In our digital culture today, marketing is pervasive, insidious, ubiquitous–in short, it’s everywhere all the time. Most companies understand they must build their customer base by gaining visibility and solving the problems of the people they hope will buy their products.
This exposure happens through a variety of marketing channels.
Indeed, our avenues for marketing have expanded exponentially in the last decade. The bloom of social media, online video communities like YouTube, and the app world, make marketing accessible and affordable (if not simple or easy) to organizations from minuscule to gigantic.
Questions like “How do I decide which channels will most effectively create customers for my business?” and “What’s the next frontier in marketing?” weigh heavily and equally on small business owners and marketing groups at fortune 500 companies alike.
Enter Omnichannel marketing.
Today, we’re going to school you on the high-level ins and outs of Omnichannel marketing strategy. We have an exceptional list of foundational tools you can use right now to begin an integrated marketing approach.
You can improve your user experience and increase traffic as well as conversions by using one or more of these tips.
When you’re ready to go big or go home, Romain Berg is your go-to omnichannel marketing specialist. Fill out our contact form today, and we’ll be in touch to create an omnichannel plan that works with no hype, just results.
Multichannel marketing, Omnichannel marketing — what’s the difference?
Yep, the two terms sound deceptively similar, right? Many folks on the marketing fringes may throw around both words indiscriminately. However, there are several important differences between the two terms. Here are the biggies:
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Multi = Many
Multichannel marketing is the practice of advertising, relationship-building, or networking through a variety of channels, including digital media (website, social media, video, apps) and off-line options (radio, TV, live events, presentations, billboards, drag-behind-an-airplane banners, etc.)
In the most effective use of this method, a collection of well-planned brand messages goes out on many different channels.
Social media lends the opportunity to customize your ad demographics to your target audience segments. Digital video lets you tell a relevant story.
Blog posts allow you to capitalize on keyword strategy and PPC (Pay Per Click) choices while you’re educating and helping the folks who click your links. SEO enables you to rise in Google search rankings.
All of these touch points are necessary to drive sales and visibility on an ever-larger scale. However, adding more channels is not the be-all, end-all, in marketing. The bigger question is, “how well do all your marketing channels play together?”
Omnichannel marketing picks up where multichannel leaves off.
Omni = Integrated
The process of implementing an omnichannel strategy is simple. First, carefully select the marketing channels you’ll use in your campaigns. Then, assure that all your channels are integrated to create an optimal user experience and to drive a deeper relationship.
A well-executed omnichannel campaign will attract your audience into your business at a high level. And, you’ll keep your visitors in play with a variety of sparkly services or activities that seamlessly integrate for the ultimate expression of customer care, convenience, value, or luxury.
Omnichannel must be out of reach for smaller companies, right?
You may assume that the only players in the omnichannel world have unlimited marketing budgets and endless diversified, expert teams at their disposal.
We hate to make our readers wrong, but you are.
Check out these examples of effective large-scale omnichannel marketing strategies, and then scale their methods to your operation:
When you walk into your bank, and you see:
- an ATM kiosk,
- a welcoming agent with a tablet to sign you in and alert a loan officer,
- a banner advertising a mobile app,
- and smiling faces ready to help you,
you’ve landed in an Omnichannel environment.
Further, when all these in-person services integrate into the bank’s online app, your omnichannel banking experience just got deeper. Now, you can take the brick-and-mortar bank with you anywhere you have a cell phone signal.
Using your cell phone or laptop for bank services adds to your customer experience. With some bank mobile apps, you can:
- deposit checks,
- apply for loans,
- change account information,
- transfer funds, and
- turn your debit and credit cards off if they’re lost or stolen
These online functions are all examples of omnichannel marketing.
A customer’s phone app communicates flawlessly, with the bank’s internal customer account management software, securely and speedily. This capability enhances the customer’s experience, and predictably, their loyalty and satisfaction.
Got a service business? Follow the bank’s example.
If you have a service business, what kind of digital and off-line interfacing can you do to make your clients’ lives easier? What about some of the following:
- Online booking services
- Auto-confirmation and reminders for appointments
- Online payment
- An instant chat bubble on your website
- Online support groups with subsequent in-person workshops or training sessions
- Online education blended with an in-person experience
- Social media ads that link directly to your integrated service options
Perhaps the most famous and large scale omnichannel operation out there is Disney. And, yes, they are the big-budget example, but a good one when you’re exploring how far you can take your Omnichannel strategy.
Here are several of the elements that place the user experience at the top of the pile:
- A mobile trip-booking site that works well (uncommon among these types of apps)
- The My Disney Experience App to plan your whole experience from theme park tickets to meal purchase, to fast passes, to an interactive theme park map that allows you to plan when to visit each ride or attraction.
- The Magic Band program that lets you unlock your room and store daily photos with a simple wristband.
- Customer rewards program partnering with Visa credit and debit cards with online and in-park reward redemption opportunities.
You can think of this system as a well-trained relay race team. No matter what the point of entry, Disney has a seamless marketing “hand-off” strategy that keeps its audience in play regardless of purchase level or trip planning stage.
Use big business strategy in your small business
If you’re a community “destination” business, try out some of the Theme Park strategies in your next campaign.
Start with this:
- Online waivers and storage
- Online reservations and payment
- Online group concierge service and booking
- Social media and PPC ads that interface directly with real-life, in-store staff
- Admission savings for online purchase
- Customer incentives for information capture
- Content with CTA’s (Calls to Action) that link to purchase specials and VIP experiences
We can look at a growing number of fashion, and other merchandise chains, for omnichannel examples in the retail industry. REI prioritizes accurate product inventory and pricing information across all it’s advertising channels, including websites, catalogs, flyers, and more.
For example, REI promises that if you see a product in-stock on one channel, you can be sure it will also exist identically on another channel. No more items on sale online, but not listed as such in-store.
Target has also recently added mobile check-out assistance when lines are long in-store. You’ll see more and more associates whipping out a tablet or portable scanner to help sales proceed more quickly and efficiently in checkout lines.
Walmart and other chains, like grocery stores, offer online ordering and drive-thru pick-up service, or delivery. The stores that succeed are the ones who pour their effort into making sure online orders are not dropped or canceled before the customer zooms their minivan into the loading bay.
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B2B omnichannel: a consumer experience and manufacturing crossroads.
Digitalist Magazine reports that 65% of B2B customers say their buying experience falls behind the likes of Amazon and similar companies. B2B buyers want ease and simplicity in the sales process just as much as consumers.
Now, sectors like agriculture, medical device, and others are quickly embracing marketing processes that look and feel as easy, sparkly, and cool as consumer sites that have been steadily improving their omnichannel customer experience.
As a manufacturer or B2B service provider, you can integrate your marketing processes with the following actions:
- Continually define and refine your audience–appeal to the online desires of the decision makers in your industry
- Clarify your brand voice and visuals and make them consistent across all your channels
- Include online repair and help-desk apps in your service areas that offer both online and person-to-person assistance options (like call-back requests instead of holding for the next representative)
- Keep your evergreen content relevant with strong CTA’s that link directly to product specs and pricing, estimate services, or training modules
Ready to create your omnichannel strategy? Call Romain Berg.
Conceptualizing your omnichannel marketing presence is easy. Enacting it often requires help. Let the experienced professionals at Romain Berg assist you in creating, launching, and maintaining your comprehensive, integrated marketing approach.
With our help, you’ll reach more customers and keep them reliably engaged with your business on all fronts, seamlessly. Fill out our contact form today, and we’ll be in touch to propose a plan that fits your objectives and your budget for traffic that converts.