When you have the chance to interact with customers across a variety of channels, knowing that each has their own unique value and effectiveness, opting for one or even just a few isn't going to deliver the ideal results.
A multichannel integrated marketing strategy is certainly a start, but no matter how many channels you manage at any given time, you're bound to face limitations if these channels don't communicate with one another. Consumers are fluid in their digital behaviors, and brands need a marketing strategy designed to keep up with these various behaviors.
An omnichannel approach can offer a more consistent user experience, whether you're interacting on desktop, mobile, connected TV or in-person.
What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is a type of multichannel strategy that goes one step further, uniting these different channels so they can all share pertinent data and information. Where a multichannel strategy maintains each marketing channel as its own independent entity, omnichannel strategies understand that each channel functions better when they collaborate with other existing channels. This collaboration takes on several forms, most notably the sharing of data across channels, which effectively breaks down silos in your marketing and improves overall performance.
While most brands have implemented a multichannel strategy, many have yet to embrace — or fully understand — the value of omnichannel marketing. Here's a quick look at the benefits and challenges of implementation.
Why Marketers Should Embrace This Approach
The sharing of data across channels is no small advantage. It gives marketers the ability to create a more consistent brand experience for individual customers, allowing consumers to move from one channel to the next without having to start that experience anew. This is like when you're shopping on your phone and move to your desktop to make the purchase: In a multichannel setup, you likely have to add those items to your cart all over again. With an omnichannel approach, all of your activity from the phone is translated over to your desktop experience, along with all previous search and browsing behavior.
Setting the Stage for Omnichannel Success
What is omnichannel marketing, and what do brands need to do to be successful? First, they need to create access to data across all channels. This means building an integrated marketing technology stack that can share data seamlessly across solutions.
But success in omnichannel marketing also requires a culture shift. It's recommended to set up cross-functional teams representing multiple departments to address organizational barriers in seamless data sharing and omnichannel marketing. Businesses may also need to invest in specialized IT management solutions to better support omnichannel success. And before any of this can happen, marketers must convince executive leaders of the value of omnichannel activities.
Due to the complexity of implementing an omnichannel strategy, it may not be a practical business solution for every company right now. But as technology evolves to make these capabilities more accessible, marketing leaders should keep an eye on this approach and examine when and how it might be able to improve their current and future efforts.