What Is Omnichannel Marketing?

Man holding a target centered in front of his faceThink of all the ways a consumer might learn about a brand today. They might use a smartphone to visit a brand on social media channels such as Instagram and Facebook. Or they may watch a brand’s YouTube videos on a tablet. They could also discover a company’s website after typing a keyword into a search engine on a desktop computer. 

Throughout all such channels in marketing, a consistent, seamless user experience can help individual consumers stay engaged with a brand while building trust in it. Omnichannel marketing is a strategy that takes all marketing channels into consideration in determining how to create the best customer experience. Instead of operating channels in silos, a unified strategy applies to all marketing channels, even when they work in different ways or target different audiences.

When done correctly, Omnichannel marketing can have a positive impact on business results. A 2021 Omnisend analysis of more than 135,000 marketing campaigns found that marketers who used three or more channels in a campaign earned a 494% higher order rate than those who focused on a single channel.

In diverse industries of B2C to B2B brands, effective omnichannel marketing can be the difference between a loyal, returning customer base and one that gives their business to the competition.

Omnichannel Marketing Definition

Omnichannel marketing focuses on the customer whereas multichannel marketing focuses on creating specific marketing channels for each platform. An omnichannel approach maps customer personas and considers what journey that customer takes with a brand across various platforms and devices. The brand then strategizes how to create an exceptional customer experience throughout the buyer’s journey.

Wherever your brand has a presence, you can expect consumers to demand your attention there. On every channel and every platform, consumers may:

  • Ask a question
  • Seek answers to a problem
  • Want to understand what defines a brand

Consistency in voice and tone, level of customer service offered, and the information provided that represents a product or service is important. That’s where omnichannel marketing strategy proves useful.

Why Omni Channel Marketing Is Important

Omnichannel, or “omni channel” marketing matters because it can help you build a better relationship with the leads and customers with whom you’re interacting. Customers can begin to learn about your brand and understand it. This can improve their expectations and results with your business.

A 2021 Gartner report surveying 2,196 customers found that when customers experience a value-enhancing service experience, there’s:

  • 97% probability of the customer sharing via positive word of mouth.
  • 86% probability of the customer spending more money.
  • 82% probability of customer retention.

However, churn can be negatively impacted when the customer experience fails. According to PwC research, even when people in the U.S. love a product or company:

  • 59% stop engaging with a company after several bad experiences
  • 17% walk away after just one bad experience.

Personalization matters

Wherever a customer can find your brand, the experience should be seamless. That indicates that personalization is often tied in.

Consider the example of a customer who chats with a chatbot on a business website to get help with an issue. The customer then messages the business on Instagram to follow up. The business responds with the latest information rather than starting the conversation all over again. That’s an omnichannel experience.

Personalization matters to a company’s bottom line. According to 2021 McKinsey & Company research, when businesses fail at personalization, 76% of consumers get frustrated. Companies that excel at personalization achieve 40% more revenue from those activities compared to companies that provide average-level personalization. 

Examples of Omnichannel Marketing Techniques

Omnichannel marketing can apply to overall brand strategy, individual marketing campaigns, and the entire customer journey experience.

Brand strategy

In relation to brand strategy, a business can improve their omnichannel marketing with a set of brand standards and guidelines. These can define everything ranging from the tone of the copy a brand uses to their color palette, to fonts and imagery the brand should focus on and those they should avoid.

Whether it’s a campaign on Twitter or the company’s ecommerce website, consumers are better able to recognize the brand based on their consistent image and personality across all channels.

Individual marketing campaigns

For individual marketing campaigns, an omnichannel approach takes into account how each platform fits into the campaign, and where customers spend their time based on their journey.

Consider the example of a brand that is debuting a new product. They tease the news on Facebook and offer users a product discount code in exchange for signing up for an email newsletter. 

The brand creates a YouTube explainer video that demonstrates how to use the product. This is featured in the email announcement and adds to their mobile app’s knowledge bank. They provide the same customer service contact info for all customers across all platforms who have questions about how to use the product.

In this way, the marketing campaign addresses the customer and their journey, rather than singularly focusing on an individual platform or channel. Throughout the campaign, the business can track how consumers interact with the brand across channels. Then, use that data to inform the next omnichannel marketing campaign.

Customer journey

Businesses can look at their data analytics to better understand the customer journey, by asking: 

  • Which external websites are referring leads and customers to the brand’s website? 
  • What do customers typically do after reading a blog? 
  • What action do they take after viewing a product page?
  • What are they most likely to do after coming to your website from social media?

The answers to these questions can help improve the personalization you offer throughout all channels. This data can also help you provide more relevant information at every step of the customer journey to further a seamless customer experience.

Six Omnichannel Marketing Tips

For businesses that want to integrate their marketing across multiple channels, it’s vital to understand:

  • Who the customer is
  • What they expect from each channel of your business
  •  What their journey looks like across all your marketing channels

1. Create buyer personas

To get there, you’ll first want to create buyer personas that define the demographics and “a day-in-the-lives” of your customer base. These personas should include information on: 

  • The channels these customers use
  • How they use each channel
  • What their movement across various marketing channels looks like

2. Consider buyer platform usage

That helps you create customer journeys for each of your established personas. Consider:

  • Which platforms they use each day.
  • Where they primarily spend their time.
  • What they tend to do on each platform.
    • For example, they might read news on Twitter and look at content from the people they’re following on Instagram.

3. Establish brand guidelines

As you map the customer and their journey, it will help inform the voice, tone, copy, and imagery you use to unify your brand across all digital platforms. If you haven’t established brand guidelines, do so. Your marketing team has a unified brand presence no matter what channel they’re interacting on.

4. Consider customer pain points and behaviors

Think about what pain points a lead or customer might face during their journey. Consider how your business can offer proactive service on each channel to exceed customer expectations and strong engagement.

Choose a customer relationship management (CRM) program that enables you to track individual customer behavior across all channels. That way, if a customer contacts you on one channel, the CRM can show you the last interaction you had so you can personalize your service.

5. Connect to an analytics platform

Connect your website to an analytics platform that also ties in data from social media channels, email marketing, and other marketing platforms. Determine how customers are behaving across your branded websites, apps, etc. and on external sites where you have a presence, such as social media and community forums like Reddit.

6. Provide customer service across channels

Ensure wherever your business has an online presence, you’re also prepared to provide customer service to customers there. For example, if you have a Twitch or Discord channel or a profile on Yelp, make sure a customer representative is regularly checking in on those platforms and connecting with customers who want to connect with the brand.

Digital Marketing Success Depends on Omnichannel Marketing

As research on personalization and the customer experience has shown, omnichannel marketing drives success. It creates a consistent and seamless user experience across the customer journey. You can build stronger relationships with leads and customers by providing the same level of service across all channels and focusing on how the customer is interacting with the brand throughout the journey.

To learn more about digital marketing strategies like these, download our free ebook,  The Digital Marketing Guide for Non-Marketers.

The Wharton School is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU.

The Wharton School is accredited by IACET