Digital Marketing

Hyperfocused on Customer Experience, Businesses Ditch Multi-channel Marketing for an Omni-channel Approach

Hyperfocused on Customer Experience, Businesses Ditch Multi-channel Marketing for an Omni-channel Approach

Your business is losing its competitive edge. 

Or at least it will eventually, should you fail to keep up with the latest marketing trends and tactics. 

Marketing has been around for as long as commerce itself. But can you imagine promoting a SaaS product with flyers and pamphlets? Me neither.

The point is that marketing as a practice continues to evolve just as the businesses it tries to promote, and brands need to keep up with the up-and-coming marketing trends if they wish to remain relevant.  

It is no secret that marketing your brand gets harder as niches and platforms get competitive. In 2021 the average social media ad's CTR was around 1%. Although marketers report lead generation to be their top priority, many struggle with turning their audience into meaningful leads, let alone sales. 

Marketers realize the value of good marketing but find it difficult to implement effective marketing strategies because of the rapidly changing marketing landscape. 

For instance, only 4% of content marketers are confident enough to call themselves 'masters' or experts at content marketing. The rest of us are still trying to get there. 

content marketing expert stats

And what happens when we finally do? 

The game changes. New tools and tactics arise, more platforms and strategies emerge, and traditionally reliable channels get too competitive. 

More than that, top digital marketing companies in the United Kingdom and worldwide realize the major role customer experience and customer expectations play in the realm of marketing. 

Consumers these days expect to interact with a brand via multiple channels (5-6 on average before making a purchase.) Users prefer brands that understand their needs and are willing to do more than what's needed to provide them with a decent experience. 

So how does a modern business compete and navigate this complex maze of changing marketing trends and heightened consumer expectations?

The answer is something called omni-channel marketing.

What is Omni-Channel Marketing?

Omni-Channel marketing is an approach that puts customer experience and branding at the center of how your brand presents itself. While traditional,  multi-channel marketing is all about harnessing different marketing channels—each driven by their unique marketing strategies—an omni-channel approach focuses on bringing all of these together into a cohesive and unified experience. 

Omni-channel marketing is marked by its consistency in branding and messaging with a focus on customer experience. In other words, omni-channel marketing moves beyond just digital marketing and focuses instead into creating an emergent brand identity that is greater than the sum of its parts (the brand presence on individual channels.) Most notably, it also includes creating a unified experience across digital channels and between physical and digital outlets. 

When a brand appears consistent and connected across various customer touch points, it move beyond being another company trying to make a sale. The consistency and omnipresence, bring the brand to life and help with customer trust and confidence.

What's the Difference Between Multi-channel vs Omni-channel Marketing?

A multi-channel approach, something most businesses use today, is designed for being efficient and self-sufficient. Meaning each channel limits its extent to itself. Social media ads and posts are designed with their specific goals: Let's say to drive traffic to a landing page. The landing page is designed with its own goal in mind, say to convert visitors into leads. Leads can then engage with the brand's content which could be designed to persuade them to make a sale. 

The system works like a giant machine, run by tiny, independent cogs and wheels that each do their part. 

That's a great approach! But it comes with its flaws. The entire system can fall flat at times when a single unit shuts down. Relying on a rigid funnel like such for revenue can be risky as you need every piece in your marketing & sales funnel to be running at all times. Which is why leading digital marketing companies in Australia and worldwide prefer an omni-channel approach. 

An omni-channel approach is much different. The primary aspect in which the two differ is the very goal they are trying to acomplish. Traditional or multi-channel marketing is designed for customer acquisition and conversion, while omni-channel marketing prioritizes customer experience and branding. 

A multi-channel approach is about maximizing the brand's reach; it allows users to engage with the brand through their preferred channel in a limited manner. An omni-channel holistic approach, on the other hand, might be limited in wanting to maintain consistency across all channels, but it appears to me more appealing and engaging.

omnichannel vs multichannel

What's the Need for an Omni-channel Approach

Conversations about minor differences in implementation and output between the two marketing styles can soon become long-drawn discussions with little to no substance. Instead, we would be much better off trying to understand the difference in the core values that ultimately fuel these different strategies. 

Marketing often has (but not always) been about sales and customer acquisition. But the problem is that people don't particularly enjoy being sold to. Ask yourself, what was the last time you took an ad seriously? We only care about ads as long as they are relevant to us, in other words, we only want to be sold the things that we want to buy. 

The message here is that marketing is quickly turning into a customer-centric practice. People don't want to be bombarded with ads and promotions; instead, they want brands to understand their problems and deliver solutions. 

Marketing is becoming less about trying to sell your products and more about listening, adapting, and delivering what your consumers want. 

marketing is about adapting quote

Omni-channel marketing is a step towards the same value shift; it puts customers before the business and service before the profits. 

All of this sounds great in theory, but I admit most of it may seem very vague. How exactly does omni-channel marketing work? How does it benefit your business? And how to implement it? Let's explore these questions further. 


 

Benefits of Omni-channel marketing

Before we learn how to implement an omni-channel strategy, let us first understand how it can benefit you.Three major benefits come to mind when one considers shifting to an omni-channel approach:

1. Better User Experience: 

An Omni channel approach yields a better user experience because it demands most of your business operations to be executed with a customer-first mentality. A feeling of seamlessness is created by ensuring that the user never feels lost or disconnected from the brand. One good way for companies to achieve this level of seamlessness is to meet the customer where they left them. 

For instance, if a customer interacts with a particular post or ad from your social media handles, they should be greeted with the same product or ad from their previous interaction within your app. Or, in case a support ticket is raised from a business' website, the customer support executive that reaches back to the user must already be aware of the issue before making the support call. 

These are small but specific examples of what internal consistency can look like with an omni-channel approach. Needless to say, such strategies go a long way toward improving your brand's customer experience. 

2. Higher Conversions: 

Around 90% of customers expect brands to have consistent branding across all channels, while 72% of consumers say they only engage with marketing tailored to their interests. Both of these aspects are really well-combined within omni-channel marketing.

Omni-channel marketing relies heavily on customer data for better personalization, resulting in better conversion. In fact, with omni-channel marketing, most of the conversion is done even before the consumer is presented with the particular product or offer simply because the offerings and recommendations are very much in line with customer needs. 

3. Improved Loyalty and Retention:

Here is where the improved experience and higher conversions come together. Under an omnichannel strategy, not only do you acquire more customers, but they are happier on average as well. 

An Omni channel approach helps with customer retention because it supports the user at every step of their customer journey. Bands can provide their customers with a smooth experience regardless of the nature and number of touch points they choose to interact with. 

A user, for instance, could place an order from a retail chain's mobile application and collect it from a physical store the next day. A good Omni channel strategy combines the two experiences such that the users don't even realize they've interacted on vastly different channels. 

Tips for Implementing an Omni-channel Strategy

When taking your business omni-channel, there isn't really a universal blueprint for success; simply because every business operates and interacts with its customers differently. However, these are some universal tips that can help digital marketing companies in Canada and worldwide build and streamline their omni-channel marketing strategy:

Have a central/connected team

To execute an omni-channel strategy, you'll need to ensure all your marketing channels are interconnected. The way to do that is to facilitate strong communication between different teams and, if possible, appoint an overarching marketing team that ensures everything runs well. 
 

Define a Clear Marketing Goal

Defining your marketing goals can help shape your omni-channel strategy. More often than not, you'll need to tailor your operations and marketing to meet your goals rather than jumping straight into promoting your products/services. Having a well-defined marketing goal helps with streamlining your campaigns and ensures all your efforts are aligned in the right direction.

Focus on Collecting and Utilizing Data

Data has a big role to play in omni-channel marketing. Much of the personalization that is characteristic of omni-channel marketing is possible only by leveraging customer data. The risk with traditional marketing tactics and strategies is that although they utilize customer data, the channels often turn into independent silos, and there isn't much information flow across and beyond them. Data is the centerpiece of all your marketing efforts, and an Omni channel approach is all about bringing together data from a variety of sources to inform important decisions.  

Customer Journey Maps

Customer journey apps are critical for every business, regardless if your approach is omni-channel or not. Understanding customer journeys is critical to uncovering how customers interact with your brand and what seems to be working out (or not) from your side. Designing your marketing around customer maps also helps build seamlessness across channels. 

Find Ways to Work on Customer Experience

Customers are at the heart of any Omni channel strategy, and providing a great customer experience is essential if you wish to have any success as a business. But ensuring a good customer experience goes way beyond just making sure your app works fine or having well-trained customer support staff. 

First, you'll need to ensure your CX is great both digitally and physically. And second, you'll have to ensure you meet customer needs and expectations effectively. A good Omni channel approach is all about being accessible and approachable, offering your customer the answers and solutions they need. 

tips for implementing omni-channel marketing


 

Examples of Omni-Channel Marketing

Amazon

Amazon omnichannel approach

Amazon is the most prominent and immediate example of omni-channel marketing. The business literally embodies the omni-channel approach. And it makes for a good example of the same because we are all very familiar with it. 

Think about the channels via which you interact with amazon. For the most part, we order via the app, and all of your orders and recommendations show up on the mobile and desktop website seamlessly. Amazon also makes great use of customer data, offering personalized recommendations both in-app and across multiple platforms and channels via ads. 

With all of that combined, amazon creates the perfect omni-channel experience, which certainly plays a big role in its massive success. 



 

Oasis Fashion

oasis omnichannel strategy

Oasis Fashion is a women's clothing brand that's been known for its omni-channel strategy for more than half a decade. The reason why Oasis comes up so often when discussing omni-channel is because of its seamless online-offline integration.  

How this works is that oasis users can browse through a wide catalog of products via their app, but they can also view if their nearest oasis location is stocked with their item of interest. Even if it isn't, you can always place an order and have it delivered to your nearest store. Of Course, home delivery is always an option, but in-store try-outs are important for clothing brands. Thus, the option to have your preferred products available at a brick-and-mortar store with the tap of a button is huge. 

Oasis also provides in-store assistants and virtual stylists to improve your digital and in-store shopping experience. To top it all up, Oasis turns customers into marketers. Customers are incentivized and rewarded to share their experiences online on platforms like Instagram. 

Oasis is winning at its marketing game because it has mastered the true potential of omni-channel marketing, i.e., improving customers' physical, in-store experience using digital tools and technology. 


 

Starbucks

starbucks loyalty omnichannel strategy

So far, I've spoken at length about the importance of customer experience and online-offline integration, but what combines the two things best? Loyalty programs! And Starbucks is an excellent example of just that.

A loyalty program, when done right, works wonders for customers, and Starbucks has one of the best loyalty programs out there. The program itself is simple; customers earn 'stars' based on how much they spend and can redeem the stars for real rewards. 

What makes Starbucks' approach truly omni-channel is that users earn and track their rewards via the app but ultimately cash out on physical locations. A program like this is impossible to run without a seamless, omni-channel approach. 

Starbucks succeeds because its customers genuinely enjoy and benefit from its loyalty program, once again affirming the idea that customer experience is central and critical. 

Around 40-45% of the platform's entire sale is made via its loyalty program, that's billions of dollars a year. Starbucks' wild success with its loyalty program has even led a few to believe that the coffee giant operates more like a bank and less like a food chain!  

Conclusion

As businesses and products evolve, marketeers is increasingly expected to take a customer-centric approach. With customer expectations on the rise, going omni-channel with your business and marketing is quickly becoming a necessity and digital marketing companies in India and around the world recognise this very well. 

An omni-channel marketing strategy harnesses multiple in-store and online channels to create a seamless and engaging experience; all focused on customer service. Adopting an Omni-channel approach comes with the added benefits of improved customer retention, higher conversion, and better user experience. 

In an increasingly digitized world, omni-channel marketing has proven itself to be one of the most reliable ways of not just building a customer base but a loyal following as well. How will you leverage omni-channel marketing to take your business to the next level?

Darren Mathew
Darren Mathew

Darren is a writer passionate about Technology, Business, and the evolving relationship between the two. He often tries to bring intriguing perspectives to otherwise familiar ideas, striving to help his audience reimagine the ever-changing tech landscape. He works as a blogger and content marketeer at GoodFirms—a leading review and rating platform built to help brands pick the right service providers for them.

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