Let’s begin by imagining something
You see an ad on Facebook with a good offer on a product you need. You click on the ad, but don’t end up completing the purchase, because you are busy and heading somewhere else. Later, you try to find the same offer on their Facebook profile, but without success – and the same on their Instagram. You sign up for the newsletter but receive sparse messages that don’t match the impression you got of the company. In the end, you go to their physical store, but here the offer doesn’t apply.
When the channels are not connected
A lot of things have gone wrong here. But it all boils down to one central problem: the channels are not connected. And it is a problem when the modern consumer finds himself on several – and different – channels. Online and offline.
If your customers are to have an appealing and good shopping experience, it is important that all representations of your company reflect the same company. And you can only achieve that by ensuring that all data is transferred across all channels so that the purchase experience is coherent.
This is the idea behind omnichannel marketing. So, let’s talk more about that.
Multichannel, cross-channel and omnichannel
Almost all digital marketing these days centers on being in several places at the same time. Web shop, social media, e-mail, etc. In short, omnichannel marketing means that you market your business on several channels.
But it is not an adequate explanation, because it also covers two similar – but totally different – concepts.
Multichannel marketing is marketing as it has been known for many years now. Here, there are several channels in play (hence the name), but this doesn’t mean that they play together.
Cross-channel marketing, on the other hand, means that some of the channels play together – but not all. It could, for example, be that your Facebook and Instagram share data so that you can form advertising strategies based on that knowledge, but you e.g., cannot see this data in your e-mail marketing system.
Now you can probably guess what omnichannel marketing means: interaction between all your channels. And sharing of all data. The data helps you understand where and when customers interact with your business, so it’s easier for you to target your strategy.
The coherent experience
So why exactly is it so important that all your channels communicate with each other?
It helps to see it less as channels and more as points of contact. Situations where potential customers can “meet” your company and start their customer journey. If that journey is to be uniformly and frictionless, then it’s essential that the experience is the same wherever the customer is. And that they never risk meeting a “dead end”.
Same options, same brand, same tone of voice, same availability. All your channels must be a door into the customer journey, and all channels must support where they are on the same journey. In other words: the customer decides the journey.
Multichannel marketing can therefore be seen as a lot of different, unconnected routes that all lead to the same city. They are not all equally fast or equally easy to find your way through.
Omnichannel marketing is instead a bit like a 10-lane highway.
The road to omnichannel marketing
1. Data, data, data
It has been mentioned several times already. And we will mention it again. Because data is simply essential when it comes to omnichannel marketing. It gives you insight into the behavior of your customers and prospects, preferred devices and even the products they are interested in. With this you can hit the recipient right where they are on the customer journey – and thus not miss good chances for conversion.
2. Identify the steps in your customer journey
What steps do you typically see in your customers journey from consideration to purchase? Are there patterns in relation to the different customer segments? If you can “draw” the overall map, it helps you organize the actions of the different channels and how they should play together. In addition, it also helps to spot factors outside of your control that may be useful to consider.
3. Create guidelines for your brand
If the customer is to have the same experience across channels, it also requires that they feel that it is the same company they are meeting. Tone of voice, colors, font, visual elements, etc., give your marketing strategy a clear coherence and identity. Then the customer never feels that they have taken a “wrong turn” somewhere on the journey.
4. Make it easy to go from one place to another
It may seem obvious, but make sure it’s easy to find your website from your social media, signing up for your newsletter from your website, and even interacting with your physical business via app or website. This makes it easy for the customer to get from A to B – and finally to Z.
A good example
Let’s finish in the same way as we started – but this time with a focus on the effective omnichannel marketing strategy.
You see an ad on Instagram with a great offer. You click on the ad, but do not complete the purchase, as you quickly need to move on. Fortunately, the company remembers that you’ve been at the website to have a look, so when you log on to Facebook later, you’ll get the same ad here. However, the delivery time is a bit long, so you would like to pick up in the store. You therefore order the product for click & collect and can pick it up a few hours later. You also sign up for the newsletter, and because you have already completed a purchase, you will receive tailored loyalty emails with special offers.
That is omnichannel marketing. And even in a quite simple form.