When it comes to marketing channels, one is never enough.
While yesterday’s marketing approach was focused on creating the right message for the brand — choosing the right channel for the brand, and setting the right time for the brand to deliver its pitch — we have left that paradigm behind. Today’s consumer is interacting with brands on an ongoing basis via an ever-growing number of channels. This means that as a brand, you are “always on.”
Omnichannel or multichannel? Same? Different? Interchangeable?
Though often used interchangeably, they refer to different marketing strategies. One refers to a brand’s efforts to communicate with customers across multiple channels. The other is a strategy that helps you build more lasting relationships with customers because they have a consistent brand experience no matter the channel or device they may be using. Both strategies are important.
When you look at how consumers are receiving messages, you have to realize that delivering a seamless experience is a must. Consumers who find a glitch or inconsistency in that experience drop out with a simple click.
Google research indicates that 90 percent of multiple device owners switch between an average of three devices per day to complete a task, sometimes using two or more at a time. Instead of thinking desktop or mobile, marketers must consider a holistic approach — desktop, mobile, Apple Watch, tablet, and the next product to come off the production line. Even as you read this, I would guess you have a number of devices close at hand.
How Do You Become an Omnichannel Marketer?
Rather than creating two or three, or maybe four campaigns a year, we now have to think about creating a drastically higher number of ads for more and more channels. It’s not just a matter of taking your commercial and posting it to Facebook and YouTube. Your message must “fit” the channel.
If you’re saying to yourself that you don’t have to worry about television ads because you’re a small business marketing through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can just copy the same creative into each channel, you are missing a huge opportunity. Savvy marketers understand that each channel is viewed from a different point and responded to differently, even by the same person.
The first step in omnichannel marketing is to audit your channels, your customers and their journeys to your point of purchase (or conversion). Use CX and customer journeys to bring teams working on messaging into a common and shared understanding of what is needed to communicate appropriately. Increasing the “stickiness” of your messages by guiding customers along their chosen journeys to your door is a must if your intention is to defend or retain your market share — or grow it.
The ease of access to technology has empowered consumers to use multiple channels to interact with you at their pleasure in a manner of their choosing. When you add the current desire of many customers to experience personalized brand interactions, you realize the importance of understanding the various customer journeys and insights to deliver the right message.
Look to Other Companies for Inspiration.
Planning a family vacation to a Disney theme park soon? Look carefully and you’ll see a benchmark omnichannel experience. Disney’s trip planning website is beautiful and works well on mobile, and once you’ve booked, you can start using the “My Disney Experience” tool to plan your entire trip, including securing those Fast Passes for the high-demand rides. Once you’re in the park, the mobile app helps you locate the attractions you want to see.
Most visitors would be thrilled with just those channels, but Disney took it a step further with the release of their Magic Band: It’s your room key. Order food with it. Store the pictures you’ve taken with characters. Remember the Fast Passes you ordered? The Band is the key! Now that is a magical omni-channel experience!
A pivot to omnichannel means that rather than systemizing how creative gets developed across different mediums, it’s about rethinking how the message gets delivered and then assembling the creative in the proper way. It forces you to think about the customer and their journey to develop the appropriate messages.