In today’s marketing world, your strategies should extend well past your website, social media, and in-person experience. Some of the most successful brands implement omnichannel strategies, or strategies that incorporate multiple aspects of your brand’s marketing.
Let’s look more at what omnichannel marketing strategies are, examples of omnichannel marketing done right, and how you can get on board with this effective strategy today.
What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing refers to using multiple channels, such as email marketing, paid media, content marketing, in-person customer service, and print ads, to nurture customer relationships and guide users through the sales funnel. Omnichannel strategies occur both on and offline and require many different departments, from sales to customer service, to work together.
Marketing channels are the mediums in which you communicate with users. They can include:
- Print ads
- Digital ads (display ads, paid search, paid social, etc.)
- Email newsletters
- In-person events
- Social media profiles
- Organic search results
Omnichannel marketing strategies don’t use all mediums all the time, but rather utilize the channels that make sense to the customer journey. This strategy helps companies engage with their customers holistically.
Omnichannel Marketing Versus Multichannel Marketing
Multichannel marketing strategies, as the name suggests, involves utilizing multiple channels to engage with users. While this may sound similar to omnichannel strategies, there are some key differences between the two.
Multichannel marketing focuses on the channels themselves, while omnichannel marketing focuses on the experience. For example, a multichannel strategy might include social media marketing, email newsletters, and display ads. Omnichannel strategies generally include more channels and focus on consistent brand messaging throughout these channels and the experience being delivered to customers.
Multichannel marketing is focused on casting a wide net through multiple channels to try to attract as many potential customers as possible. Omnichannel marketing tailors a brand’s message and works to deliver a stronger relationship between potential customers and the brand. This focused approach is catered more towards the customer, rather than the channel.
Multichannel marketing focuses on leading the consumer in a straight line (website to social media profiles to purchase, for example). Omnichannel marketing is less direct, but focused more on the customer’s journey. It provides touchpoints that are fluid and non-linear.
Jared Rosenbloom, Director of Media Strategy and Operations at Centro, explains the difference between the two strategies: “In multichannel marketing, the goal is to have as many touch points as you can – you want to push your message out as many times as possible to as many people as possible…omnichannel marketing is about understanding the path to purchase that an individual takes and how can we speak to them at different points on that path.”
Omnichannel Marketing Done Right
It’s one thing to talk about omnichannel marketing strategies, but it’s something different to look at brands that do them well. Below are examples of impactful brands that know what they’re doing and how you can take some cues from these marketing pros:
Disney is all about the magic and this extends to their marketing strategy in multiple ways. If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Disneyland, you might start on their website. The site includes everything you need to buy tickets in a fun, on-brand way. After you get your tickets, Disney makes it easy to plan your trip with a mobile app and MagicBand program. And of course, there’s the many Disney-themed adventures outside of Disneyland, including Disney Cruises, their many resorts and spas, and their worldwide Adventures by Disney. Disney’s omnichannel marketing makes the whole experience that much more meaningful for the whole family.
You may be familiar with REI’s “opt outside” campaign, which is a marketing campaign dedicated to getting outside and enjoying adventures with your loved ones (with the help of some great REI gear, of course). In fact, the brand took this campaign so far as to close their doors on Black Friday, arguably the biggest shopping day of the year, to move away from consumerism and toward what really matters – time spent adventuring.
In addition to this powerful campaign, the company also leverages the many customers now using mobile apps to shop in-store to provide multiple shopping touchpoints. Visitors can quickly find items using their mobile phones and buy in a brick-and-mortar store, which is a great example of an online and offline omnichannel marketing strategy.
Starbucks is much more than just a coffee shop. They have refined their branding and extended their omnichannel marketing to their app, cafes, website, and more. Becoming a Rewards Member is easy and from their mobile app, advance order drinks, reload your card, and more. You can even Shazam the music playing in your favorite cafe and follow Starbucks on Spotify to get more music recommendations. Starbucks has gone above and beyond and incorporated mobile, in-person, and experiential marketing in its omnichannel strategy.
How You Can Implement an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
You don’t have to be a mega-brand like Starbucks or Disney to use omnichannel marketing strategies. Here are ways you can get started on your own plan and build an omnichannel approach.
Figure Out What Marketing Channels Make Sense for Your Company
While omnichannel marketing strategies utilize a number of different mediums, you should establish what makes sense for your specific brand and customer before getting started. For example, if your audience is largely converting through your website via desktop, social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, or Snapchat might not your primary strategy. Conversely, if you see that your audience is primarily on mobile, make sure to meet them there with a mobile app and mobile-responsive website.
Identify Your Sales Funnel
As mentioned, omnichannel marketing strategies meet your customers at all stages of the sales funnel. This includes top of the funnel content (blogs, landing pages, display ads, etc.), middle of the funnel content (webinars, eBooks, retargeting ads, case studies, etc.), and bottom of the funnel content (testimonials, demos, etc.). Guide your potential customer through their buying journey with omnichannel marketing.
Put the Customer Experience First
Too often, brands look at their customers as numbers or leads, rather than people. But, the most successful brands put the customer experience first and personalize the buying process. As you saw in the examples above, the brands mentioned went the extra mile to really make their customer count. Through personalized offers, seamless purchasing processes, interactive websites, and great in-person customer service, you can not only convert, but create loyal followers.
Continue the Relationship Well Past Conversion
Most companies understand the primary stages of the sales funnel – awareness, evaluation, and conversion. But there is one last stage that might be even more important: advocacy. Continuing the relationship you have built with customers helps further your brand and make them avid fans that will share their experience with others. When building your omnichannel marketing strategy, consider including surveys, questionnaires, and even in-person events to continue to nurture that customer-brand relationship.
Omnichannel marketing is about much more than disseminating your message among different platforms. An omnichannel strategy puts the user in control and provides touch points along every stage of their buying journey. It goes the extra mile and provides that “wow factor” that keeps people coming back for more. Lastly, it’s a non-linear approach to attracting, converting, and retaining customers.