What is omnichannel marketing?
Audiences today want to interact with your business 24/7, online and off, through stores, apps, and mobile devices. And, they expect your company communications to reflect up-to-date knowledge of their preferences and purchases. Omnichannel marketing delivers on this market demand by helping a business present a consistent, informed message through multiple channels.
If this sounds complicated, consider 2 things. One, it’s a different organizing framework for your marketing, but not more difficult than what you currently use. Two, the potential payoff is mighty, since marketers with campaigns involving 3 or more channels have a 90% higher retention rate than single-channel marketers.
The characteristics of omnichannel marketing include:
- A consistent message across all your channels
- Marketing that reflects audience interactions with any channel
- Personalization at every stage of the buyer journey and across all channels
- Reliance on data and analytics
These examples show omnichannel marketing in action:
A jewelry shop sends its audience an email letting them know to watch their mailbox for a print catalog of their new collection. The catalog drives shoppers to both the shop’s brick-and-mortar location and its e-commerce website.
Facebook posts highlight a craft store’s DIY tutorials for fun family projects on YouTube. The videos drive viewers to sign up for the chain’s email list, so they can receive regular updates about new videos and a list of the supplies needed for the crafts, with handy links back to the main website to purchase.
An Italian restaurant encourages diners to sign up for its loyalty program. The day after they join, they’re sent a personalized welcome email from the manager of the location they visited and invited to download the program’s mobile app. As a reward for logging in, they’ll receive a free appetizer with their next meal.
Multichannel vs. omnichannel
Some people are confused by the difference between the terms multichannel and omnichannel. Let’s look at the difference.
Multichannel marketing means you’re sending many outreaches to your audience but aren’t necessarily integrating them to create a consistent and seamless experience. With multichannel marketing, for example, an audience member might receive a standard email or text promotion for 10% off a first-time purchase just after buying from you. With omnichannel marketing, the same audience member would receive a thank-you message with a suggestion for an add-on purchase.
Here are a few more examples:
Multichannel: Steve’s Comics sends shoppers a weekly email newsletter detailing this week’s new comics, offering them a free issue of SuperKitty with their next in-store purchase.
Omnichannel: Steve’s Comics sends shoppers weekly email newsletters tailored to their previous shopping behavior. Superhero fans are offered a free issue of SuperKitty with their next in-store purchase, while aficionados of Westerns receive an offer for Cowboy Joe. Subscribers are encouraged to share their mobile number to receive text alerts when hot collectibles are available at the shop.
Multichannel: When regular audience members log in to their account on RealSock’s website, they can see their order history and if desired items are available at local retailers.
Omnichannel: After they log in, RealSock’s audience can see their shopping history and create wish lists for future purchases. They can check out product inventory at nearby stores and sign up for local events with nonprofit partners whose values mirror RealSock’s ecofriendly brand proposition. And, a rewards program gives members points for purchases and for following the brand’s social media presences.
Multichannel: Bridgefire Bank offers its audience the option to make deposits and transfer funds at retail branches, ATMs, or via mobile device.
Omnichannel: Clients can conduct their banking transactions in person, at ATMs, on the web, or with their mobile phone, as well as via voice command with their virtual assistant. Bridgefire offers an Alexa skill that enables clients to check their balance, inquire about mortgage rates, make appointments with financial advisors, and more, 24/7. The onboarding process is simple for omnichannel account access, and a client’s profile is synced across all channels for easy access.
Omnichannel marketing statistics
It’s easy to see why omnichannel marketing makes sense when you look at the data. It pays back in terms of lead generation, nurturing, sales, and retention. It can also streamline your marketing efforts. The numbers tell the story:
Who’s doing it now: 79% of US companies have connected at least some of their marketing channels to drive personalized omnichannel marketing; 14% have connected about half of their channels to improve the audience experience.
Why it works: 70% of your audience expects a connected journey—and you need to be ready. They aren’t just shopping in 1 channel, so brands must be present where their audience lives, both in the digital and physical world. For example, 47% of in-store shoppers use their mobile phones to access in-app discounts, while 43% look up product information. A quarter of consumers purchased a product seen in a brick-and-mortar store on their phone, while another quarter went on to purchase on a PC.
What it can do for your business: The purchase rate of campaigns using 3 or more channels is 287% higher than single channel campaigns. Campaigns that incorporate SMS are 47.7% more likely to convert, and those that incorporate segmented email communications earn 62.2% higher order rates.
What it can do for productivity: Marketers are seeing numerous benefits from personalized omnichannel marketing, including increased conversion rates (61%); improved lead generation and new customer acquisition (56%); better audience lifetime value (36%); and decreased churn/increased retention (23%).
How to be successful with omnichannel marketing
A shift to omnichannel marketing in your company can be done systematically. Follow these steps:
- Map your audience’s potential journey, from when they first learn about you, through research and consideration, to when they buy and beyond. Don't stop when they make the purchase: Analyze your onboarding process, and see how you can nurture the relationship to encourage repeat buying and retention. This will enable you to determine where you need to meet them on that journey.
- Identify any other audience communication that’s happening from all groups in your company, including sales, customer service, and others. Make sure that all interactions with your audience work together to create a cohesive brand experience.
- Gain consensus internally about the consistent message you plan to send for each of these connection points within your overall company message. Make sure everyone—from top-level decision makers and marketing execs to account representatives and call center staff—is on the same page when it comes to your brand proposition and strategy.
- Analyze audience data to be sure you’re developing an omnichannel marketing experience for all buyers. Detailed profiles—based on buying behavior, demographics, survey data, and other unifying characteristics—can help you create a picture of the core audience segments you want to target.
- Put all your audience data into 1 CRM tool. Centralizing and connecting your data in a single dashboard can help you have more relevant conversations, whether you’re building your brand or segmenting an already significant audience.
- Personalize your planned outreach based on your data. No 2 shoppers are the same. Create follow-up campaigns that build on their past behaviors, both in what they buy and how they interact with your company.
- “Mystery shop” your omnichannel marketing experience. Step into their shoes and pretend that you’re each of the audience segments you’ve established. Verify that the experience is good in every channel and at every touchpoint.
- Test and refine. A/B testing—sending out two versions of something—will help you see what types of creative, copy, and offers your audience best responds to and give you valuable insight into ways you can refine and improve communications.
Put omnichannel marketing to work for your company
You’re smart and informed—shouldn’t your marketing be, too? Use omnichannel marketing to communicate to your audience that you’re paying attention and are committed to serving them, wherever they happen to be.