Omnichannel marketing is one of the most popular modern marketing strategies. The past ten years have seen explosive adoption of the strategy. The number of companies investing in omnichannel customer experiences has increased from 20% to 80% in just a decade.
Why? Because omnichannel marketing is one of the most effective ways to build your loyal audience across platforms. In this guide, you’ll learn the definition of omnichannel marketing, its benefits, and how you can use it to build a winning marketing strategy.
What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
In marketing, you use many channels to reach and communicate with your customers. You may use traditional channels, like offline advertising. Others use digital channels, like a website or mobile app. Each of these channels has its strengths and weaknesses, and they function in very different ways.
Omnichannel marketing brings all channels under a single umbrella. It’s a marketing strategy that focuses on providing a unified customer experience across all channels you use. Omnichannel marketing is all about communicating the same message through every platform, instead of using different ad campaigns and branding on different platforms.
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Marketing
While omnichannel marketing sounds similar to multichannel marketing, they’re not the same. Both omnichannel and multichannel marketing prioritize messaging across platforms. However, they approach marketing channels in entirely different ways.
Omnichannel marketing is a holistic approach. It ensures that potential customers receive the same message when they hear about your brand. Multichannel marketing, on the other hand, focuses on building specific messages for each channel. For example, with this strategy, the messaging you use for your mobile app would be completely different from what you use in-store. Where omnichannel strategies maintain the same message, multichannel strategies differentiate them.
Both strategies have their benefits. However, if you’re trying to streamline your marketing, omnichannel marketing will save you time and provide greater results with less effort.
The Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing wouldn’t be so popular if it didn’t get results. When properly implemented, omnichannel marketing has several benefits. These include:
When your messaging is similar across channels, your brand is more visible. Wherever your customers encounter your brand, they’ll see the same details. This builds your brand’s identity and visibility because your customers are never confused by conflicting designs.
More Accurate Data Analysis
One of the fundamental elements of the omnichannel strategy is to collect data from various channels and keep it all in one location. That means you’re able to cross-reference data from your email campaigns with your social media ads and loyalty cards. You get to understand the whole picture of your customer engagement, instead of individual puzzle pieces.
Greater Segmentation and Campaign Designs
With the data you’ve collected, you can make informed decisions. For example, when you have all your consumer behavior data in one place, you can identify actual customer segments and behavior trends. That lets you build campaigns that target each segment more effectively, generating greater results.
More Valuable Target Customers
According to Google, customers who shop with more than one channel have a nearly 30% higher lifetime value than customers who only shop through one. Marketing to people through multiple channels targets these high-value leads, building customer relationships, and encouraging them to purchase from your business.
Compared to multichannel marketing, omnichannel marketing is more cost-effective. You’re not creating individual campaigns for every channel and customer segment you target. Rather, you’re creating one campaign per customer segment and using them across channels. That takes less effort and less money.
When your campaigns cost less and target potential customers more effectively, you receive a higher return on your investment. The higher your marketing ROI, the more successful your company will be.
Omnichannel marketing helps you learn more about your customers, create more efficient campaigns, and do more with your marketing budget.
When Omnichannel Marketing Works Best
No single marketing strategy is perfect for every situation. Omnichannel marketing is no exception. While an omnichannel approach is helpful for many organizations, there are certain cases where it really shines.
The organizations that benefit most from omnichannel marketing are those that already use a broad range of channels. In particular, businesses with a physical and digital presence can take full advantage of the omnichannel approach. A few examples include:
Brick and Mortar Stores with Online Storefronts
Stores with digital and physical storefronts already use multiple channels. Websites and physical stores are both considered marketing channels of their own. By implementing omnichannel marketing strategies, you prioritize keeping the customer experience the same whether they stop in or shop online.
For example, you might take steps to align the aesthetic of your physical store and your website. If you’re aiming for a sleek, minimalist aesthetic in your physical space, your website should be equally refined. This unifies your image and keeps your audience satisfied with their experience.
Print and Digital Publications
Magazines and newspapers often offer physical and digital versions. For any kind of periodical, brand and voice are everything. However your customers choose to read your publication, omnichannel marketing keeps your tone the same.
You can use an omnichannel approach to maintain your authoritative tone. Your social media posts should be written in the same voice as your ad copy, which should match the articles you publish. That way, your potential customers will immediately understand your approach to your subjects regardless of how they access your publication.
Businesses that Host Events
Events like concerts and conferences are becoming easier to hybridize. Whether you offer livestreams or on-demand recordings of your event, you need to appeal to audiences across different platforms. Omnichannel marketing can help you win customers for physical and virtual events alike by maintaining your messaging.
One way you can do this is by keeping your message the same across channels. Your posters and billboard ads should follow the same design scheme as your social media campaigns. By keeping the branding and design uniform, you build awareness of your event and avoid confusing the local customers who are your most likely audience.
Examples of Omnichannel Marketing in the Real World
How do organizations implement this omnichannel approach in the real world? You’ve probably already experienced omnichannel marketing without realizing it. This strategy is used by organizations big and small to shape the customer journey and encourage people to take specific actions.
While it started as a corner store and pharmacy, Walgreens has long since branched out into the online world. The company has taken the omnichannel approach to market itself: it offers a robust loyalty program that works on every Walgreen platform. Loyalty members can earn points in-store, online, and through the Walgreens mobile app.
This encourages these customers to become omnichannel shoppers and builds their value to the company. In return, the loyalty members receive superior customer service and specialized discounts on certain items.
As a national bank, Chase has thousands of physical locations. However, it has taken the omnichannel approach and heavily encourages its customers to perform regular banking activities through its mobile app and website.
The company’s branding and service are the same across all platforms, which builds trust among account holders. Meanwhile, the range of channels it offers adds value: customers can choose to use the channel that works best for their needs on any given day.
Even charities can make use of omnichannel marketing. The LiveOnNY campaign had both in-person organ donor sign-up drives and a robust website and social media presence. These disparate channels helped the campaign reach more people and save more lives. Meanwhile, this approach and branding across channels helped build trust in the campaign, which was essential for such a sensitive topic.
How to Implement Omnichannel Marketing in Your Business
Omnichannel marketing is an excellent strategy for any business with a physical and digital presence. You can implement it in your own business by following these five steps.
1. Focus on Your Message and Responsive Design
The goal of the omnichannel strategy is to give your customers a similar experience across all platforms. That means that your priority should be to build digital experiences that are reliable and responsive.
Your website should be optimized for mobile devices so people can visit it from their preferred device. Make sure your site and your app run efficiently and load quickly, too. A page that loads in five seconds lose four times as many visitors as a page that loads in two seconds. Faster websites provide improved customer service, which in turn encourages loyalty and engagement.
Additionally, your digital platforms should reflect your brand and your physical locations. The Starbucks website is a great example. The site matches the brand and tone of the physical locations, while still making the most of the digital presentation.
2. Make Data-Driven Decisions a Priority
If you want to improve your marketing, you need to understand where and how it should be changed. That’s why omnichannel marketing relies upon data collection and analysis. With an omnichannel approach, you can collect all the data you need from across various platforms and analyze it, looking for trends, problems, and opportunities.
You can implement a customer loyalty program to track consumer behavior across platforms. You’ll be able to monitor purchasing behavior online and in person, giving you a broad view of your customer base. As a result, you can learn what they like and dislike and make decisions backed by reliable, robust information.
3. Perform Audience Segmentation
Once you’ve collected data about your customers, you can perform customer segmentation. You can segment your customers based on various traits, such as their demographics and buying habits. Segmenting your audience can reveal additional information and help you refine your marketing campaigns.
You may discover that you have a significant customer segment that only makes purchases online, for instance. That data might push you to put more effort into your digital channels, or you might encourage digital shoppers to visit in person. Either way, you can make well-informed decisions about your subsequent campaigns.
4. Map Purchase Paths and Create Buyer Personas
After you’ve segmented your audience, study each segment. Different types of buyers will take different paths to make a purchase. One customer may visit your physical store because it’s near their home, while another visits digitally because they saw a social media ad. These customers both bought from you, but they had a very different experience along the way.
Next, you can create buyer personas based on the different paths each customer segment follows. Be specific: outline demographics, how they heard about your company, their struggles and challenges, and anything else you think is essential. For example:
- “Susan is a mid-forties office worker who lives in a major city. She treats herself after work by buying a scented candle from our store on her way home once a month.”
- “Josh is a mid-twenties white-collar worker who’s engaged. He buys scented candles to cheer up his fiancée from our online store after seeing a social media ad.”
Each of these personas covers the critical aspects of the customer segment. You can use these descriptions to write more engaging, personalized ads.
5. Tailor Your Marketing
Once you’ve created buyer personas, you can begin tailoring your marketing. The message that convinces Susan to make a purchase won’t be compelling to Josh, and vice versa. You can create different marketing campaigns for each segment, then use marketing software and segmentation software to present the right message to the right customers. This lets you provide true personalization in your ads, which improves the customer journey and encourages customer engagement.
Give Your Customers the Best Possible Experience
Omnichannel marketing encourages you to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. You can use it to increase engagement, build stronger customer relationships, and increase loyalty to your brand. If you’re ready to implement omnichannel marketing in your marketing strategy, Compose.ly can help. Reach out to Compose.ly’s team of specialists to discuss how you can create a unified marketing strategy with content tailored to your buyer personas.