What is Omnichannel Marketing: Meaning, Benefits, and Ideas
Want to improve brand image, customer experience, and ROI altogether?
If so then it is now time for your company to use omnichannel marketing to achieve such objectives and drive conversions.
But, what is omnichannel marketing? Well, it means integrating all online and offline marketing tools to offer a seamless experience to customers. It ensures consistency across all channels and helps you increase customer engagements.
Yet, several marketers still don’t know what is omnichannel marketing strategy and how to use it for their company’s growth.
Hence, this piece discusses the meaning of omnichannel marketing along with some tips and examples. It also covers the differences between multichannel and omnichannel marketing to avoid confusion.
What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is the integration of several advertising tools that companies use to engage with their existing and potential customers. It includes online (email, social media, website, etc.) and offline (direct mail, newspaper advertising, physical stores, etc.) channels.
Also, you can incorporate other lesser-used channels, like live videos, webinars, digital bots, call centers, and more.
The prime motive of omnichannel marketing is to facilitate a smooth customer journey and develop a cohesive brand tone. It encourages marketers to align all their marketing channels towards a common goal.
Nowadays, customers tend to switch to other brands after one purchase. Such customer churn can affect your company’s sales levels negatively. Plus, some prospects don’t even make it up to their first purchase.
Omnichannel marketing can help you reduce customer churn and retain customers. It also enables you to provide excellent experiences to prospects encouraging them to buy from you.
Here are some examples to help you understand the concept:
- Redirecting people to your shopping website via an email link.
- Promotion of in-store discount offers via social media and email.
- Sending direct mail items to prospects to drive online traffic on your website.
- Encouraging customers to download your mobile app by putting up a poster outside your store.
Difference Between Omnichannel Vs. Multichannel Marketing
As discussed above, omnichannel marketing is not only about using multiple marketing channels but also synchronizing them. Yet, many people tend to use the terms ‘omnichannel’ and ‘multichannel’ interchangeably.
All omnichannel marketing plans use various multiple marketing channels. But, not all multichannel marketing strategies offer omnichannel experiences. In short, the scope of multichannel marketing is limited compared to omnichannel marketing.
You may have a well-crafted website, mobile application, social media handles, direct mail programs, etc. But, you cannot offer complete consistency, transparency, agility, and convenience until you integrate them all.
However, they are both separate concepts and fulfill different marketing objectives. Here are a few points that can explain what is the difference between multichannel and omnichannel:
Customer Vs. Channel
Surprisingly, customers are not the focal point of multichannel marketing strategies. They are more concerned with using more and more channels to get more leads.
It is safe to say that multichannel marketing prioritizes quantity over quality. Thus, you may get more leads, but they may not be valuable to your company.
On the contrary, omnichannel marketing uses a customer-centric view that supports long-term business relationships.
Generic Vs. Personalized Messages
Omnichannel marketing customizes content according to the customers’ likes and requirements. But, multichannel marketing uses the same generic messages for everyone—leaving no scope for personalization.
Working Independently Vs. Working Interdependently
Omnichannel marketing channels work together to strengthen brand recall and improve user experience. However, all multichannel marketing channels have different motives and work independently.
Thus, while comparing integrated marketing vs. omnichannel marketing, please consider your goals before making decisions.
Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing can yield excellent results for your brand and has several benefits. Below, we have listed why every business should consider employing omnichannel marketing as part of their strategies at the earliest:
Cohesive Brand Identity
Undoubtedly, omnichannel marketing creates a cohesive brand image in the minds of your target audience. When they engage with your brand on multiple channels, they tend to recall your business better.
Increased Conversions and Revenue
Using an omnichannel marketing strategy allows marketers to use the right channels in the right proportion. Hence, you can control your budget while maximizing your ROI.
Also, omnichannel marketing directs customers from one channel to another to help push them down the sales funnel. It facilitates smooth and upfront communications between a company and its prospects—which helps close deals easily.
Boosted Customer Satisfaction
Today, customers know their options well and are likely to buy from a brand that takes customer service seriously. Hence, omnichannel marketing is a must-have for companies wanting to drive more sales. It ensures that all customer communications are personalized and synced.
Connect With More People
Earlier, we discussed how multichannel marketing uses several channels to reach more people. Please note that you can do the same with omnichannel marketing as well. In fact, omnichannel marketing has a broader reach as it utilizes customer data and targets relevant prospects.
Increased Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is a crucial aspect of every business. The level of customer loyalty decides how much repeat business a company can get. Hence, brands should work on their customer retention programs.
Also, they can undertake some marketing activities to win back old customers who no longer deal with them. The best way to bring these strategies to life is using omnichannel marketing. It helps you to understand your customer base in-depth and offer relevant services.
Steps to Create Successful Omnichannel Marketing Campaigns
As said earlier, omnichannel marketing is all about offering a smooth and hassle-free experience to customers throughout their journey. It is not a simple task for marketers, but it can produce excellent results when done right.
Following are some steps that marketers can undertake to ensure that their omnichannel advertising efforts are successful:
Start With Your Company Website
Business websites must have all the details regarding the company’s products and services. It is advisable to have a separate page for each of them so that customers can read the descriptions carefully and select for themselves.
Customers should be able to view and buy whatever they want through your online store conveniently. Some brands also develop mobile apps, especially those in the fashion, retail, and food sectors.
Also, consider posting on your website frequently to attract online visitors. Start a separate blog section where you can publish how-to blogs, the latest trends in your industry, and other articles revolving around your offerings.
Another thing that you can do is create an account on popular social media platforms. You can create your own online hub by making impressive posts that promote your brand.
One of the best omnichannel examples is Amazon’s use of all such digital channels. Amazon also has different websites and apps for both shopping and video.
Understand Your Buyer Personas
It is possible that your products and service appeal to different groups of people.
Suppose you own a book shop, and people of all ages visit you daily. But, only the readers from your neighborhood are likely to come to your shop. Thus, you can segment your audience based on their preferences, habits, ages, and location.
Similarly, all businesses can learn their buyer personas and focus on them separately. This way, they can learn about their customers’ needs better and offer relevant solutions.
Data Collection and Analysis
Launching a profitable omnichannel campaign requires you to collect and analyze precise details about your target markets. It would be best if you conduct market research every once in a while to stay updated on various aspects, like:
- When do your target customers interact with your business? (eg. before the holiday season, during summer sales, etc.)
- On what devices does your audience actively engage with your online channels? (eg. the traffic generated on your website via Android devices, computers, iPhones, etc.)
- Which type of offers and messages get the most number of responses?
- Which product features are your potential customers looking for?
- How much time do they spend with your business across every touchpoint?
However, data collection brings you only one step closer to success. After collecting all the facts and figures, you need to draft helpful reports and insights. In simpler terms, you need to analyze your data to figure out how to use it constructively.
For example, Starbucks collected data on their audience’s purchasing behavior and noticed that they resent standing in long queues to get their coffees. So, they used this information to create an omnichannel marketing strategy to help improvise this situation.
They enabled their customers to place their orders online and then walk into the store only to grab their coffees. This way, they could reduce waiting times and improve customer experience significantly.
Therefore, data collection and analysis are crucial to a company’s growth and success.
Personalize Your Content
The one-size-fits-all approach does not fit well on omnichannel platforms. Customers are distracted by hundreds of ads every day and have very little time to pay attention to them. You need to beat the competition and entice customers to view and react to your ads.
Luckily, you can do so by personalizing your content and making your audience feel special. If you send a direct mail piece or email to your prospects, try adding their names to grab their attention. In the case of social media ads, you can use tools like geo-targeting to show location-based ads to your customers.
Thus, you can show the most relevant ads to your target audience, increasing your chances of getting more responses.
Always Include a Platform-Relevant CTA
It doesn’t matter if you engage with your customers through emails, social media ads, one-to-one phone calls, etc.—always include a CTA at the end. But, please remember to make it platform-appropriate so that customers find it easy to complete.
Your CTA should not throw your customers off track and distract them from the actual message. For instance, if you are running a Facebook ads campaign, customers are likely to view your ads on their mobile phones. Hence, directing them to your desktop website may be unreasonable.
On the contrary, using device-appropriate and platform-relevant CTAs can increase responses and conversions.
Leverage Marketing Automation
A marketing automation tool can help you perform various tasks related to your omnichannel eCommerce plans, like:
- Segmenting target audience according to specific demographics.
- Personalizing messages.
- Scheduling various campaigns.
- Measuring campaign performance and generating reports, etc.
Without automation, companies might face several difficulties as omnichannel campaigns demand a lot of money, time, and effort. The process of planning and executing such programs can be daunting and affect productivity levels.
PostGrid’s direct mail services are ideal for companies that want to use snail mail as part of their marketing plans. They can automate everything from designing mail items to printing and mailing them. Hence, you can reduce manual effort and encourage your team members to focus on other crucial areas.
Furthermore, PostGrid offers a 2-business day SLA at the most competitive prices, saving a lot of your time and money.
Take Advantage of Omnichannel Attribution
While using more than one marketing tool, it is hard to know which channel should get the credit for your campaign’s success. The more complicated question is how much did each channel contribute to a conversion?
Most marketers use a measuring mechanism to get the answers to such questions. The most popular models are:
- Media Mix Modeling (MMM): MMM does not offer customer-level insights to determine the preferences or buying habits of your audience. But, it can provide you with aggregate data of several years. Thus, you can recognize trends and know how well a channel has performed over the years. For example, you can find out specific times during the year when your sales level rises or declines.
- Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA): MTA is a more advanced campaign measurement tool that helps you get person-level insights for every touchpoint. Also, this model enables you to collect data in real-time, allowing you to make changes in ongoing campaigns. Thus, you can tailor your strategies according to customers’ needs at every stage to ensure a maximized ROI. However, you may be unable to know which channels are responsible for specific conversions.
Thus, MTA and MMM are imperfect models and cannot provide accurate results. Still, they help you know what you should improve or change about your campaigns.
Test Your Omnichannel Advertising Plans
There is no such thing as the perfect omnichannel advertising program. You can always improvise on some aspects and perform better than before.
However, you can find an ideal plan that suits your motives and needs by testing your strategies regularly. Find out which feature of your campaign can drive the highest results and which part needs modification.
The most popular method that companies employ is A/B testing. This method requires you to use two or more versions of your campaign and determine which one works better.
For example, if you want to conduct a direct mail marketing campaign, you can use three different types of offers:
- Buy one get one free.
- Get a flat 20% discount on your first purchase.
- Use the coupon code below to claim $10 cashback.
Also, you can test your artworks, CTAs, headlines, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), media mix, etc. Testing your strategies and comparing results is the best way to plan highly profitable campaigns.
Omnichannel Marketing Best Practices
Now that you know what exactly is omnichannel, let’s discuss some best practices that can help you get the best out of your campaigns:
Choose the Right Marketing Channels
There are multiple marketing channels for marketers to invest in, like Facebook, Instagram, direct mail, email, LinkedIn, display ads, PPC, billboards, TV advertising, etc. However, it is impossible to utilize all of them.
Plus, most companies have a specific marketing budget, which does not allow using more than three to five channels (sometimes even less).
Under such circumstances, they need to select a few channels that can drive the most results. It will help them eliminate the underperforming channels and create a media mix of the effective ones.
Facilitate Communication Between Teams
A successful omnichannel strategy requires all the company’s departments to work together. You should align your product development, PR, sales, marketing, and customer service teams.
Before integrating different marketing channels, it is crucial to get all your departments on board. Communicate your objectives and help them understand their roles in fulfilling them. Every team member should know how they fit in the complete omnichannel sales picture.
You can lay down some basic guidelines for everyone where the focal point is to offer a seamless experience to customers. Apart from that, departments should also be able to work flexibly to achieve their goals.
Map Your Omnichannel Marketing Funnels
An omnichannel marketing plan can help brands push prospects ahead of their marketing funnels. But, you may need to undertake a few things like mapping your customer journeys and marketing funnels in advance.
Basically, you should evaluate all the steps taken by your customers from the time they discover your brand to the time they buy from you. See how you can influence these steps and generate more leads.
Also, list all the touchpoints you plan on using for a campaign. Figure out how many touches your audience needs before conversion. You can also study your competitors’ strategies to outperform them and increase conversion rates.
Use a Consistent Brand Tone
Brands must use a consistent tone across every channel and campaign. Try adhering to your business guidelines to facilitate brand visibility and awareness. It can also help you improve brand recognition among customers.
Try to promote the same ideas, use the same messaging, and make the same deals on every omnichannel marketing channel.
A common example is using the same logo for every campaign. Some brands change their logo colors to match the colors of their artwork, but that can affect their brand recall rates negatively.
For design tips and ideas, read this article: Direct Mail Design Tips
Also, suppose you are promoting your end-of-the-year season sale, and your message says that you can exchange products within ten days. In this case, you need to ensure that this offer is available at all your online and offline stores—to ensure consistency and avoid customer dissatisfaction.
Omnichannel Marketing Examples
Below are some best omnichannel marketing examples that marketers can refer to:
Walgreens has a well-designed mobile app to help customers renew their prescriptions conveniently. It uses this channel as a primary tool for its omnichannel strategies. Customers can refill prescriptions through this app and then pick them up from a local store whenever they want.
Thus, they don’t need to call pharmacies to check if their prescriptions are ready or wait in queues. Also, they can check the inventory of every store in their neighborhood and decide which store to visit.
Another feature of this app is setting up a reminder that tells you when to refill your prescriptions.
This way, Walgreens has combined its mobile and in-person experience to offer a seamless experience to customers.
Barnes & Noble
You may think that brick-and-mortar book shops are no longer popular. But, Barnes & Noble still has the expertise in offering the traditional experience to readers. It has several stores across the country where hundreds of people visit regularly.
However, it does not stop there! Barnes & Noble also started a mobile reading app, mobile website, and desktop website to create an omnichannel plan with the motive of getting more readers.
Also, Barnes & Noble decided to do something out of the box and improve the quality of its customer service. Hence, it started an in-store cafe to enable visitors to sit and read while enjoying a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
This initiative by Barnes & Noble shows that you don’t need to stick with only the textbook marketing tools. You can get as creative as possible and start a new trend to back up your omnichannel advertising efforts.
Timberland creates a unique in-store experience for its customers that lets them know about all the products in detail. As customers enter the store, they get a tablet which they can use to press upon any product they like.
The Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology transfers the product data to their tablet screens. Thus, customers can learn the descriptions without having to call a salesperson. It is similar to scanning a QR code on direct mail items or products.
Not just that, the software also offers product suggestions to customers based on the items they check out.
Hence, brands combine different technologies and channels to offer the greatest level of convenience and personalization to their customers.
Omnichannel Marketing Use Cases
The omnichannel marketing approach is suitable for all verticals, but it is the most popularly used in the following fields:
Healthcare is a heavily regulated industry where data privacy matters a lot. Thus, it was comparatively slow to adopt omnichannel marketing.
However, today, almost all healthcare institutions employ omnichannel marketing to generate leads and retain patients. They offer various services to patients like accessing their reports online, scheduling appointments through mobile apps, getting health tips through blog posts, etc.
Travel and Tourism
The travel industry uses omnichannel marketing for many things, like:
- Sending the best travel deals to customers.
- Telling them of the different places they could visit.
- Offering advice on how they can reduce traveling costs.
- Reminding customers of their upcoming flights or trains, etc.
The financial services sector is shifting towards a customer-centric mindset due to omnichannel marketing. It now employs various online and offline marketing channels to offer relevant solutions to customers based on their financial needs and wants.
We often see billboards and posters talking about a bank’s features, like low-interest rates on personal loans, quick processing, etc. However, banks are equally dominant in the digital space as they continue to digitize their services.
Read more: PostGrid for financial services.
The telecom industry can use omnichannel marketing activities to allow customers to:
- Pay their phone bills online.
- Know about the latest services and calling plans.
- Get notifications about their upcoming recharge dates, etc.
Omnichannel marketing is prevalent in many other sectors, like retail, fashion, hospitality, automotive, etc.
Using Direct Mail as a Primary Aspect of Your Omnichannel Marketing Plans
Some people underestimate the role of direct mail in omnichannel marketing. However, it is one of the most effective marketing tools to back up your entire omnichannel marketing plan.
Before you begin contacting someone on digital media, it is advisable to introduce yourself and gain the trust of your prospects. Direct mail is the best way to do so as it is trustworthy and personal.
It can help you establish emotional bonds with your audience, hence leveling up your omnichannel marketing game.
But, you may find it hard to launch direct mail campaigns as it takes a lot of time and effort. PostGrid’s direct mail API can solve such problems and help you automate everything.
Also, it can help design eye-catching and appealing pieces that are sure to get you loads of responses. You can track your items in real-time and view your campaign performance reports through your dashboard.
An effective omnichannel marketing campaign helps you connect with prospective customers and motivate them to buy from you. It offers a unified experience with consistent messaging that considers their previous engagements with your brand.
You can use several channels, like email, physical stores, customer support, social media, etc. But, don’t forget to use direct mail as your topmost marketing strategy to promote your other channels.
PostGrid’s direct mail services can help you get there affordably, speedily, and effectively. You can get started now and know how PostGrid can facilitate your omnichannel marketing plans by signing up here.