You’re looking to buy a novel by your favourite author. You visit the product page on Amazon, add the product in the cart, but something comes up and you forget to check out.
Later in the day, when you log in to Facebook, and while browsing through the feed, you see an ad of the same book. You click on the ad and complete the purchase.
This is omnichannel marketing.
Difference between omnichannel and multi-channel marketing
Omnichannel marketing is not a buzzword. It often gets confused with other terms such as multi-channel marketing, cross-channel marketing, and integrated marketing.
In simple terms, omnichannel marketing means providing a seamless and coherent experience to your users and customers, irrespective of the channel or the device they are using.
The fusion of multi-channel and integrated marketing gives rise to omnichannel marketing.
According to HubSpot, ‘all omnichannel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multi-channel experiences are omnichannel.’ It isn’t omnichannel if the different channels don’t work together. For example, mobile marketing, social media marketing, and well-designed website have to work hand-in-hand to make omnichannel marketing work for you.
Starbucks is known for its exceptional customer experience. The American coffee company offers a free reward card which accumulates points whenever you use it for your purchases. What makes it an omnichannel experience, is that you can top-up the card using either the Starbucks website, the mobile app or at any brick-and-mortar outlet. The top-up recharge and reward points are updated in real-time, so if you’re recharging the card while you’re waiting in a queue at a nearby outlet, your process is completed before you are ready to order.
With the help of the Starbucks app, you can view the stores near your location, send digital gifts, place an order ahead of time and transfer balance between cards. Its integration with the Spotify app identifies the song that’s playing at the Starbucks outlet you are in and lets you save the song in your playlist.
Matt Ryan, EVP CMO, Starbucks, in an interview, stated that there’s more to come in terms of personalisation, “In the future, you’ll hear more about our efforts to grow not just Starbucks Rewards, but the total number of people who engage with us digitally in any fashion, as our personalization engine will help us deepen engagement with customers beyond our core loyalty customers.”
Also Read: Time to Make It Personal: Content Personalisation Tips for Better Marketing
How to Get Started With Omnichannel Marketing?
If you are planning to get started with omnichannel marketing, here are seven steps to kick-start your planning process:
1. Understand Your Customer
The foundation of omnichannel marketing begins with a deep understanding of your customers and their purchase journey. Start by developing buyer personas – a semi-fictional representation of your ideal buyers based on the research and information of your existing customers. The buyer personas consist of demographic, geographic characteristics, behavioural patterns, interests, goals, etc.
Periodically interview your customers and prospects, encourage customer feedback, tap into social listening and analytics tools to gather new statistics and improve upon the existing customer data.
Define a sales funnel that outlines the buyer’s journey, i.e. the process your customers go through before buying from you. A solid sales funnel will help you create content that targets each stage of the funnel prompting the prospect to move one step closer to the purchase.
2. Personalise Your Marketing
Once you’ve defined your buyer personas, you will start noticing patterns in the characteristics such as designation, role, location, education and so on. Segment your users based on such features. Take a personalised approach in your marketing. Instead of sending a generic message to your entire user base, segment them based on their designation, location, etc. and send a personalised message to each segment. Addressing users by their name is only the beginning when it comes to personalisation; crafting the message based on the segments, your communication comes across as a genuine effort to strike a one-on-one conversation, something your customers will appreciate.
Also Read: 5 Ways You Can Use Chatbots in Marketing
3. Build a Responsive Website
When you’re going omnichannel, you need to realise that your users will come to your website not only through desktops but through mobile and tablet devices as well. Therefore be sure that your site is responsive to the device it is being viewed on. Mobile apps are great, but not everyone will take the effort to download and use it. Also, not having a responsive design will lead to getting penalised by search engines.
4. Determine and Prioritise the Right Channels
Now, you might presume that since you’re going omnichannel, you need to be on all channels. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You have finite time and resources, therefore focus on only those mediums that are important to your brand and where your audience spends their most time on. For example, for a B2C brand, LinkedIn might not be the right choice to invest your time in.
Once you’ve finalised the channels, prioritise channels based on their potential to generate the maximum ROI for you.
Note: If you want to use channels that are not crucial, feel free to use them, but keep them at the bottom of the priority channel list.
5. Maintain a Consistent Voice Across All Channels
It is imperative to maintain a consistent tone across multiple channels to make omnichannel marketing work for you. Are you trying to be witty? Then keep the tone witty on social media, your website, emails, collateral, physical stores and other channels. Moreover, when we say your site, we mean the 404 error page, about us, contact us pages along with the home page.
Also Read: Interactive Content Also Works for B2B Marketing
Keeping your voice consistent across all channels will avoid the confusion in the minds of your customers and deliver a great experience.
6. Build the Right Marketing Stack
As the MarTech field is ever growing, new tools and systems are introduced every day leaving you with a myriad of choices to choose from. To shortlist which tools to implement, once you’ve worked on the previous steps, decide the areas which would require you to implement tools. In general, most brands use tools such as a CRM software, email automation software, marketing automation software, social media management tool, CMS and analytics tool. If you are not sure, you can draw inspiration from the world’s top startups by having a look at their tech stack.
7. Rinse and Repeat
Once you’ve implemented your omnichannel marketing plan, it is necessary to assess what is working and what is not. Periodically measure the performance of all channels, and make significant changes. Play around with the messaging, channels, posting schedule, frequency, etc. to find the optimum schedule which you can adopt.