Quick guide to omnichannel marketing

You may or may not have heard of it but what exactly is omnichannel marketing?

With so many messages going around social media about digital marketing, funnels, automation, CRM and technology-driven marketing platforms it’s no wonder you might be confused.

A lot of marketing folk may get confused and think an integrated campaign or a multi-channel marketing approach is the same thing as an omnichannel marketing approach. Well, it is similar but has a different customer approach and it creates much better results.

What is omnichannel?

Taking an omnichannel approach is using all of your available channels to create a single unified and seamless customer experience. This can be across all channels including print, outdoor, in-store, TV and radio, and not exclusively a digital marketing strategy.

What is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing uses a seamless message that changes to fit your customer as they pass along the customer journey or through your sales funnel. Right message, right time, right customer. It is a highly personalised customer experience.

So, omnichannel marketing is using all available channels whether digital or traditional to send relevant messages to your audience regardless of the customer engaging with the brand, or the channels used for engagement.

An example of how this might work:

A customer receiving a message, via email or SMS about a new offer while they are in-store shopping.
A customer receives a personalised direct mail piece with a sales message and also gets the same message via SMS or email.
A customer gets a message on their phone about a shopping cart abandonment waiting in check out and then gets retargeting ads showing the same product they put in their cart.

Omnichannel marketing puts the customer first and delivers a completely seamless experience from the first touch-point to the last. So every channel works seamlessly to create a unified message and a memorable experience dealing with your brand.

Today customers have so many options they can bounce from channel to channel when dealing with a brand, and marketers from that brand need to respond to this behaviour. This is especially the case when customers are shopping online. Do they go straight to the site and make a purchase? Probably not. They will spend time online researching services and products and even competition, and if they can build up a trust with your brand they may then fill up the cart or even arrive in store.

An omnichannel marketing strategy may mean a few different things. When a customer comes to your brand, on any channel, you are present. Each channel is updated to the need of the customer. You customer has a personalised experience no matter what channel they are on or where they are on the customer journey.

This all sounds like best practice for customer service. So what is the difference between omnichannel and multichannel?

Omnichannel marketing is a highly personalised way of interacting with the customer and the message changes to remain relevant as the customer takes steps along the journey to a sale. Multichannel marketing is just that – a marketing message that is sprayed out across multiple channels in a catch-all strategy.

The main difference between omnichannel and multichannel is the fact that omnichannel puts the customer at the centre of the strategy and changes and adapts the messaging with the customer. Multichannel is brand centred and pushes out a single message about the brand using multiple channel strategies. They can only hope the right customer gets the message.

So taking an omnichannel approach means that the customer is the main focus, not the channel. The messaging then changes to keep that customer engaged with the brand or the offer at hand, which from the customer perspective, makes the brand come across as the right choice for them.

An example of how this might work is as follows:

A message is shown on a billboard and the customer goes to the website to find out more. They sign up for more information and opts in for SMS and email.
You send a welcome message to them and offer a first-time discount via SMS and email.
The customer responds and comes back to your website, browses the products on offer but does not make a purchase.
The customer sees an ad while reading the news online. This retargeting ad shows the products they were looking at.
The customer clicks on the ad and comes back to the site and adds the product their cart, but logs off without finalising.
The customer receives an abandonment message via email and comes back to the site.
They make the purchase and sign up for more offers and communication on Facebook.
The order and shipping information updates are sent via Facebook Messenger.
So from there, the customer can be then targeted using any of the channels in the example. This will allow for personalised messages that will draw them back to make further purchases no matter what channel they are on.

Do customers really respond to these omnichannel approaches? Here are 9 statistics that say that they do:

1. Businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t, according to a survey conducted by Aspect Software.

2. 15 years ago the average consumer typically used two touch-points when buying an item and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today consumers use an average of almost seven touch-points with nearly 50% regularly using more than four. (Ben & Sam)

3. 77% of strong omnichannel companies store customer data across channels, compared to 48% for weak omnichannel companies. (Aberdeen Group)

4. 90% of customers expect consistent interactions across channels. (SDL)

5. Companies with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for weak omnichannel companies. Similarly, strong omnichannel companies see a 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per contact, compared to a 0.2% year-over-year decrease for weak companies. (Aberdeen Group)

6. 50% of shoppers expect that they will be able to make a purchase online and pick up in-store. (Forrester)

7. 39% of consumers are unlikely or very unlikely to visit a retailer’s store if the online store does not provide physical store inventory information. (Forrester)

8. 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience. (Zendesk)

9. 71% of shoppers who use smartphones for research in-store say that it’s become an important part of the experience. (Google)

Customers are a lot savvier today and have lots of options open to them when making a decision on purchasing from a new brand. By undertaking an omnichannel approach you are creating a stronger bond to your brand and should command customer loyalty. Whether they are shopping online or in store or a mix of both having a seamless experience with your brand is critical to success.

As a leading Sunshine Coast creative brand agency, Your Brand Crew is keen to help your brand improve and grow. We can work with you to set up marketing campaigns that can be delivered with an omnichannel approach. Call us today to see where we can take your brand.
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