We created this guide to share with you everything we know about omnichannel marketing and how it relates to digital marketing and SEO.
Read on to discover all you need to know about omnichannel marketing – from what it is, to the difference between it and multichannel, to why an omnichannel strategy is important, to the concrete steps you can take to create an effect omnichannel strategy. We’ll even give you examples of marketing strategies that have worked!
What is Omnichannel Marketing?
In short, omnichannel marketing is an approach to marketing that brands can (and absolutely should) use to give consumers a wholly integrated shopping experience. It’s the idea that, regardless of how they are interacting with a brand, customers will have a seamless interaction.
These days, savvy consumers will more often than not research products online before they buy, or they may be in a store that doesn’t have their size and pull out their phone to find and purchase the item online. The scenarios are endless, but the significance remains the same: brands need to create an easy, consistent way for consumers to navigate touchpoints.
Don’t agree? Take a look at Zendesk’s research on The Omnichannel Customer Service Gap, where a whopping 87 percent of consumers said they believe brands need to put greater effort into offering more seamless experiences.
Omnichannel Marketing vs. Multichannel Marketing
Multichannel marketing has been a topic of discussion for several years now, but it’s actually very different from omnichannel. Multichannel is the idea that a brand will extend the same messaging across multiple channels in an effort to establish brand awareness and reach as many consumers as possible. It’s also how you allow your customers to interact with your brand on each channel (social, web, in-store).
Multichannel benefits: Utilizing a variety of channels to communicate, like email, social media and even text messaging, means you can reach customers with the same messaging to create an impactful, wide reaching and long lasting brand image.
Multichannel challenges: In order to get the most out of multichannel marketing, you need to be able to understand your analytics. Multichannel is known to be quite complex, and you’ll need a decent understanding of advanced analytics to gain any useful data, or even to just understand what is and is not working in your efforts.
Omnichannel marketing, on the other hand, is more consumer-focused, identifying and addressing customers’ needs, whatever they may be, at any point in their buying journey. Messaging will change depending on where the customer is in that journey.
Omnichannel benefits: Omnichannel is powerful in that it allows consumers to have control over how and when they access your brand.
Omnichannel challenges: Omni channel can be effective, but that doesn’t mean it’s simple. You must have open communication, and you must embrace the comprehensive strategy it entails.
Why Use an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy?
Omnichannel marketing strategies work because they offer customers an integrated experience with your brand. Essentially, it’s a strategy that puts the consumer first. And when you’re offering customers a choice in how they engage, with the comfort and confidence that they’ll still get the same, amazing experience regardless of how and when they interact with your brand, it will keep them happy while encouraging brand loyalty and trust.
Creating an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
Creating an omnichannel marketing strategy can be time consuming and challenging. It takes dedication, research and insight. But it is possible. Follow these steps to create and implement an omnichannel strategy that takes your brand to a new level.
1. Learn about your buyers.
Creating buyer personas is the number one way you can attract and convert. A persona is a fictional character, based on data, that represents your typical buyer. It can include age, gender, habits, interests, where they shop, what social channels they use most, how they get their information, how much they make in a year…and so on. Once you’ve identified and created these personas, you know exactly how and where to talk your customer.
2. Segment your audience.
Segmenting buyers allows you to target specific people with specific messaging. This may seem like a tedious step, but keep in mind that nearly three quarters of all consumers say they’re frustrated with brands who send them irrelevant messaging. Mailchimp recently did a study on 11,000 segmented campaigns to nine million consumers. The results are pretty amazing. Segmented campaigns have a:
- 14.3 percent higher open rate
- 100.9 percent higher click-through rate (CTR)
Bottom line, it pays to segment.
3. Align your content.
Personalize content to address the different stages of the journey. If a user abandons a cart, a 1:1 message (that uses their name), could be all it takes to convert them. Aligning the content you send out with a personal touch is an excellent way to realize better consumer engagement and increased conversions.
4. Analyze and prioritize.
Assess all your channels to determine which are the most effective, then hone in on those. Fortunately, analytics and social monitoring make this easier than ever. Listen to what your customers are saying, and figure out how to address their needs, concerns, or in the best case scenario, how to reward them and increase what’s already working. A great example is Starbucks’ mobile app. Starbucks has allowed customers to preorder and avoid notoriously long lines, and they’ve implemented one of the best rewards programs around. Southwest is another brand that offers stellar rewards, an easy-to-use app and other omnichannel-focused strategies that have taken the brand from a cattle-call reputation to a digital sensation that appeals to buyers, creating loyalty and furthering reach tremendously.
5. Be the best.
Never in the history of consumerism has customer service been so important. Consumers are finicky, and they will not miss a beat to let the world know if you let them down. And social media makes this easier than ever, giving disgruntled customers a massive platform to conveniently (and loudly) express their complaints. Strive to do better, to be the best, to offer your customers everything you’ve got. Because in the age of Twitter and Instagram, you’re just one #nastyhashtag away from a reputation management nightmare. Address concerns, acknowledge mistakes and be sure you’ve invested in a support team who shows: you’re a brand that cares.
6. Check and balance your efforts – integrate what’s working and ditch the rest.
Go ahead, take risk. Think outside the box, create a marketing campaign that’s different. Because standing out is how you get noticed. But keep in mind, going rogue won’t always work…and that’s OK. Just be sure you’re checking your marketing strategy regularly so you give yourself the opportunity to course correct when and if needed.
Looking at each of your efforts often, assessing how well they support one another, can help ensure that your omnichannel strategy stays on point:
- SEO strategy
- Web strategy
- Content marketing strategy
- Email strategy
- Social strategy
- Mobile strategy
- Pay per click (PPC) strategy
- Out-of-Home (OOH) strategy
- Print or Media strategies
Omnichannel Marketing Campaign Examples
There are so many omnichannel marketing examples that are worth looking at. Check out a few of our favorites.
Example 1: Aviation Gin
When Hollywood powerhouse Ryan Reynolds bought into Portland-based American gin, Aviation, the brand’s marketing took off. Capitalizing partly on Reynold’s charm and (admittedly) a lot on his fame, the brand took full advantage of his comedic timing and appeal. A flood of pseudo-rivalries he’s known for with other Hollywood bigwigs took stage – actor Hugh Jackman, Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson and in true marketing brilliance, Reynold’s “twin” brother, Gordon. (Spoiler alert: Reynolds doesn’t have a brother). Even his wife used the brand in her movie, A Simple Favor, adding product placement to the list of marketing tactics that work.
Aviation published a string of hilarious YouTube videos, sent “accidental” emails to their customers (from Reynolds himself), flew planes with banners of Reynolds’ face trailing behind them over popular events, beaches and festivals, and wrote social posts that went viral the second they hit the feeds.
They created an omnichannel marketing strategy so wild, they beat out Nike, Google, Coke and Spotify in Adweek’s 2019 March Adness Tournament. Senior Brand Manager Adrian Molina attributes Aviation’s marketing success to a commitment to being in “the here and now and really engaging at that moment…the more a brand is transparent, the more it’s like a person instead of a corporation…the better fans will respond.” Aviation has taken omnichannel marketing to the extreme.
Example 2: Dollar Shave Club
You remember it. The man. The warehouse. The forklift. The tennis racket. The…bear? It was fresh. It was creative. It was, frankly, brilliant. And it didn’t stop there.
Since 2011, the brand has used innovative omnichannel marketing tactics to expand its reach and impress its “subscribers” (note, they never call them “customers”) to create an incredible cult-following-loyalty.
Senior Vice President of Marketing Adam Weber hit the nail on the head in his interview with eMarketer. Weber notes “We don’t believe in the silver bullet philosophy – that one channel will solve all of our problems…Consumers don’t just watch television or only go on Facebook.” He goes on to explain that the brand’s success greatly depends on their omnichannel strategy. Their marketing plan takes advantage of everything from social to radio to TV.
Omnichannel marketing is a sign of how far marketing has come. It’s an all-encompassing, consumer-focused way of cementing a brand and increasing longevity while ensuring success. Done well, and it can be the difference between building a brand that briefly recognizes a heyday, and one that your grandchildren know about. Follow the steps in this guide and you’ll be well on your way to omnichannel gold.