The Art and Science of Omnichannel Marketing
Kathleen McQuade | March 2, 2023
Like many things, the marketing world is constantly shifting to meet the demands of an ever-changing world. And as innovative new channels continue to push user expectations forward, keeping up with it all is no easy task. This is especially true when it comes to omnichannel marketing. A key trend that has ebbed and flowed over the last decade, the promise of omnichannel marketing is that it offers a seamless, consistent customer experience across all utilized channels of marketing.
When it comes to omnichannel marketing, whether a user visits a company’s website, LinkedIn page, YouTube channel, or receives an email from them, the look, feel and overall experience of the interaction should be consistent. Each touchpoint should echo with every interaction throughout that user’s experience, no matter which medium they choose to interact with at that given moment. The primary goal is to make the user experience as easy as possible, and that means consistent engagement no matter where or how a customer is interacting with you.
Before There Was Omnichannel Marketing There Was Multichannel
The precursor to all of this, of course, was multichannel marketing. Thirty years ago, there simply were not as many channels for companies to market within. A company could have a website, sure, and maybe some direct marketing efforts by sending out mailers, and perhaps advertising in magazines and newspapers. However, as more and more channels became available, the race was on for companies to increase their brand awareness and stickiness within them.
The idea was simple: hit customers with your messaging across as many channels as possible. Which makes good sense. Unfortunately, in the early days especially, businesses often treated each channel independently and used different imagery, taglines and even branding for each one. And this created all kinds of user experience issues.
Here’s a good example of a multichannel campaign that failed due to poor execution. A well-known company sent out a piece of direct marketing with a coupon code. But when customers used it on the company’s website, they learn that the code did not work with the items they wanted to purchase. The frustration caused by this inconsistency resulted in unhappiness with the company and reluctance for customers to try them again in the future.
The difference between omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing
Omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing are two strategies often used in the field of marketing to describe the strategies used by companies to connect with their targeted audience. While these two approaches may seem similar, there are distinct differences between multichannel and Omnichannel marketing approach.
Multichannel marketing strategy is where a business uses different multiple channels to reach its customers. These channels can include email, social media, direct mail, print ads, television ads, paid ads, display ads and other forms of communication. The only goal of multichannel marketing is to interact with targeted audience using multiple different channels & deliver message to the customer. For example, a companies may send a promotion email to its customers and at the same time run a social media or paid media campaigns to promote the same offer highlighting different benefits of offer. While this may be effective in short run, but in long run it may lead to a disconnected experience for the customer, as they receive different messages and offers across different channels.
Contrary to multichannel marketing, omnichannel marketing is a more advance strategy in nature which the idea of multichannel marketing to the next level with more strategic approach. With omnichannel marketing, the focus is to provide a seamless and consistent experience across all channels to the targeted customers. This means that no matter how and where a customer interacts with a business, they will receive the same level of service and experience.
The major benefit of omnichannel marketing is that it allows businesses to create a unique & personalized experience for their targeted customers. By collecting data on each customer’s preference and behaviors, businesses can customize their marketing efforts to better meet the needs of their targeted audience. For example, if a customer frequently purchases products on an online platform regularly, in that case businesses may send them targeted email campaigns which highlights product they have shown interest along with the accessories and related products.
The additional benefits of omnichannel marketing are, that it can help businesses build stronger & better relationships with their customers. It provides a consistent and seamless experience across all marketing channels used. This helps to create more seamless experience to customers making them feel more valued and appreciated. This leads to increased loyalty and repeat business.
However, executing an omnichannel marketing strategy can prove to be a challenging task for businesses. It requires a significant investment in technology and resources including data analytics to ensure that all channels are integrated and working together seamlessly. Additionally, it needs a deep understanding of each customer’s journey, behavior, and his preferred mode of communication, which can be difficult to obtain.
In contrast, multichannel marketing is a more straightforward in its approach making it easier for businesses to implement. Using this strategy businesses can reach a wider audience by using a variety of channels at the same time & they can also use similar of different messaging for promotion. However, multichannel marketing may not provide the same level of personalized, seamless, and consistent experience that omnichannel marketing provides.
Why Multichannel Marketing Often Fails
Unfortunately, the problem with multichannel strategies was, and continues to be, the execution. Many businesses fail to keep a consistent look and feel throughout their touchpoints. In most cases, this leads to the following.
Confusion around brand identities
Poor customer conversion rates
Decreased brand loyalty
Lackluster return on investment
A company and products that aren’t memorable
Customers feeling like brand interactions are merely transactional
Thankfully, companies have taken note, and many have transitioned away from single-track approaches to meet their customer’s evolving needs and stay competitive. So, gone are the days of clunky multichannel marketing experiences that left customers feeling frustrated and mistrustful. Brands now recognize the need for a unified, omnichannel approach to customer engagement—one which provides an integrated experience across channels to satisfy modern expectations. The key is understanding what customers want from an experience point of view and then delivering on those expectations seamlessly.
How to Deploy Omnichannel Marketing
In order to evolve with the marketplace, companies need to understand what customers want. And based on our research and experience, here’s what that looks like.
Customers want to be met where they are on their buying journey. This means spoon feeding them the information they need when they need it. They will abandon the process if they have to look too long for the right information.
Customers want the information to be memorable and easily accessible. It should have the same look and feel across all channels, be it a website, a live demo, or social media. Customers should also be able to navigate easily from one platform or medium to another, while still feeling connected to a brand.
Customers want personalized content based on their particular behaviors. For instance, if a customer has engaged with a company multiple times, their experience should be more targeted each time. And by investing in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), companies can easily gain insights into a customer’s buying journey and tailor experiences much more easily.
Making the investment in addressing these customer needs will go a long way in making them feel connected and remembered, which, in turn, will translate to positive customer experiences. This is the ultimate goal of omnichannel marketing. And this is what will lead to brand loyalty and higher customer satisfaction.
How Mobile Will Drive Omnichannel Engagement
The personalization of marketing that omnichannel strategies enable is what customers are leaning into more and more. Therefore, brands need to create more relevant, individualized experiences for their customers or someone else will. And the effort is worth it because the goodwill created through an omnichannel approach will lead to enhanced customer loyalty and brand advocacy. And deploying a mobile approach to omnichannel marketing is a great way to ensure this happens.
A mobile, digital-first approach is the key to omnichannel engagement, as it is the only application that can unobtrusively connect brands to their customers. Take for example the ZING Engagement Suite, which help break down communication barriers within the life sciences industry by facilitating customizable, on-demand communication between healthcare professionals (HCPs) and life sciences companies. For those unfamiliar, ZING is a comprehensive digital-first solution that enables compliant omnichannel HCP engagement by enhancing existing communication channels with features including text messaging, two-way voice and video calling, onscreen collaboration and form sharing, inbound communications with QR code scanning, artificial intelligence (AI) assistance, signature capture, easy access integrations and more.
The ZING Engagement Suite enables personalized 1:1 communication using native text messaging on a HCPs iOS or Android device with pre-built integrations with major CRMs. This makes it easy for life sciences IT teams in terms of data management and integrity for things like territory alignments, roster changes and other specific data integration needs. Compliance can track every communication, end-to-end. And managers can measure activity and results with ZING’s powerful dashboards.
The more businesses adapt and grow to their individual customers’ needs, the more successful those businesses will be in creating longlasting customers. Through omnichannel marketing, a brand can position itself as the solution a buyer needs, when they need it, and where they are hunting for it. And when utilized correctly, omnichannel strategies make a brand seem more accessible, thoughtful and interested in building a stronger relationship with the customer.