Integrating all the ways you market to your target audience drives results. With so many brands competing for attention, it’s not enough to just show up on multiple digital channels.
Digital marketing includes all the ways you market to your target customers online: websites, social media channels, mobile devices, online ads, email and SMS messaging. Using these tools is table stakes in today’s increasingly online world where marketing experts estimate consumers in the U.S. see up to 10,000 ads each day.
The next critical step – and oddly one that many brands haven’t yet taken – is to integrate all your digital marketing efforts in a way that creates a unified, consistent brand story and seamless customer experience.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Hubspot defines omnichannel marketing as “a method where businesses promote their products and services across all channels, devices, and platforms using unified messaging, cohesive visuals, and consistent collateral. Omni-channel marketing ensures you reach customers where they are with a relevant and on-brand offer.”
When done well, an omnichannel marketing strategy will adapt and provide the right messaging at each stage of the buying journey; online and in-person. The content is personalized, relevant and informed by past interactions your target customer has had with your brand.
In all cases, effective omnichannel marketing puts the customer first.
The difference between omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing
It’s easy to view omnichannel and multichannel marketing as interchangeable. After all, they both use multiple channels, but that’s where the similarity ends.
The critical distinction between omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing is the approach the two strategies take.
Omnichannel marketing is customer centric. The objective is to deliver an integrated, seamless, cohesive experience and personalized, relevant messaging. Brand tone and visuals should also be clearly identifiable and consistent. In other words, every piece of content puts the customer first and makes it easy for them to recognize and connect with your brand.
Multichannel marketing is focused on the brand and its products. These campaigns are not integrated and do not share overarching goals. They appear on different channels and platforms, and have their own individual goals and targets. As a result, these campaigns are not cohesive, and this can leave customers confused and even frustrated.
Benefits of implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy
- Better customer insights.
- Increased alignment of marketing campaigns.
- A more predictable buyer journey.
- The ability to connect online and offline marketing efforts.
- Improved customer retention and loyalty.
- Increased sales.
How to create an omnichannel marketing strategy
Shifting from multichannel to omnichannel marketing requires a deep understanding of your customers, their buying journey and the different technologies and tools that can help you best serve them. Most importantly, it requires a plan.
Know the tools available to you
There are several tools you can use to gain important insights about your target customers and smooth their path to a purchase.
- Tracking pixels are tiny graphics embedded in digital ads, emails, websites and social channels that provide a window into user behaviour, site conversions, web traffic and other metrics.
- In addition to enticing customers to come back, loyalty programs collect data about how customers are interacting with the brand.
- Offering consumers chat support helps pave the way for a sale by answering their questions in real time.
- Customer relationship management software provides a holistic view of customer interactions across all your platforms.
- Inventory management software gives you a real-time view of your inventory and shares this information across all your platforms.
- Social media management software makes it possible to schedule and post content and track performance across platforms from one centralized location.
Tip: These tools and emerging technologies can help brands capture quality data across the buying journey. Use this data and key performance indicators to create and deliver the content your audience wants.
Understand the buying journey
Knowing your customers’ unique buying journeys can help you better target and reach high-potential customers early and keep their interest as they move through each stage of the buying journey:
- Awareness: buyers have identified a problem and are preparing to find a solution.
- Consideration: buyers are actively searching for a solution.
- Decision: buyers have found a solution and are evaluating and making comparisons.
Build a buyer persona for your ideal customer
A buyer persona is a research-based fictionalized version of your target shoppers. It describes who they are, what they want, their challenges, their interests and how they make decisions. The buyer personas will inform and allow you to personalize all your marketing and advertising campaigns. This is critical as 66 per cent of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.
Choose the right channels
Once you understand who your customers are, it’s important to know where they spend their time online. Create a brand presence on the sites they frequent and put the audience data available to you to work to craft relevant, personalized marketing messaging.
Tip: Facebook Ads and Google Ads allow brands to track users across their platforms.
Be consistent in your messaging
Consistency is a defining characteristic of a successful omnichannel marketing strategy. This goes beyond design, colour schemes and brand voice. While these are essential, it’s important to ensure that the messaging and offers your target audience sees on one channel align with what you are presenting across all channels.
Implement multi-touch attribution
Measuring the effectiveness of any marketing campaign today is difficult because of the many interactions consumers have along the buying journey. There is rarely if ever one specific touch point that leads to a sale. Rather, shoppers make a purchase after a number of different interactions with a brand online (reading blogs and social media posts) and off (attending in-person events). Multi-touch attribution tracks individual brand interactions that lead to a sale and assigns a value to each of these interactions. It uses algorithms and data to determine the influence a particular channel had on advancing a sale.
Omnichannel marketing is the next stage of evolution for multichannel marketing. It is helping brands stand out and reach their target audiences where they are online and off in a seamless, cohesive way. Postmedia can help you establish an effective omnichannel marketing strategy that will help you meet your business objectives.