Customer Experience

Omnichannel Marketing: The Definitive Guide [2021]

July 28, 2021
12:00 am

Successful omnichannel marketing isn’t just about being active on multiple platforms. It’s about providing an integrated, seamless experience for the customer no matter where they are.

This, of course, is easier said than done. To cater to all customer communication preferences, you need to take into account both physical and digital channels across the multiple touchpoints of the customer journey,

How do you achieve all this? To help you, we put together the definitive guide on omnichannel marketing.

Let’s get started.

What is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is an approach where companies integrate multiple channels and mediums to offer customers a consistent experience, no matter what channel they use to communicate.

Omnichannel marketing is used to integrate multiple channels together
Omnichannel marketing combines multiple channels together to provide customers a consistent experience.

This approach is essential in today’s market because consumers demand it: in a 2019 survey, the CMO Council found that 85 percent of people prefer interacting with brands through a blend of both digital and physical channel experiences.

For example, you can integrate desktop and mobile experiences, as well as various social media platforms. Some channels that can be connected under a single omnichannel strategy are:

  • Paid and organic search
  • Social networks
  • Email
  • Live chat
  • Chatbots
  • Video chat
  • Referrals
  • Phone, including SMS
  • Printed mail

Another interesting finding is that seven out of ten mobile device users in the United States occasionally used apps while they were browsing in-store

As a result, 65 percent of marketers use two or more media channels in their marketing campaigns while 44 percent of marketing teams use three or more. 

Percentage of marketers who use multiple media channels in marketing campaigns
65% of marketers use two or more media channels and 44% use three or more media channels in marketing campaigns.

What’s the difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing?

Multichannel marketing is when a brand uses multiple direct and indirect communication channels — such as physical stores, emails, mobile apps, and more — to engage customers. Omnichannel marketing does the same but takes it a step further. It unifies all these channels to ensure that customers can hop from one channel to another but still enjoy the same, holistic experience.

Multichannel and omnichannel marketing are often used interchangeably. But, there are significant differences between them.

Multichannel marketing vs omnichannel marketing
Multichannel marketing uses multiple individual channels while omnichannel integrates all channels together.

Examples of omnichannel marketing

If you’re wondering about omnichannel marketing examples, think about this scenario: 

A customer asks for help about an issue via email (e.g. subject lines: their order or a product/service they purchased). One agent handles this issue. 

Then, some days later, the customer faces a similar issue and reaches out via live chat. The agent responding can see that the customer engaging had that issue before and immediately apologize for the inconvenience, as well as try a different solution.

Another common omnichannel campaign revolves around loyalty programs. Whether in-store or online, customers can collect loyalty points that will be added to the same sum.

5 advantages of omnichannel marketing

1. Increase revenue

Harvard Business Review found that consumers who used more than four channels spent nine percent more in the store as compared to those who only used a single channel. Over six months, they made 23 percent more shopping trips to physical stores and promoted the brand through word-of-mouth to family and friends.

This means that having multiple integrated channels available can result in a boost in revenue.

2. Improve customer satisfaction

Convenience is what all customers want when going through their buyer’s journey. And what’s more convenient than seamless hopping between channels whenever they want.

An omnichannel marketing strategy ensures that, no matter how customers’ preferences or habits change, you’ll always be able to meet their needs. And, interaction history will remain accessible and at one place, allowing you to personalize experiences — something that can make customers happy.

3. Increase efficiency

Think about the support example we mentioned above: if an agent didn’t know that a customer has already asked a similar question in another channel, would that be productive? They’d have to go through the same conversation all over again — a frustrating experience for both sides.

But with the omnichannel approach, all customer data and interactions are centralized and easily accessible, no data silos. Issues can be resolved faster and more efficiently.

4. Get better insights

It’s not just about efficiency. By unifying customer data, customer service teams have a more holistic view of customer behavior, habits, and preferences. This allows you to build customer personas, achieve better segmentation, and plan marketing campaigns more effectively.

5. Build your brand

Because all channels and strategies are unified, your company can send the right message across all channels. Whenever customers interact with your company, no matter the channel, they get the same level of personalized and contextual experiences. This allows you to establish your brand more easily and increase visibility throughout the customer journey.

A successful omnichannel strategy relies on the right customer experience platform. See more about unifying channels and creating a great omnichannel experience.

Omnichannel strategy: 4 tips to get it right

Here are some expert tips with examples from top brands to help you create your own omnichannel marketing strategy:

1. Plan consistent branding 

When using multiple channels, consistency in branding is key. Prospects will judge your channels based on their design and the reliability of their user experiences. Can people easily recognize your ads based on logo and colors? Is every platform updated and active? 

Imagine that a prospect loves your posts on social media. They end up on your mobile website, but it has an entirely different look and vibe. This inconsistency won’t help them trust you.

That’s why your logo, colors, design, tone, and content marketing need to be aligned. 

For example, Glossier has consistently used pastel pink as their brand’s main color. As a result, their Instagram posts are instantly recognizable to their audience. 

Glossier doing promotion on Instagram

Their identity is also consistent on their website. Like their social media pages, it embraces a minimalist style and uses colors that are on-brand. 

Glossier Beauty Products

2. Implement customer-centric experiences 

Omnichannel marketing experiences must be customer-centric. This is why you need to discover the main channels customers like to use and drive engagement and conversions there. 

You can use Google Analytics multi-channel funnels report to find the sequences of interactions (i.e., clicks/referral sites) that led up to each conversion and sale. This will let you determine how people research your products, interact with your ads, and the type of content that they interact with.

Multichannel funnel conversion visualizer from Google Analytics
Google Analytics Multi-channel funnel conversion visualizer report.

Once you find the answers, modify your platforms based on customer data.  

You can even aggregate conversations with leads from email, messaging apps, and social media. This will make it easier for your customer support agents to solve issues and boost customer success. 

For example, the Bank of America implements an omnichannel customer-centric experience through its desktop and mobile apps. 

There’s no need to go to a bank to make financial transactions. Users can manage their bank accounts, transfer money, and make mobile check deposits anytime and anywhere thanks to the app. If they have any questions, they can contact Erica—the bank’s virtual financial assistant—for helpful insights and financial guidance.

Bank of America mobile banking app

Users can also open a checking account, find the nearest ATM, and schedule appointments through their website. 

This happened because the bank put customer needs first. By launching its own app and integrating it with its website and virtual assistant, Bank of America is able to provide fast and convenient financial transactions.

Thinking of having your own digital assistant, fully integrated with your other channels? Check out our complete guide to chatbots.

Download the complete guide to chatbots guide
Learn all about how and why businesses can benefit from chatbot technology now and into the future.

3. Use digital channels to improve retail store experiences 

Use technology to improve the brick-and-mortar store shopping experience. This way, you continue a branded experience that began in online channels. 

The Remote Payments Study by PYMNTS surveyed 2,300 American consumers and discovered the smartphones’ rising role in traditional retail. The researchers found that about half (48 percent) of consumers used smartphones while shopping in stores. Of this number, some (46.8 percent) use them to find in-app discounts, while others (43.3 percent) use them to research product information. 

Luxury brand Burberry has even collaborated with Apple to create messaging systems for their high-end clients.

Burberry Apple Messaging

They developed R Message which lets users have real-time online conversations with store assistants, book in-store appointments, and make online purchases through Apple Pay. Staff in physical stores will be able to monitor their prospects’ shopping behavior and remember birthdays, providing personalization. 

4. Be proactive on chosen platforms

Your brand doesn’t need to be active in every digital marketing channel, but you need to establish a consistent experience on the platforms that you do choose. 

Make it easy for prospects to move across the buyer’s journey. Let social media users message customer service on Twitter or Facebook. Potential leads who regularly read your newsletters should be able to access your mobile site and switch channels instantly. 

For example, Marriott highlights destinations near their hotel on Instagram to engage with their audience. 

Marriott Bonvoy Instagram Marketing

Prospects interested in booking a hotel can also download the mobile app to book their stay, receive spa treatments, and order room service. 

Marriott Bonvoy Mobile App

Travelers on a budget can check out a plethora of Marriott products through the Marriott Bonvoy Benefits loyalty program. Guests can create personal profiles and earn points by staying at the company’s hotels. They can receive customized offers to hotels, VIP experiences, tours, and flight offers based on their profile. 

Marriott Bonvoy Exclusive Promotions and Rewards Program

By sending personalized offers through their mobile app and loyalty program, prospects are aware of the Marriott experiences that can enhance their vacation. 

Getting started with omnichannel marketing 

To succeed in creating a great omnichannel experience, understand the communication channels prospects use to interact with your brand. Present consistent designs and use technology to improve both in-store and online buying experiences. 

So, what will you do to create omnichannel experiences that impress your leads? Leave us a comment below.


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