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What Is Omnichannel Marketing?

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Updated onNovember 23, 2019

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You can’t be here, there, and everywhere at the same time, can you? Being omnipresent would mean that you are an all-mighty person with an ability to contradict the laws of physics. But you know what?

Your business actually has this superpower of showing up everywhere at the same time, wherever your past, present, and future customers are. The superpower is called omnichannel marketing, and we’re going to explain in detail how it works – right here, right now.

So, stay tuned.

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel

You have probably heard about omnichannel and multichannel approach before, as those happen to be buzz words lately, especially in the marketing arena. It is important, though, to understand the difference between these two approaches.

Let’s say that you are a fashion retailer and your business is present both offline, through the brick-and-mortar store, and online, through the eCommerce website. Your customers can follow you on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, where you try to stay relevant and publish new posts and articles regularly. You also send a weekly email newsletter to everyone on your mailing list.

Within a multichannel marketing approach, you’ll have these several channels for communication with your customers. But those channels wouldn’t necessarily have to be interconnected. You may choose to publish different things on different social media at different times, trying to reach different audiences. And you may use email newsletter solely to announce new blog posts on your website.

On the other hand, omnichannel marketing would mean that you are nurturing a holistic approach for all those channels with a cohesive strategy that wraps it all up in a consistent and unified way.

As they explain it on the HubSpot Blog:
“All omnichannel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multi-channel experiences are omnichannel.”

Related: How Do Social Media Demographics Drive Online Presence of Your Brand?

In Other Words

If you want to create a multichannel marketing strategy, it means that you are going to plan, execute, and measure advertising campaigns on multiple channels. You may choose different social media and email newsletters, for instance, or some other channel of your choice.

On the other hand, deciding to go with an omnichannel marketing strategy, you will be putting your brand out there within an integrated campaign throughout all of the channels significant for your target audience. All at once, mutually aligned.

How to Implement an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy?

Connecting every communication channel to convey a branded message to your customers might feel a bit intimidating, even to seasoned marketers. It is not an easy job to do, and it surely isn’t a job for a single person.

So, instead of trying to figure it out all by yourself, gather a group of representatives from your product, sales, customer relationships, and marketing teams. Together, you should come up with executable communications strategies and marketing campaigns that will reach out to your target audience.

To achieve that, you can break it down to several steps that are easy to follow.

  1. Articulate short-term and long-term goals for your company.
  2. Define specific goals for a marketing campaign that you are about to execute.
  3. Think from your customers’ perspective.
  4. Make strategic plans for every channel and work on their mutual integration.
  5. Optimize the consistency of your message.
  6. Enhance the strength of each channel to make your campaign more compelling to your audience.

Online Channels

Omnichannel marketing doesn’t mean that you need to be present on each and every social network in the world. The main advice is still the same – be where your audience spends most of their time.

You need to choose the channels carefully, following your audience interests, preferences, online behaviours, demographics, and other relevant statistics. It means that you need to know your audience very well in the first place. Imagine your ideal customer, envision user personas, create realistic customer journey maps, and know the intention of your customers when they use the search engines.

Search engine marketing (SEM) is one channel for pay-per-click marketing campaigns, social media marketing (SMM) is the other, and every one of them consists of multiple possibilities and channels within.

For example, if you choose to advertise on Google, you may choose between Google Search, Google Display ads, and you may experiment with ads to see what will bring you the biggest return on investment (ROI).

When it comes to SMM campaigns, you can advertise on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or choose to run your ads through instant-messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Viber.

Email marketing, on the other hand, offers you the possibility of a more personal approach to your potential customers and leaves you with the choice of automated email sequences for campaigns announcing new products, mobile app launch, super special secret offers available only to your subscribers, and so much more.

Related: 4 Amazing Tips to Make Use of Social Media for B2B Sales

Offline Channels

Your physical store is the place where you should follow your marketing strategy as well. Design the customer experience in accordance with your brand’s style and align it with your target audience expectations. If you are selling clothes and accessories for snowboarders, for instance, you could make your store interiors look like a mountain resort, hire sales representatives who are snowboarders themselves or organise in-store giveaway contests throughout the season. And, of course, align the strategy with your digital promotion.

Traditional marketing techniques are not to be neglected even if your business is online-only. There are plenty of offline channels that you can integrate within your strategy.

Industry trade shows are one of them. For an omnichannel presence of your brand, make sure that your stand transcends your company’s visual identity. Brand the indoor and outdoor promotional assets, and don’t forget to bring branded pull-up banners with you as well.

Another way to promote your business is organizing a conference within your niche. That way, you will get the chance to meet your customers in person, expand the network of your business connections, and get an opportunity to promote your own company in the offline world.

For the omnichannel marketing purposes, this is the chance to brand printed lanyards and wristbands, name cards, gift cards, stickers, and other material that can be designed specifically for you. It will bring your audience closer to your brand, help you build stronger relationships with your existing customers, and spark an interest in new, prospective clients.

Examples of Omnichannel Done Right

Now that we’ve covered omnichannel marketing from a theoretical point of view, let’s take a look at some great examples to understand how to implement your knowledge in practice.

Nike

The sportswear giant is known for its trailblazing marketing strategies. The “House of Innovation 000” is Nike’s new flagship store, that stretches across 68,000 square foot and offers an immersive customer experience. The company has taken versatility and personalization to an entirely new level by combining traditional shopping with its digital app.

Customers can scan bar codes on mannequins and get information about the available sizes and colours of the apparel. After that, they can pick the items that they want to try on and these will be brought to their fitting room.
Another striking feature of this futuristic store is the total absence of cash registers. With instant checkout points all around the store, it’s possible to scan and pay for the items on the spot.

Finally, Nike never ceases to amaze and that’s exactly what its Sneaker Bar does. Customers can pick sneakers and personalize them down to the tiniest detail. And we’re not talking only about laces and colours, but adding embroideries, patches, opting for different fabrics, patterns, prints, patches, you name it.

Ikea

Ikea is all about frictionless customer experiences. The Swedish ready-to-assemble furniture company is known for its huge stores consisting of various showrooms. This is a great concept as customers can get home decor and improvement ideas while exploring such an abundance of staged kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms.

The company’s mobile app allows them to add the items they like on their digital shopping list and easily find where in the store they can pick them up.

Even those who have never visited an Ikea store can pick the right furniture – the app comes with a visualization feature based on augmented reality that allows customers to virtually try on how a particular item fits in their home.

In addition to that, the app offers a number of useful DIY tips and videos.

Online shoppers can also choose where they want to pick up the products they bought.

Sephora

Sephora is a huge name in the beauty industry, and its omnichannel approach justifies this reputation.

In-store, customers can attend beauty workshops or schedule makeovers, and get all the tips they need when picking the right perfume or lipstick.

Online shopping for makeup can be pretty tricky and overwhelming because of hundreds of different shades. With Sephora’s Virtual Artist, a feature that is a part of its Beauty Shopping app, customers can try on different shades virtually and pick the one that they like the most. It’s simple – all it takes is uploading a selfie and putting on different shades until the right one comes along.

The Beauty Bag feature keeps track of shopping history, offers different video tutorials, allows customers to scan products in-store, read product information, locate nearby stores, shop, and much more.

Conclusion

The possibilities of omnichannel marketing are endless.

But you need to be wise about it not to get overwhelmed and blocked. You don’t want to become counter-productive, so the last piece of advice is this: think it through and come up with a clever omnichannel strategy that will seamlessly integrate different channels to communicate a consistent brand message to your audience.

Here it is again, broken into smaller chops:

  • Think it through.
  • Come up with a clever omnichannel strategy.
  • Seamlessly integrate different channels.
  • Communicate a consistent brand message.

And remember, at the core of omnichannel marketing lies a single goal – creating a bespoke user experience.

Michael Deane

Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael's work at Qeedle.

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