Omnichannel marketing is a customer-centered strategy that focuses on building a cohesive customer experience across multiple channels and platforms. It relies on building a unified brand presence no matter where your customers encounter your brand.
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What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel (or omni-channel) marketing is defined as a seamless approach to integrating branding and messaging strategies across multiple online and offline channels that your customers engage with.
Say, for example, they see your banner ad and click through to your website, or download your app and then engage with your push notifications on mobile — the experience for the user should be seamless and should feel like it’s all coming from the same brand. That’s the power of omnichannel marketing.
Omnichannel marketing focuses on:
- A customer-centric approach
- Consistent cross-channel branding and voice
- Personalized, interest-based customer messaging
- A deep understanding of the customer journey
An omnichannel marketing strategy puts your customer at the center of your marketing channels. It helps ensure that no matter where your customers connect with your brand, they experience a unified voice that reflects your company’s values and value proposition.
Once upon a time, most people engaged with a company across just two or three channels. If you were looking for a new TV, you might come across an ad touting some big brand’s latest and greatest technology. Then you’d go to a brick-and-mortar store to learn more and make your purchase. If you had a problem with your new purchase, you might have to make a phone call to a customer service line.
Seems pretty old-fashioned now, doesn’t it?
With advances in tech moving at lightning speed, companies now have to engage their customers across many platforms and channels. These marketing channels might include:
- Desktop, mobile, and tablet versions of your website
- A mobile app
- Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- Video platforms like YouTube and TikTok
- Web, live chat, email, phone, or social media customer support
The goal of omnichannel marketing is to make sure your brand is instantly recognizable to your customers because no matter where they interact, they encounter consistent, on-brand messaging, functionality, and visuals.
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Marketing: What’s the Difference?
At a glance, omnichannel and multichannel marketing might sound like the same thing — both focus on multiple customer engagement channels. But when it comes to omnichannel vs. multichannel marketing strategies, the difference lies in how they’re implemented.
In simple terms:
- Multichannel marketingis connecting with customers across multiple channels. Those channels (e.g., website, app, social media, customer service) work independently.
- Omnichannel marketingputs the customer in the center of the strategy. It hones in on the customer experience across all channels and seeks to create a consistent, positive experience at every touchpoint in the customer lifecycle.
Every omnichannel customer experience uses multiple channels, but that doesn’t mean that every multichannel experience has an omnichannel focus.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Every business offers multiple ways for customers to interact with it. In a multichannel environment, your customers might engage with your brand through an ad, via your website, on social media, through your app, or in a physical store.
A multichannel marketing strategy focuses on each piece of the customer lifecycle puzzle as a separate unit. For example, one department may be dedicated to advertising, while one is focused on your website, another is managing social media, and yet another is responsible for your mobile app.
With an omnichannel strategy, all the dots are connected. As your customers move across different channels and platforms — from encountering their first ad to downloading a mobile app to making a purchase — the messaging and transitions feel seamless and interconnected.
Not only is your branding and messaging consistent, but each channel has information about how your customer interacts that informs and personalizes that experience, no matter where the customer encounters your brand.
Omnichannel Strategy Benefits
Let’s face it: if building an effective and truly cohesive omnichannel marketing strategy were easy, every business would be doing it. So let’s take a closer look at the rewards that make the effort worthwhile.
- Deeper brand loyalty— A personalized, customer-centered focus across every customer touchpoint builds loyalty. 91% of customers say they’re more likely to shop with brands that recognize and remember them.
- Better customer retention— Companies with the strongest omnichannel engagement strategies retain 89% of their customers compared to just 33% for companies with weaker strategies.
- More revenue— In retail, customers engaged across multiple channels have a 30% higher customer lifetime value.
With better customer loyalty, retention, and revenue as the outcomes, it’s easy to see why investing in an omnichannel strategy is a no-brainer for almost any business enterprise, from e-commerce to mobile app development.
How To Build an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
Building an omnichannel marketing strategy is a lot like building a home — you need a strong foundation. In fact, the more effort you put into building a strong foundation and framework, the easier your plan will be to execute effectively and consistently.
Step 1: Map Your Customer’s Journey
Who are your customers? What are their habits, needs, and pain points? How do they discover your product, and how do they move through various channels and sales funnels once they’ve made that discovery?
Segment your customers based on their needs, interests, and behaviors. Then create a detailed customer journey outline for each one.
Step 2: Design Your Customer Experience Using Data
Once you know who your customers are, it’s time to decide how you want them to experience your product at each touchpoint.
Leverage any data your team has collected to get a better understanding of how your customers respond to each channel they interact with. Then begin designing a strategy to improve upon any channels that are underperforming.
Step 3: Unify Your Strategy
Now it’s time to get every department on the same page.
If you have separate teams responsible for things like web content, app content and development, social media, email marketing and newsletters, and customer support, coordinate with the leads of each team to plan a unified and cohesive approach to your company’s messaging and branding.
Step 4: Plan to Personalize
You’ve segmented your customers based on their interests and needs, so make sure to use that information as you create a messaging plan.
Remember: omnichannel marketing puts the customer at the center of your strategy. Review your plans to make certain that at every touchpoint your messaging reflects your understanding of who your customer is and what they want from your product, service, or app.
Step 5: Simplify the Process With Marketing Automation
Carefully choosing the best marketing automation tools for your business objectives can simplify your process and help you build the cohesive, customer-centered strategy that forms the core of any omnichannel marketing plan.
Keep in mind that just like the foundation and frame of a building, there will be times when you need to make changes to keep the core of your plan strong. Marketing automation can help you to be flexible and agile so you can pivot as the needs and habits of your customers change.
Omnichannel Marketing Examples
Omnichannel marketing strengthens your brand and helps you create a winning customer experience. For proof, you need only look to some leading brands. Their successful customer-centered approaches put personalization, consistent messaging, and a cohesive cross-platform experience front and center.
Starbucks — Rockstar Rewards Program
Starbucks is so ubiquitous that unless you live in a small town or rural area, you may have one around nearly every corner. Their storefronts and drive-thrus are everywhere, making it convenient to get your caffeine fix.
They have a well-designed app that not only knows your favorite drink and pastry order but allows you to pay through a quick QR code scan. And the cherry on top? A generous rewards program that lets you collect points (called “stars”) to earn free coffee, pastry, food, or even branded merchandise.
Why it works: Starbucks makes use of customer data to personalize your experience and adds convenience at every touchpoint.
Grammarly — Consistent Messaging Across Many Channels
Grammarly is a writing tool that helps you correct your spelling and grammar. They create buzz through a social media strategy that combines fun memes with educational content.
Their content marketing department attracts new customers by creating blog posts that answer the grammar questions people commonly search Google for. An email marketing program delivers personalized writing statistics that users frequently share on social media for bragging rights — an excellent example of gamification in action.
Grammarly’s app offerings include a web-based editor, browser plug-ins, and a mobile keyboard that helps users perfect their writing. Truly omnichannel!
Why it works: Grammarly uses a friendly, informative, and fun messaging tone across every channel, creating a memorable (and often shareable) brand experience.
Spotify — Unified Experience No Matter Where You Listen
Spotify’s omnichannel approach focuses on making sure users can access the music and podcasts they love anywhere they happen to be. They offer apps for web, desktop, and mobile, and those apps sync brilliantly.
Listening to a podcast in your car on your lunch break? You can pick up where you left off when you get back to your desk. And no matter where you’re listening, the customer experience is the same.
Spotify gets bonus points for their annual “Wrapped” campaign, which uses data to generate a shareable story of your year in music, highlighting what you listened to most.
Why it works: Spotify’s focus on a cohesive, highly functional listening experience across devices drives customer engagement and loyalty.
Is an Omnichannel Strategy Right for Your Brand?
Building a winning omnichannel strategy takes effort. To launch your new omnichannel approach, your company will need customer data, cross-channel collaboration, creativity, and time. Your omnichannel strategy will always be in development as you make changes based on new data, changing customer needs, and shifting priorities.
Although omnichannel marketing takes dedication and iteration, the result is a truly customer-centered experience that creates brand recognition, drives user satisfaction, and builds loyalty.