Marketing communications in the digital age evolve by the day. Getting and retaining customers is all about providing a great customer experience from first interaction throughout the buyer’s journey. Today, consumers wield all the power, and with just a quick skip, swipe, or scroll, they determine whether a brand stays relevant or not.
As marketers explore strategies to drive the right kind of engagement online, one critical discussion that always comes up is whether they should opt for multichannel or omnichannel marketing. But, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: consumers expect a quick and seamless experience across all digital marketing touchpoints.
That said, let’s discuss multichannel vs. omnichannel marketing to determine which of the two can provide a better customer experience. After all, great customer experience yields a competitive advantage.
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel – What is the Difference?
«Multi» suggests «many» while «omni» suggests «all». However, the fundamental difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing has little to do with whether you’re engaging customers in several touchpoints or all touchpoints as they move down the sales funnel. Rather, it has to do with integration.
In multichannel marketing, the goal is to guide a consumer towards a particular goal. It focuses on getting them from one stage of the buyer’s journey to another by sending a standard message through individual channels. Let’s say you’re issuing a promo discount code for new users; multichannel marketing involves you advertising the same promo code on several channels like your blog, social media pages, and email newsletter.
Multichannel marketing segments direct and indirect customer interactions. Direct communications are where the company proactively reaches out to the customer through direct mail or message. Indirect interactions include content pushed through blogs, websites, or social media.
Even though the marketing channels belong to the same entity, they’re inherently isolated from one another. Each channel works in a silo, with its own strategy and goals. As a result, brands that rely on multichannel marketing tend to run into miscommunication and style inconsistencies between channels.
For customers, multichannel marketing can create a confusing, impersonal experience that leaves them feeling frustrated.
Now, unlike multichannel marketing, omnichannel marketing has the customer at the center. It involves the seamless integration of branding and messaging across all touchpoints to create a more impactful customer experience. An omnichannel communication platform allows customers to determine how they’ll interact with your brand by offering:
- A consistent, identifiable brand voice
- Personalized messaging
- Content that is informed by past interactions with the brand
In other words, marketers take a step back and let users define the journey for themselves – but the trip is tailored to their likes and preferences. For example, a user might get an email announcing a new product that goes perfectly with another they’d previously bought. Instead of relaying the same message through other channels, your strategy might involve offering them a promo code for that exact product on Twitter and having them see a video of someone using the product on Facebook.
In both cases, the goal is to get customers to take a desired action (using a promo code). The difference is in the journey options you provide.
|Multichannel marketing||Omnichannel marketing|
|Reach a user through a maximum number of channels||Gives users a seamless experience across every channel|
|Brand is on every channel, but each channel may have different messaging||No matter which channel is used, the message is consistent|
|Doesn’t use the advantages of using multiple channels in tandem||Must be used with analytics to individualize experience to each user’s needs|
|Fragmented, inconsistent experience||Seamless, consistent experience|
So, Which Is The Better Option?
Brands that choose multichannel marketing do so for one reason; it’s pretty straightforward. All you need is one main message and a call to action. However, this can be alienating to customers as it doesn’t take their needs, preferences, or stage in the sales funnel into consideration.
An omnichannel customer experience could be the brand differentiator you need. An omnichannel marketing platform nurtures leads and user engagement by offering audiences a diverse set of messages, incentives, or buying options, bringing the following benefits:
- A better user experience – Omnichannel communication focuses on the individual customer experience instead of the channel. It allows for a cohesive customer experience no matter how or where a customer reaches out.
- Increased revenue – Focusing on omnichannel customer engagement ensures a seamless experience for shoppers, making them more likely to buy from you.
- Creates a consistent brand image – Integration means you can create a cohesive brand strategy and identity across all channels, which leads to increased loyalty as customers will trust your brand more.
- Better attribution data – With omnichannel marketing automation, you’ll be able to identify which channels work best for your brand and when customers are more likely to engage with you on their journey. Such data can be used to improve brand strategy and build more targeted campaigns.
Support Customer Engagement Across Every Channel That Matters
Customer experience is an asset to your brand – make it work for you. As mentioned, many brands opt for multichannel marketing because it’s easier to execute. But, if you’re looking to captivate and engage your customers on all channels, you have to leverage insights and create messages tailored to their interests and where they are on their journey.
Omnichannel marketing automation platforms allow you to do this and more. You can create more targeted, effective campaigns and put your customers’ needs front and center. Use data insights to drive campaigns and aid in journey planning, all while executing effective omnichannel communications from one place.
The article was originally published here.