split tests to check progress and analyze your progress along the way. Check to find out which platform or format customers prefer by performing A/B split tests. This involves creating two offers almost alike but varying one component at a time to see which factors are resulting in the most sales.
7. Put your customer first. This is the bottom line of a successful omnichannel marketing campaign. It is the goal that you must always keep in mind if you are going to make it work. Multichannel just means you are putting your message out there. But omnichannel means you are focused on making the customer happy.
The great orator, radio personality, author, and time management guru, Earl Nightingale once said, “The customer is always right.”
The omnichannel approach takes this view, as well by taking the branding and marketing platforms and putting the customer in the middle of it sll. By integrating and streamlining your marketing approach to include every aspect, channel, and data point of a typical customer, you can drill down to the most basic level to win those customers that you might not be able to win normally.
In short, omnichannel marketing is all about the customer. The fact that he or he came in on a certain channel or platform is less important than what the needs or desires of the customer are.
Focusing on the needs of the customer and getting to know what he or she is thinking is at the heart of this process. If you follow this guide, you may be able to cut out the obstacles and focus on what is most important in turning an abandoned cart into a sale and a visitor into a loyal customer.
This is really what a great marketing plan is all about. Once you know what your customer wants, you can plan a strategy that will almost always be successful because you now have the data you need to predict what they will do based on certain data points.
Customized or native ads, news stories that focus on topics that are of interest to the customer, and using automated email responders all play a critical role in getting and keeping the interest of a potential customer.
Knowledge is power and omnichannel marketing can serve as a great “jumping off point” for eCommerce business owners who need to better understand their client base, as well as to provide the best of all possible experiences for that customer on every channel or platform they are on.
This process helps build a solid brand reputation. Over time, it can pay off greatly. For the small or medium-sized business owner, it can mean the difference between a normal multichannel marketing campaign and building a successful brand that reaches millions of people who appreciate your brand and products.
We hope this guide will get your started and moving from a multichannel strategy to an omnichannel one. Take the tips we have offered to grow your brand and monitor and adjust it as you have the need. Nothing stays the same forever. Be flexible and pay attention to trends, as well as how customers’ needs change.
Utilizing omnichannel marketing campaigns is really just about knowing your customers and what motivates them to purchase and love your brand.
Being sharp-minded about what your customers want is not rocket science. It’s just good business!
Thanks for reading "The Beginner’s Guide to OmniChannel Marketing Success", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.