2015 / 18 November

Omni-Channel vs Multi-Channel Marketing: What’s The Difference?

Multichannel vs Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel verses Multichannel Marketing:  Customer Experience vs. Marketing Messages

With the rapid rise of paths and access points in the customer journey, the available ‘screens’ that customers can consume content on and the numerous channels businesses can engage on, marketing teams are faced with a vast array of choices when putting together their marketing strategies. It’s a daunting task to try and be in so many places at one time and not miss opportunities to engage.  It can take many man hours to do research, formulate a strategy, implement that strategy, measure the results of that strategy and do analysis on those results to report to the C-Suite.

What makes the task even more daunting is figuring out which approach is best for your company – multi-channel or omni-channel.  Wait, you mean there’s a difference?  You bet there is – and understanding it is important to your success.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multi-Channel MarketingThink of multi-channel marketing as engagement with your message on all the available marketing channels to your team.  It’s engagement on Social Media Networks, Search Engines (Natural Search and Paid Search), in mobile applications, on blogs, in forums, and so on.  Each type of channel needs its own approach, as you don’t speak to a person clicking on an ad on Google the same way you speak to them in a social media network.  Why? Because they are at different places in their customer journey, they have different frames of mind and if you want to engage them, you need to be speaking their language.

That’s why multi-channel engagement and marketing efforts are very taxing on your resources.  However, that being said, if it is done correctly, it can be very successful.  You can create brand ambassadors in different marketing channels, you can create wildly successful landing pages based on PPC engagement and engaging emails to specific segments can work wonders for your conversion rates.

Omni-Channel Marketing

Omni-Channel MarketingOmni-Channel marketing is much more about the customer experience across all channels, rather than looking at the messaging in each channel.  With all the data about how personalization affects the customer experience and contributes to raising conversion rates, it’s no wonder more and more companies are taking a hard look at this approach.

Omnichannel marketing is about keeping the personalize experience and engagement the customer is having with your brand, consistent across all the channels you are in, rather than tailoring the conversation to the channel’s style of engagement.

Is It About Your Message or About the Customer Experience?

So how do teams decide?  How do you know which road to take and what will be the road to take.  First and foremost you need to understand your company’s KPIs.

If you’re tasked with gaining new visitors, users, clients, or leads, Omni-Channel Marketing isn’t going to help you attain those goals as Omni-Channel is focusing primarily on that fact you know the visitor in some way.  A multi-channel marketing strategy would be a wiser approach in this case as you can focus your conversations on the channel and bringing the visitors to you successfully.

Most retailers and business to business (B2B) companies realize that its much easier and more efficient budget wise (i.e. less costly) to convert an existing customer than to try and convert a new customer.  This is where an omni-channel marketing strategy can pay dividends.  If you have been afforded the opportunity by the visitor to gain some knowledge about them, why not use it to improve your engagement with them across not just your website, but withing the other channels you engage with them in?  When the strategy becomes an omnichannel one, it is no longer about your marketing message and educating the customer on that message (remember they already know!).  It is now about their experience with you and how you demonstrate you understand their wants and needs and how you are providing not just a solution, but value to their lives.

Can You Do Both?

Of Course!  In fact if you have the resources allotted to your team, you should be experimenting with doing both types of strategies.  Companies always need new lines of business, thus planning a multi-channel marketing strategy is imperative.  Until recent years, omni-channel marketing has always been this “out of the reach” dream for marketers.  The rise of the newer personalization technologies and their affordability to implement them have come more into a realistic range for most businesses.  Now that it is more of a practical reality, marketing teams should be taking researching and planning to take advantage of these new marketing technologies, planning specific omni-channel marketing strategies for their current customers and audiences and start raising the bar on their KPIs when it comes to existing customers.

Is your team taking a dual approach?  I’d love to hear how!

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