The 5 Ws of Omnichannel Marketing

person using mobile phone with omnichannel marketing title overlayOmnichannel marketing, or the practice of creating a unified, personalized, and seamless experience across all communication platforms, isn’t a fleeting idea; nor is it simply the latest “buzzworthy” marketing angle meant to temporarily boost corporate ROAS (return on ad spend).

Rather, omnichannel marketing is a customer-centric approach to communication that ultimately aims to drive a more honest, customized, and repeatable client experience. It’s applicable whether a customer is engaging with a company’s website, their mobile app, physical location, or receiving tailored email messages. To maximize the potency of a well-thought-out omnichannel marketing philosophy, marketers must keep the 5 Ws in mind at all times.

1. WHO

The first step in creating a marketing plan that truly embraces the notion of “omnichannel” is to determine who is your target audience – namely, who do you want to reach? Using the latest in market segmentation analytics, a dedicated marketing strategy can help you model your typical customer, forecast the character traits of your highest potential prospects, and craft a consistent message aimed at the individuals who can drive your business.

2. WHAT

In this step, you’ll want to decide the general format of what you’ll present to achieve the overall look, feel, and tone of your branding. Omnichannel marketing strategies help businesses create websites, apps, mobile pages, physical marketing collateral, and retail storefronts that all share the same feel.

A broadly recognizable example is Amazon. Amazon’s mobile app is easy to navigate and it’s intuitive. The omnichannel strategy factor at play is the fact that the mobile app looks, feels, and behaves just like the traditional Amazon.com webpage. More recently, with the opening of Amazon brick-and-mortar stores, the omnichannel customer experience is designed to echo the online user journey. Users are treated to the same easy interface whether they use their phone, tablet, or computer – and they’re treated to the same tailored marketing message regardless of their chosen platform.

3. WHERE

Determine where to target customers and prospects with a marketing message or advertisement. Figure out where individuals go to actively seek a relevant item or service is step one. Knowing the tide is certainly shifting more toward mobile search than traditional PC-based web browsing, omnichannel marketers will tailor activities and marketing capital toward optimizing the user experience on a mobile device, while ensuring the client experience is still consistent with the business’s brand.

4. WHEN

Know when to market to a customer or prospect. The when not only refers to identifying the appropriate point in the customer acquisition cycle, but also the frequency of the communication. There is a fine line between communicating too much (you’ve now crossed the line into becoming a spammer) and dropping off the customer’s radar completely. If you’ve determined your target customer is someone who has clicked through your website or visited your social media channels, you can deliver a marketing message once they’ve fulfilled this minimum price of admission. More marketing with less interaction from the customer comes off as disingenuous and can feel obtrusive.

5. WHY

In this stage, marketers with a firm grasp on the omnichannel marketing concept will ask themselves, “Why am I creating content and a user experience that looks, feels, and behaves in this way?” Every piece of communication should have a well-defined
“why,” a purpose, a targeted audience, and a clear mission to help the business reach a specific goal.

Keep the intention of your marketing message in sight at all times so you don’t lose sight of the key drivers to your success.

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