Omnichannel Marketing: What It Is and How To Implement It
Updated June 24, 2022
In marketing, brands use both digital and physical means to engage with customers. Omnichannel marketing is one such method you can use to develop strategies that gain customers' attention during each stage of the purchasing process and to create approaches to respond to customer needs. Integrating omnichannel marketing strategies can help boost your marketing efficiency, efficacy and customer satisfaction and loyalty. In this article, we discuss what omnichannel marketing is and how to develop an effective omnichannel marketing strategy that supports your organization's success.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is a method of marketing that applies cross-channel content strategies to improve customer experience and develop better relationships with customers across all social and marketing channels. Omnichannel marketing focuses on improving customer experience and relations through both traditional and digital marketing channels and through online and in-person purchasing experiences.
Marketing professionals use omnichannel marketing to create a cohesive experience between shopping online, on the phone and in a store, so customers have the same experience with a company throughout all phases of their purchasing and shopping experiences. Several examples of omnichannel marketing include SMS messaging to customers shopping in-store, sending automated cart abandonment emails and re-targeting ads from customers who abandon online shopping carts.
Benefits of omnichannel marketing
Here are some ways omnichannel marketing can benefit your marketing and promotional efforts:
Personalizes customer service
Omnichannel marketing responds to the actions potential customers take and creates personalized customer experiences. Interactions such as clicking an advertisement in a social media post, abandoning items in a virtual shopping cart or signing up for an email list are examples of several interactions you can personalize to gain more customers' attention.
For instance, as customers shop online, they may add items to their online carts. However, during this phase of the purchasing cycle, customers can take different actions depending on their needs, such as abandoning their shopping cart. At these specific touchpoints, you can use personalized tactics with omnichannel marketing to influence customers' decision to return to make their purchases.
Increases brand loyalty
When your marketing messages reach customers in multiple ways and consistently, you can build up both familiarity and trust. Customers are often more likely to choose products or services they feel they know and trust. By presenting customers with a unified message each time they interact with your brand, you can emphasize your core messaging and support their trust in your brand. This can help customers recall your brand when they think about purchasing the products you offer in the future.
Provides a deeper understanding of your customers
By adopting an omnichannel marketing approach, you can collect more data about your customers' browsing and shopping habits. This type of data can help you identify touchpoints and methods for reaching your customers. You can also collect demographic data to determine alternative products or services that fulfill your customers' needs. This information can help you better focus your future marketing efforts on your customers.
Omnichannel vs. multichannel
Although the terms are similar, the key difference between omnichannel and multichannel marketing is the subject at the center of the strategy. In multichannel marketing, the ultimate focus is raising brand awareness and engaging as many customers as possible across multiple channels. In omnichannel marketing, though, the focus is on the customer experience, where a brand adapts all access points to customers interacting with the various contact points in their purchasing journey.
Essentially, multichannel marketing displays a message for as many customers to see as possible, while omnichannel marketing aims to improve customer experience across all channels within a marketing campaign. For example, if you have data that suggests your customers prefer to browse stock on a mobile app and then try items on in-store, you can incorporate GPS location functions into your application and coordinate information about stocking levels across your stores.
Related: 13 Examples of Marketing Channels
How to create an omnichannel marketing strategy
The following steps can help you design an omnichannel marketing strategy that is streamlined and responsive:
1. Evaluate the customer experience
Before implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy, it's important to understand how customers experience your brand or business when interacting with it. For instance, businesses that offer items for sale in both a store and on an online shopping website may evaluate various metrics such as customer satisfaction, engagement, loyalty, retention, lifetime value and acquisition rates. Evaluating certain metrics like these can provide valuable insight into how effective your methods are for engaging, retaining, supporting and improving the customer experience.
2. Gather customer data
In addition to trying out the customer experience and asking customers for their feedback, you can look at analytics to get detailed information about interactions and demographics. You can gather data using things like cookies, tracking pixels and device information, social media pages and registrations for loyalty programs or mailing lists. For example, customer data can tell you which ads or searches get the most clicks, how visitors interact with links once they are on your site and what items customers put in their shopping carts or purchase.
Read more: What Is Customer Data?
3. Interpret your data
You can use the data that you acquire to divide customers into various profiles, segmenting each target group into buyer personas. Then, you can find alternative ways to interact with those customers based on their behavior. For example, you may interpret your data and find that various strategies can be effective to:
Send tailored email messages based on customer demographics
Increase social media messaging to customers who interact with your content
Deliver mobile notifications to customers who abandoned items in their shopping carts
Mail coupons to customers who have not made a purchase recently
Offer time-limited deals to customers who visit certain pages or interact with certain ads
These types of actions can be partially or fully automated, increasing your marketing efficiency.
4. Test your strategies
Although you can develop omnichannel messages based on your new target audience information, it is important to try different options to deliver those messages. For instance, consider testing distribution methods like social media, online journals, blogs and print media. You can test the strategies you integrate at random times, over specific periods or according to a buyer persona. Collecting data and testing your strategies in these types of trials can help you further target and refine your messaging.
5. Use technical tools and resources
Consider using marketing tools and resources to track, evaluate and improve strategy efficiency and responsiveness. Technology resources like marketing analytics tools can help you automate your messaging, collect data and run your social media pages. You can use management software for customer relationships, content and inventory. Tools and resources like these can help streamline your marketing and customer relations processes.
6. Include the entire team
Ensure everyone in your business knows about your omnichannel marketing strategy. Successful implementation depends on everyone's familiarity with the process and focuses on customer experience. For example, staff in a physical store can help a customer retrieve a coupon in a mobile app that coincides with items for sale in-store. Other team members, like social media specialists, can familiarize themselves with brand messaging and omnichannel strategies to improve engagement with customers through various platforms.
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