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| | 4 minute read

Why You Should Consider an Omnichannel Approach

Omnichannel, marketing, or hybrid, is an approach that combines traditional and digital marketing tactics. Learn how to develop hybrid marketing campaigns.

Today, there are myriad of ways to engage with the world around you both interpersonally and commercially. These connections are made digitally, and others take place in-person. As a marketer, your job is to reach people where they are and make meaningful connections that generate sales and business. To do this, it’s important to provide customers with a consistent consumer experience across platforms and channels.

Omnichannel marketing, or hybrid marketing, does just that. This type of marketing strategy allows for brands to seamlessly connect with and engage customers across multiple channels. Consumers can make purchases online, through an app, in store, seamlessly navigating between tools and resources— for example, when buying online and picking up in-store (BOPIS). This gives companies a chance to deepen relationships in ways that a single channel wouldn’t be able to achieve.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is a marketing strategy that combines both traditional and digital marketing techniques in a complementary fashion, rather than relying on one or the other alone. This is also sometimes referred to as a hybrid marketing strategy, but for the remainder of this article we’ll refer to it as omnichannel marketing.

At first glance, omnichannel marketing sounds the same as multichannel marketing but there is a key distinction. While both strategies involve reaching new customers on a variety of platforms, multichannel marketing focuses simply on the top of the funnel (TOFU), attempting to reach more people by being present in more places.

An omnichannel marketing strategy takes this a bit further by integrating those channels to deepen customer relationships. This strategy creates the opportunity for brands to be present across multiple channels, whether digitally or in person, establish a consistent brand message, and offer personalized customer experiences. It decentralizes the marketing structure, removing the boundary between channels to create a singular view of the customer.

Omnichannel marketing focuses not only on TOFU, but also the middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of funnel (BOFU). The goal is to utilize the strengths of both traditional and digital marketing techniques to support consumers as they are being moved through the marketing funnel.

Benefits of Taking an Omnichannel Approach

Omnichannel marketing is quickly becoming the most popular strategy for marketers because it creates better customer relationships and helps brands cut through the noise. Some benefits include:

  • Create unique customer journeys that make your brand memorable
  • Increase conversions by cultivating relationships over long periods of time
  • Integrate online and brick-and-mortar stores to enhance shopping
  • Improve trust by responding quickly to concerns and questions
  • Increase long-term customer value by using buyer data to create personalized offers

Omnichannel Marketing Examples

Many brands have made successful use of omnichannel marketing techniques in recent years:

  • Disney is a prime example of a personalized, omnichannel strategy that provides enhanced experiences for customers. Book a trip to a Disney resort, and you’ll get access to the My Disney Experience tool, where you can plan everything about your trip from travel to dining to the day of. The app even lets you map your rides and find out wait times. Plus, their Magic Band program card acts as a room key, photo storage, Fast Pass, and food ordering tool.

  • Bank of America has been ahead of the curve for some time, offering a variety of tech-driven service enhancements like providing free WiFi and even tablets in branches so customers can complete transactions while waiting, as well as a “Robo-branch” initiative that lets customers communicate complaints without waiting for a teller.

  • Starbucks offers a rewards app that delivers one of the best omnichannel experiences on the market. More than a simple rewards card, the Starbucks rewards app lets customers reload and check balances via any possible channel: phone, in-store, on app, or via the website.

How to Leverage Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing isn’t just about products. It’s about the overall customer experience. That’s why the best thing you can do when getting started is to focus on the customer rather than the channel. Whether you deliver an integrated experience via text, mobile apps, email, websites, or brick-and-mortar stores, what matters most is the overall experience as a whole.

To ensure success, make sure to cover a few bases during the process:

  • Data collection and analysis – In order to create personalized experiences, you’ll need to create detailed buyer personas based on buying behavior, demographics, survey data, and other unifying characteristics. This will help you create a picture of the core audience segments you want to target.
  • Consumer journey mapping – Taking the time to map the journey customers will take is crucial to an effective omnichannel strategy. This means creating a visual storyline of all the engagements a customer can have with your company on multiple channels, which helps understand and create the storyline and trajectory people will take to get from lead to customer.
  • Understanding your brand and guidelines – Having a deep understanding of your company’s core values, policies, brand voice, and visual identity is important when mapping your consumer journey because it helps keep your messaging consistent and avoids the confusion that can come from customers having experiences that don’t fit their perception of you.
  • Testing/optimizations – You may or may not hit the mark with your initial strategy, and more often than not, you won’t. Systematic testing and results-driven optimization are key to finding the best-performing creative, copy, and overall strategy, and the reason omnichannel marketing is so powerful.

Understanding Omnichannel Attribution

Part of the power of omnichannel marketing is the ability to determine which elements of an omnichannel mix are most effective. This is referred to as omnichannel attribution, and there are two main strategies. Multi-Touchpoint Attribution (MTA) uses personal-level granular data to examine each touchpoint in real-time. Media Mix Modeling (MMM) only considers aggregate touchpoint data collected over time. MTA is better for helping you understand individual customer preferences, whereas MMM is more effective for understanding the overall impact of a campaign.

Omnichannel Marketing Best Practices

As you start your omnichannel campaigns, keep a few things in mind:

  • Consistent Branding – Colors, logos, typefaces, and copy voice should I remain the same across channels, ensuring a consistent customer experience. Utilize data sharing to create a coherent customer journey.
  • Fit the Platform – Although basic branding should be consistent, assets should be optimized for the platform. For example, don’t repost 16x9 videos from YouTube on Instagram. Instead, create video specifically produced for the vertical format.
  • Collect Data – The power of omnichannel marketing is in data sharing. Collect data at every touch point and use user data to personalize the experience across channels. This kind of cross-channel personalization engenders trust and increases sales.
  • Be Human – Customers appreciate cross-channel experiences when they serve them – not when they become an automated bother. Make sure to think of the customer first and humanize the experience. For example, sometimes just being able to contact a particular support rep through multiple channels is enough to create a great experience.

Get Started with Omnichannel Marketing with MNI

When planning your omnichannel marketing campaigns, it helps to be thorough in the planning stage. Consider your current customer base, your industry as a whole, and what competitors are doing. Most importantly, clearly define your goals.

You may face challenges both in planning and implementation. For one, omnichannel marketing campaigns can be expensive. Further, determining which channels are doing the best and generating the best ROI can be challenging, and while you may see great results, without robust data, you may not be sure your omnichannel strategy worked better than a single-channel approach.

For that reason, it’s wise to partner with an experienced expert who can help you plan and execute an innovative omnichannel strategy properly from the ground up. With omnichannel solutions for every kind of channel, MNI can help with data analytics and visualization, planning, and robust execution of any omnichannel strategy. Contact us to find out how we can help your omnichannel marketing succeed.