There are some business processes that, regardless of industry, are essential for the success of a company. One of these is marketing.
Anyone who either works in marketing or owns a company will understand that marketing is complex and multi-faceted. The industry your company operates in and what your main goals are will have a direct impact on the marketing strategy you opt for.
There are two main marketing strategies for businesses to consider; multichannel and omnichannel. These techniques differ in their approach to marketing. Whilst one is not better than the other, one technique may be more suited to specific businesses than the other.
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What is multi-channel marketing
Multi-channel marketing revolves around the concept of offering customers, or potential customers, a choice in how they purchase a product or service. Essentially it is the practice of interacting with customers using a combination of direct and indirect channels.
This includes things such as retail stores, e-commerce, email, targeted ads, and social media. The aim is to allow the customer to respond (by purchasing a product or service) in the most convenient way for them.
The benefit of multi-channel marketing is that businesses have multiple ways in which to make the sale. The interesting thing about multi-channel marketing is that each entity has its own individual strategy.
What is omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel marketing can be defined as the integration of different marketing channels that businesses use to interact with customers. The aim is to create a seamless experience for the customer, regardless of which channel they are using to connect with the brand.
This strategy acknowledges that the modern customer is not confined to one platform. In order to work with this new customer mindset, omnichannel marketing delivers a cohesive experience, regardless of the channel being used.
Omnichannel marketing recognizes that customers have access to many different platforms and ways to connect with a brand and instead of having separate strategies per platform, they all work together to achieve the end goal: a customer making a purchase.
What is the difference between multi-channel and omnichannel marketing?
Whilst both omnichannel and multichannel marketing strategies are effective methods, they are unique approaches to achieving the same goal. Essentially, there are a few key differences in regard to how they get from point A (a customer looking to make a purchase) to point B (the customer actually making the purchase).
The main differences between the two strategies include:
- The focus is not the same – The first thing to point out is that the main focus for the marketing strategies are different. A multi-channel marketing approach centers around having various different sales platforms and options for the customer to buy the product. Whereas omnichannel marketing focuses more around the customer and tailors the process to suit their needs, unbeknown to the customer itself. They may still have the same tools and platforms, but getting from one point to the other is done differently.
- Targeted advertisements are different – You will find that while both marketing strategies will work with targeted adverts, the content of the advert may be slightly different. For multi-channel marketing you will find that the focus will be around the platform in which the advert is seen. But with omnichannel marketing there will be a more customer centric focus based on what was left in the cart or the pages they browsed on the website.
Benefits of multi-channel marketing
Multi-channel marketing has many benefits and maybe an incredibly good fit for your business. The main advantages of this approach include.
Connect with customers on multiple platforms
It is important to recognize that the modern customer is no longer restricted to visiting shops, or shopping online on their desktop at home. With the average customer owning 3.64 connected devices, delivering ads, or allowing shopping on only one device means businesses are missing out on potential sales.
Customers today are not only engaged across multiple devices but also multiple platforms. Multi-channel marketing caters to this and allows customers to use whichever device or platform they prefer in order to connect with a brand.
The big question for many businesses when it comes to marketing is their budget, and there is no doubt that an omnichannel approach to your business marketing strategies is going to cost more.
A multi-channel marketing option means the same message is delivered across all platforms, making it a more simplified alternative. As a result of this, multi-channel marketing is a budget-friendly option with the sale of the product being the main focus.
Increase conversion rates and consumer engagement
The aim of any business is to have as high of a conversion rate as possible, and there are statistics to indicate that a multi-channel approach increases both conversion rates and engagement.
Interestingly, 72% of consumers say that they would prefer to connect with businesses through a multi-channel approach. Furthermore, multi-channel B2C campaigns see a 24% higher return on investment in comparison to single-channel campaigns. Giving customers options in regards to which platform they use is drastically going to improve engagement rates.
If your business is solely focused on volume and the number of products that you can sell, then a multi-channel marketing approach could be a great option. This strategy allows businesses to focus on each branch of their brand separately and will generally lead to sales.
Benefits of omnichannel marketing
There are many benefits when it comes to omnichannel marketing that can help your business grow or gain more sales. These include:
One of the main benefits of an omnichannel approach is that it is consistent across all platforms. This is due to the fact that all platforms are connected and working towards the same goal. Seamlessly connected ads ensure that the customer always remains the focus and that platforms are not fighting against each other.
From a customer perspective, the targeted adverts help them to be able to make contact with a company in a preferred manner or feel like the buying process has continuity in terms of what they are interested in.
Improved customer data
Customer data is incredibly important for businesses as it enables them to gather a deeper understanding of their customer’s needs and cater the business towards meeting those needs. One of the main advantages of omnichannel marketing is that it provides improved customer data.
Omnichannel marketing allows brands to track customer behavior across all platforms, rather than just one; this helps businesses understand their customers better. In turn, it becomes possible for brands to further personalize and customize communications and promotions with their customers. Making customers feel valued and special as opposed to just another number increases customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
Connecting the online and offline experience
The whole purpose of an omnichannel experience is that all avenues are connected and this does not simply apply to all online platforms being connected. Omnichannel marketing is a brilliant way of bridging the gap between online and offline experiences. Essentially, the goal is not to promote sales on one specific platform, but instead to promote sales in the way that is most natural for the customer.
Allowing and rewarding customers for choosing your brand and engaging with it in whichever way is most natural to them is going to result in a higher number of conversions than just pushing customers to one specific platform.
There are a number of different benefits to the omnichannel approach as if your customer is at the center of what you do, then this is where you will make the most progress.
Although at first glance, multi-channel and omnichannel marketing seems similar, there are clearly distinct differences. However, it is important to recognize that one is not better than the other; it purely depends on what your business is focusing on and what goals you are hoping to achieve. Essentially, multi-channel is a great option for businesses that want to expand their e-commerce reach, whilst omnichannel marketing helps companies fine-tune it.
If you are struggling to determine which strategy is right for your business, take some time to consider your goals and what you want to get out of your marketing strategy.