Marketers in this day and age can no longer win on price or quality of offering alone. There’s just too much competition. And with consumers making buying decisions based primarily on their experience with a company, it’s clear that brands must adopt a customer-first approach to marketing.
They must focus on delivering positive, consistent and integrated experiences at each and every touchpoint along the customer’s journey. And to do this, they must become more sophisticated in the way they engage and serve their audiences. As a result, the savviest of the bunch are adopting strategies, tools, and approaches that support what’s known as omnichannel marketing.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- What omnichannel marketing means.
- How it differs from multichannel marketing.
- A real-life example of the omnichannel experience at work.
- And, what omnichannel marketing means for B2B marketers.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
What is omnichannel marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is a strategic, multichannel approach that provides your customers with a unified brand experience across all customer touchpoints. Its goal is to create superior, high-quality connections that propel your customers to take action. It’s about meeting your customers, no matter where they are or where they go, with a consistent brand face, message, and all-around experience. And, even if your customers jump around from channel to channel, device to device, or person to chatbot, they can easily and seamlessly do so because you’re providing them with one connected, shared ecosystem.
Is omnichannel marketing the same as multichannel marketing?
While omnichannel marketing is a multichannel approach, it is not synonymous with multichannel marketing. The biggest difference is that multichannel marketing puts the channel at the center of your efforts, as opposed to the customers themselves. Omnichannel marketing is all about creating and nurturing “the experience.” Whereas, multichannel marketing speaks more to the tactics of reaching customers on multiple channels. It focuses on giving customers a choice of how to interact with you - be that via website, chat, app, phone, store clerk, or other. Simply put, an omnichannel strategy elevates multichannel tactics by finding experience-enhancing ways to connect each and every interaction you have with your customers.
What does omnichannel marketing look like in action?
When we think of omnichannel marketing and the companies that do it well, B2C examples likely come to mind first. Look at Disney for instance - this gargantuan brand is the poster child for the omnichannel experience. No matter where or how you engage with Disney - be it at a theme park, in a store, on their website, or other - the experience is always consistent. Everywhere you turn, you’re greeted with uniform branding, messaging and content. From Mickey Mouse ears to your experience at a Disney property, every interaction is completely integrated. While your Disney app helps you strategically navigate the parks, check on wait times, and make Fast Pass reservations, your wristband (aka Magic Band) gets you into your hotel room, allows you to purchase food, and even gives you access to photos taken throughout the day. And, the beauty of this all? Disney is giving customers the experience they’ve come to expect, while also getting what they need in the form of sales, loyalty, referrals, and more. Sounds like a win-win!
But, is omnichannel marketing just for B2C marketers?
While omnichannel marketing first took hold in the B2C world, B2B marketers are not exempt from delivering these same seamless, effortless, and connected experiences. And, here’s why. Our experiences and expectations as consumers have changed our behaviors as B2B buyers. By shopping on sites like Amazon or using services like Netflix, most of us have grown accustomed to omnichannel experiences in our personal lives. We’ve tasted the good stuff, so now we have higher expectations that we’ve carried over to the workplace. And, doesn’t it make sense that buyers, regardless of who they are or what they buy, have a good customer experience?
So, if you’re a B2B marketer, you too must deliver on the omnichannel experience. Luckily, advancements in technology and automation have made this easier. You can now use tools to easily serve your customers the content they want to consume, where and in the way they want to consume it. You can leverage solutions, like a digital asset management (DAM) system, to help you connect your teams and partners with consistent, on-brand content so they can deliver personalized, relevant, omnichannel experiences to your customers. And, you can evaluate analytics and data to understand which assets work or don’t work so that you can optimize your content and improve customer experiences.
Whether you realized it or not, you may already be focusing on creating omnichannel experiences for your customers. But connecting all customer experiences in a seamless, consistent, and effortless way is no easy undertaking. As discussed, tools and technologies can help. But, you also need a strategy. For tips on creating an effective, powerful omnichannel strategy, read the Omnichannel Marketing Strategy Starter.