Alex Macura is the founder and CEO of Your digital montage. A full-funnel agency that supports online companies in their digital growth.
No matter what stage of any given sales journey you’re in (and you’re probably part of several, if you think about it), it’s likely you’ve come across omnichannel marketing from your favorite brands. This harmonious integration of channels is how the consumer and the marketer interact. It’s the brick-and-mortar store, the e-commerce website, the social media comments, the ad on YouTube, the flyer in the mailbox — all of which strive to provide a consistent, engaging brand experience and ultimately guide the consumer through a purchasing decision.
Whether your online presence drives people to your brick-and-mortar store or your store delivers curated user experiences, in today’s economy, retailers must find every advantage they can find to get noticed in the noise. Omnichannel marketing is an effective method that changes the way retail does marketing.
How does omnichannel differ from multichannel?
I understand the confusion. There is a bit of overlap between the two strategies.
First, let’s see what omnichannel marketing is. In short, omnichannel marketing follows the consumer across all of their devices, online channels and – where possible – their physical spaces.
Stores used to be a distribution channel and online was about marketing. Now consumers can buy directly from an Instagram message and stores are included in delivering powerful, emotional customer experiences.
In this way, omnichannel marketing presents one coherent brand experience. It views every time a consumer interacts with the brand, whether in-store or online, as a key touchpoint in the funnel to a conversion.
For this reason, omnichannel is super user-centric in terms of how you deploy your marketing tactics. Consumers feel that all channels – be it social media, the call center, your brick-and-mortar store or your website – are all equally suited to buying, engaging with, complaining about and selling your brand and products. to judge .
So, how is that different from multichannel marketing tactics? While multichannel marketing understands that marketing needs multiple channels, it typically only maps a user journey per channel, not across channels. This method is important, make no mistake. But it’s not as effective as an omnichannel approach.
Why choose an omnichannel approach?
While the complexity of creating these types of strategies can be heavy, the benefits and returns of a multichannel strategy easily outweigh.
The modern consumer is so accustomed to information overload that their built-in filter and radar — not to mention the AI of their devices — help them be more selective about seeing brands they enjoy interacting with.
An omnichannel strategy could be just what your brand needs to stand out from the crowd. Here’s what we’ve found that comes from a good omnichannel strategy.
• It’s better for the user: The focus is on the person rather than the channel or platform. This makes it a better UX for them, which usually translates into better sales. For example, a retailer sells products based on a moving user experience in the store.
• It’s better for your brand: Your brand is easily recognizable across all channels when you create a unified strategy. Creating a user experience that spans all channels means that everyone, every channel, every touchpoint is singing from the same anthem sheet.
• It is better for the result: Channel diversification gives you more reach and engagement. For example, Heinz has been using omnichannel brilliantly recently with a campaign featuring a pop-up event in Santa Monica, live streaming the event with a link to the website, and distributing the live streaming across multiple social and online channels. The results were massive engagement levels, high video views, and massive brand exposure.
How do you get started with omnichannel marketing?
This is not a focus on a specific channel, but on the overall user experience. With that in mind, here are five points that are important to keep in mind when planning your strategy.
1. Understand your customer.
This is number one. All the time. If you can do this right, I assure you that your marketing campaigns will succeed.
To do this, you must first review your CRM platform, your online reviews, and your existing data to understand your customer’s demographics, similarities, emotions, and pain points. Understand their challenges and how your product or service solves them. Then create customer personas and respect them in your messages – every channel, every touchpoint, every time.
2. Collect and understand the data.
Data is the best way for you to understand through which channels, at what times and on which devices your consumer prefers to interact with you and your brand.
Even if you only have Google Analytics for your website and the built-in dashboards for your social channels, that’s a good start. Frankly, we have more data than we know what to do with. The real challenge is understanding the data and getting actionable insights. Use your data analysts, business intelligence software, or marketing resources to make sense of the data so you can optimize live campaigns and meet your customers where they are.
3. Map the customer journey.
See the steps your potential customers take between discovering your brand for the first time, considering alternatives, buying from the brand, and staying loyal. Then sketch these for each customer segment.
4. Stick to the brand.
The physical store is also a media channel and digital media is also the store. Use your brand guidelines to keep messages and creatives consistent so that your customer recognizes you, regardless of the channel or stage of the funnel.
5. Test and optimize.
I’ve found that the only way to continually get the most out of an omnichannel approach is to test, test, test. Run AB tests with CTA, headline, image, or product placement changes. See which ones get the best results per channel.
This may seem like a lot. However, if you integrate your offline and online channels, keep the customer at the center and think about how best to reach them, then you can be effective in omnichannel marketing.