Biz Tips: What’s the Difference between Multichannel and Omnichannel Marketing?

Biz Tips: What’s the Difference between Multichannel and Omnichannel Marketing?

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What’s the Difference between Multichannel and Omnichannel Marketing?

In today’s digital world, the landscape is evolving at an impossibly fast pace. New concepts and new terms are emerging to talk about completely new ways to market and reach our customers.

There’s been some confusion in all of this as new ideas are thrown into the collective thought cloud we all share, especially concerning multichannel and omnichannel marketing.

What does it all mean? What’s the difference? Are they just buzzwords? And if not, how can they add value to my marketing strategy?

I’m going to help answer these questions in this article by comparing and contrasting multichannel and omnichannel marketing:

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is a strategy that provides the customer with a completely unified experience from the first touchpoint to the last.

What does omnichannel mean? This means that no matter what channel the customer uses to connect with a brand, that channel will provide a customized, relevant message to that customer. Each of these channels works side-by-side to update customer data as that customer moves through their purchase journey.

This creates a unified voice, message, and experience for your customer with your brand.

The consumer of 2019 is easily distracted and impatient. No judgment, I’m the exact same way. If a brand fails to hold my attention for longer than 3 seconds, I’m gone to the next thing in my endless list of things to think about.

Your customers are no different, and likely, neither are you.

Your channels are there to help you. If they communicate in between themselves and update with more relevant messaging as your customer reacts and engages with them, you’ll hold their attention for much longer.

Then, if that’s omnichannel marketing, what’s multichannel marketing?

What’s Different Between Multichannel and Omnichannel Marketing?

First, we need to understand exactly what multichannel marketing is to grasp how it’s different from omnichannel marketing.

Think of multichannel marketing as a large octopus. The head is the brand, and the tentacles reach out to several different channels to get a message out.

However, none of those tentacles communicate with others. The brand knows what each of them is doing, but one tentacle handling Facebook, for example, doesn’t know what another tentacle handling Google is up to.

In contrast with omnichannel marketing, which is more like an interlocking web. Each channel responds to the way that a customer engages with another, and the rest of them adapt accordingly.

In multichannel marketing, the brand is at the center of the strategy, with one static message that’s communicated to each channel. In omnichannel marketing, the customer is at the center of the strategy, with each channel adapting around the customer’s behavior.

Multichannel marketing is a common first step when brands are making the move to omnichannel marketing, mainly because it’s much easier to implement quickly.

However, it’s far from as effective as omnichannel marketing, because like any marketing strategy doomed to failure, it doesn’t put the customer at the center of it.

Why Should I Use Omnichannel Marketing?

Maybe you already have a multichannel marketing strategy in place. That’s a great first step, but it’s time to take your strategy further.

In fact, many brands only stick to two channels that interact with each other. Email and SMS campaigns are usually the channels brands start with- and they’re great channels for it as they’re warm leads who have already shown interest in your product.

However, in studying our own merchants, we found that brands using just one more channel in addition to email and SMS in their automation workflows, their campaigns outperformed single-channel email campaigns in engagement and order rate by 250%.

While that’s not an insignificant number, we also found that the customers who experienced these campaigns were also more likely to come back and purchase again.

Customer retention for brands who used at least three channels in their automation workflows was at about 90%. Just the option of a third channel, no matter what it was, boosted customer retention that much.

Not only is engagement rate, order rate, and customer retention rate elevated for omnichannel marketing campaigns, customers who have an omnichannel experience when shopping tend to spend more too: 13% more to be exact.

While multichannel marketing might work in the interim, it’s easy to see that customers are not only opting for the omnichannel experience, they’re expecting it. Creating loyal customers who come back, again and again, to spend more with your brand is a crucial benefit to your marketing strategy.

At the end of the day, your marketing strategy is purely your own. However, for those who are using a multichannel strategy, the benefits that can be gained from switching to an omnichannel experience for your customers is clear.

By creating an omnichannel ecosystem that always personalizes and sends the most relevant message to the right customer, you can be sure that the impact on your revenue will be just as significant.

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What’s the Difference between Multichannel and Omnichannel Marketing? was originally published in Marketing And Growth Hacking on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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