These days, successful businesses are likely to have more than one marketing channel in use at any given time. In addition to traditional channels like brick-and-mortar stores and customer service phone numbers, you probably have a website, social media accounts and even an app. The goal of omnichannel marketing is to bring all these discrete channels together as a cohesive whole. With this type of strategy, you’re creating a similar and seamless experience for consumers across all your platforms.
How can you do this? To start, make sure each of your channels looks recognizably like your brand. If the logo shown in your brand’s Twitter profile is outdated and looks different from what’s on your website, change it. There should be consistent presentation from channel to channel.
In a sense, omnichannel marketing is the logical conclusion of a robust and successful branding strategy. Your brand voice, aesthetic and ethics will shine through in each and every channel. Beyond that, though, a successful omnichannel experience can integrate different tools to provide an optimal customer experience.
Omnichannel Marketing in Action
Omnichannel marketing is all about seamlessness between different channels. For example, say a customer makes a complaint on your brand’s Instagram page. You can send a personalized DM response along with an email address where the customer can get in touch with a supervisor. The supervisor can then communicate with the customer directly via email and set up an appointment for in-person service at a physical store or office.
Viewed this way, omnichannel marketing is a step above mere multichannel marketing. Rather than having different channels available and treating them as distinct entities, your company treats each like a tool on the same Swiss army knife. One channel can flow into another in order to guide the customer along to a positive experience.
Think about the kinds of tools and channels you have available for your customers to access. How might a customer use those tools and channels you have available? As an example, let’s say you own a store that sells one-of-a-kind vintage furniture.
A customer might find your store through an online search for mid-century modern bed frames. They’re likely to then do preliminary product research on your company’s website. Then, they’ll come browse in person to make sure they actually like the bed frame on offer. If your website shows that the bed frame is in stock, but it’s actually sold out, that’s a failure to properly leverage omnichannel strategy.
In that case, the experience transitioning between the website and the store isn’t seamless. That’s likely to frustrate your audience and leave them with a bad impression of your brand.
Understanding the Ultimate Goals of Omnichannel Marketing
The example above may not be universal given how much shopping gets done strictly online these days. But it gets at something important about omnichannel marketing. Having multiple channels available means there are multiple potential points of failure for a brand in delivering a good customer experience. The last thing you want to do is have your different channels represent hoops for the customer to jump through.
This is why it’s important to see omnichannel marketing as being more than just a matter of proper branding. All your banner images might be exactly the same across different social media sites. But your customers aren’t going to be all that wowed if jumping from channel to channel causes headaches.
How can you ensure that multiple channels don’t lead to multiple headaches for your customers? There are a few things to think about.
- Consistency: Have a new product to announce, or need to update the public on details relevant to their monthly subscriptions? Create all your messaging and content at once. The last thing you want is to release important details on only one of your channels or accidentally get details wrong on some but not others.
- Data: How can you tell whether customers will follow you from one channel to another for an omnichannel experience? Data. Before you create an omnichannel strategy, make sure you know how your customers actually behave across your different marketing channels.
- Omni-departmental: As you may already be able to tell, omnichannel marketing isn’t just the marketing department’s responsibility. It’s really an all-hands-on-deck kind of thing. From customer support to web developer teams, everyone in your organization needs to be on the same page. They should all have the same messaging and customer experience goals in mind.
When you successfully incorporate omnichannel marketing into your business strategy, you see potential in each and every tool available for use. It isn’t enough to simply make use of different channels. They’ve got to work together in harmony in a way that makes sense for both your company and your customers. Depending on how large your organization is, it could be a major undertaking to integrate your various channels and get everyone on the same page.
But the effect will be worthwhile when the effort starts paying off. The more you make your customers’ lives easy, the more likely they are to keep coming back to your brand. From impressing new customers to managing relationships with established customers, omnichannel marketing is an efficient route to long-term success.