Omnichannel Marketing: The Ultimate Guide for 2024

min read
Omnichannel Marketing: The Ultimate Guide for 2024

By now the term "omnichannel marketing" isn't breaking news to any marketer. Every publication, blog, industry event, and Twitter influencer has had their say about the rise of omnichannel.

Omnichannel Marketing (OCM) has been fundamental in bridging the gap between the physical and digital retail experience customers encounter when making purchases. You really have to do some digging to figure out what your current and potential customers value more. Do they prefer the ease and safety of shopping online? Or do they prefer to see, feel, sample, or try your product before they purchase it? Maybe they want the option to do both? All of this will take time to figure out, especially since we’re still navigating a pandemic. For your business to survive, your team needs to be adaptable to the customer climate. What customers want or prioritise changes from one day to the next and this is where an omnichannel strategy can help with that fluctuation. 

Though omnichannel marketing is nothing new, it's definitely not easy, and most marketers are still trying to perfect it. Your martech stack has to be seamlessly integrated so that you know the customer no matter what channel or device they engage on. You’re expected to deliver personalised messages each and every time, and you have to attribute the success of all these complex efforts.

Is your head spinning yet? In this post, we break down what omnichannel marketing is, why it's important, and the four pillars you need in place to be successful.

What Is Omnichannel Marketing?

The root, "omni," means all, of all things, or in all ways or places. Omnichannel marketing is a strategy that ensures your current and/or potential customers are offered consistent and connected messaging across all the channels they encounter as they make their way through your sales funnel. This includes customers who shop for your product or service online, over the phone, or in your physical store (if you have one.) 

What Is Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Marketing vs. Cross-Channel Marketing?

Omni-channel, multi-channel, and cross-channel are terms used in marketing and customer experience to describe different approaches to engaging with customers across various channels. It can be confusing to understand, so here are some analogies to illustrate the differences: 

Omnichannel Marketing: Think of a Symphony Orchestra

In an omnichannel approach, the customer experience is seamless and integrated across all channels. It's like the instruments in an orchestra working together in harmony. Whether a customer interacts with your brand through a website, a mobile app, social media, or in-store, the experience is consistent, and information is shared seamlessly across all channels. Imagine someone adding a product to their shopping cart on a mobile app and then finishing their transaction from a desktop. The experience should be the same despite the difference in technology. 

Multichannel Marketing: Consider Your Local Library

In a multi-channel approach, your brand is present across various channels, much like different sections in a library. Each section (channel) operates somewhat independently, offering its own unique experience. Customers can choose where to engage, but the challenge is ensuring a cohesive experience, as information might not be shared seamlessly between these different sections. 

Cross-Channel Marketing: Picture a Relay Race

Cross-channel involves the sequential use of different channels to enhance the customer journey. It's like a relay race where each runner (channel) contributes to the overall success of the race. Customers might start their journey on one channel and move to another, and the challenge is ensuring a smooth transition and coordination between these channels. 

To summarise, omnichannel marketing focuses on an integrated experience across all channels, while multichannel marketing involves a presence on various channels with some independence, and cross-channel marketing emphasises a sequential and coordinated use of different channels in the customer journey. Each approach has its strengths and challenges, and the choice depends on the specific goals and needs of your business.

What Are the Benefits of Omnichannel Marketing?

There are all kind of benefits from Omnichannel Marketing, but let’s get into some of our favourites: 

  • Customer Experience: OCM allows your customers the opportunity to interact with your messaging across multiple platforms and devices. When combined with personalisation, you should see an increase in both your customer loyalty and brand recognition. 
  • Increase Return Customer Rate & Sales: Attracting new customers is almost always more expensive than retargeting old ones. Utilsing OCM allows you to retarget customers who own your product or have experienced your service, and hopefully, can trust the added services, or discounts/sales you’re promoting across the channels you’re using.
  • Data Benefits & Efficiencies: You’ll be able to see fairly quickly which channels are working for your benefit and which are holding you back. This allows you to make necessary adjustments to the channels that are lagging and continue to build a relationship with your customers through the channels that are successful. We'll get into attribution more below.   

What Is Omnichannel Attribution?

Data is essential for your sales teams, but even more so for your marketing department. Omnichannel attribution is what lets your team know which channels your customers are coming from, how they’re interacting with each channel, and even why they chose the journey that they did. This all affects your budget, sales, and analytics because it lets you know where you should be investing your team’s time and energy — and where you shouldn’t. It also helps you understand where adjustments need to be made. 

What Is Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Marketing?

It can be easy to confuse the two topics so we’ll use an analogy.

Think of multichannel marketing campaigns as fishing with a net. You're throwing your net (messaging) into a vast number of different channels and seeing what fish (customers) you catch.

Omnichannel marketing is like trying to lure a specific fish — your target customer. You utilse a variety of lures, bait, and tools (multiple channels) precisely to target the fish. Your approach is specific to that fish, based on its past encounters with you and its eating preferences. It's a much more targeted approach.

The Five Pillars of Omnichannel Marketing

1. Visibility: a single view of the customer

The first key principle of omnichannel marketing is visibility. You know your customers are moving between channels and devices, effortlessly. In fact, Google reports that 90% of consumers move between devices when making a purchase.

The first step towards a singular view of the customer is a fully integrated tech stack. Your marketing automation, retargeting platform, CRM and other solutions should all work together under the guise of a single view of the customer. You need to have insight into every interaction a potential customer has with your business across channels and devices.

But what happens when your customers jump offline to make a phone call? The thread is lost unless you have conversation intelligence. Without visibility into offline behaviors, you’ll miss out on the complete view of the customer journey.

Key takeaway: Marketers need to focus on the right set of tools that allow them to have complete visibility into the entire customer journey — from first interaction to completed sale, and everything in between.

2. Measurement: understand the impact of each marketing touchpoint

According to a study by The CMO Club, 82% of respondents surveyed felt an inability to measure cross-channel performance is standing in the way of their omnichannel marketing success. Accurate measurement on every possible customer touchpoint is an essential part of omnichannel marketing.

Once you have visibility into all of the interactions a potential customer is having with your business, you can then measure the success of your marketing efforts. What offers, landing pages, retargeting ads, and more are working? What is influencing people to buy? You need to understand the impact of every marketing touch point whether the customer is interacting on a laptop, tablet, or mobile.  

Marketers need to be able to accurately measure the impact of their marketing efforts across channels, devices, as well as offline and online. Let’s say you’re A/B testing a landing page. One page may be performing well online, so you optimise towards the high performing version. But if you’re not looking at the offline impact of your landing pages, you may miss that the second landing page was actually driving more phone call conversions than online conversions, and you actually "optimised" against the higher performing version.

Key takeaway: If you can't give proper credit where credit is due, you won't be able to optimise your marketing efforts, and fail to provide a one-to-one, personalised customer experience.

3. Personalisation: deliver one-to-one customer experiences in real time

Use online and offline data together to deliver a seamless omnichannel customer experience. One-third of marketers surveyed by Adobe would prioritise personalisation because it is considered the most important to marketing in the future. However, marketers surveyed by Econsultancy and Monetate stated that the biggest challenges with personalisation are gaining insight quickly enough (40%), having enough data (39%), and inaccurate data (38%).

Your tools like real-time personalisation, social media analytics, predictive analytics, marketing automation, CRM, and more need all of the online and offline data from your potential customers. If a customer visits your website and picks up the phone to call, you can push that offline data to your real-time personalisation platform so you can design a returning web visitor experience that makes it easy for that potential customer to call again.

Key takeaway: Integrate online and offline behaviors into your automation tools to create the most successful omnichannel customer experience.

4. Optimisation: adjust strategy and budget based on complete performance

In a study from Multichannel Merchant and Neustar, 78% of respondents currently realise or expect a sales lift with an integrated omnichannel marketing strategy. However once you have the omnichannel customer experience in place, you’re only halfway through the battle. The next step is to have the capability to accurately optimise your marketing strategy and budget based on complete visibility into your marketing performance.

What offers, landing pages, products, or services are driving your visitors to take the next step? What channels are they interacting with your business that leads to a purchase? With complete visibility into the complete performance of your marketing campaigns, you are able to make more powerful optimisations to your marketing strategy and budget.

Key Takeaway: Optimise your marketing with complete insight into the online and offline impact. You will make more powerful optimisations and smarter decisions.

Hopefully, these four pillars will help make the concept of omnichannel more accessible. We'd love to hear how you are incorporating visibility, measurement, personalisation, and optimisation into your marketing.

5. Automation: Leverage Automation for Customised Personalisation and Building Customer Loyalty

Embracing personalisation within your omnichannel marketing strategy enhances customer relationships, leading to heightened customer growth and retention. New customers are drawn to your brand by the value you provide, while active customers may transform into loyalists. However, it can be extremely difficult deliver a personalised touch to a wide audience. This challenge becomes more pronounced as your database expands rapidly, while your marketing team, time, and budget remain constant.

That's where automation comes in — it can take care of routine tasks and deliver personalisation at scale. The key is to make sure you fuel it with the right data to do its job — that means feeding it rich first-party data about your target audience.

Key Takeaway: Automation serves as the indispensable force in overcoming scalability hurdles, allowing technology to handle tasks that would impede growth. Acting as a relentless member of your marketing team, automation operates continuously to deliver personalised content at optimal times and through the most effective channels, ensuring maximum impact on customers throughout their journey with your brand. This perpetual operation ensures that your foundational 1:1 omnichannel marketing campaigns persistently run in the background, fostering relationships and building customer loyalty across all channels.

What Is an Example of Omnichannel Marketing?

With over 300 locations, AutoNation is America’s largest and most admired auto retailer. Since buying or servicing a vehicle is a complex purchase, phone calls are often a key piece of the customer journey. This human-to-human interaction helps to reassure customers, and it gives them the opportunity to ask questions they couldn’t find answers to online. Because of this, AutoNation knew they needed a way to tie phone calls to their digital marketing efforts and the broader digital journey.

Before using Invoca, AutoNation had a different call tracking solution in place. But their vendor wasn’t giving them enough data and granularity about the customer journey. “Our last call tracking provider didn’t have anywhere close to the technology, the features, or the data resources that Invoca does,” said Matteo Togni, Product Manager of Localisation and Digital Product at AutoNation. “Switching to Invoca was a no-brainer.”

With Invoca, AutoNation has full attribution for the web pages, digital marketing campaigns, and search keywords that drive high-quality phone leads. With this data, they can allocate more budget to their top-performing campaigns and eliminate campaigns that are primarily driving support calls and non-sales related inquiries. AutoNation also uses Invoca to automate call quality assurance (QA) by automatically scoring every sales call with AI. This helps them ensure the leads they drive are being effectively handled and converted. 

Learn how Invoca helped AutoNation connect the full omnichannel customer experience in the video below:

Additional Reading

Want to learn more about how leading brands use Invoca to improve their omnichannel marketing? Check out these resources:

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