What is Omni-Channel Marketing and How to Best Utilize it for your Brand
Omni-channel marketing focuses on a single, integrated experience for your brand. Instead of targeting customers through websites, apps, brick and mortar, videos, newsletters, and social media individually, you create a single experience with many points of access.
What is omnichannel marketing, in a nutshell? An approach to marketing that seeks full integration with your brand and all of your marketing channels, such that consumers have a unified experience of your brand and product.
The Difference Between Omni-Channel and Multi-Channel
What is Omni-channel marketing? How is it different than multi-channel marketing? Multi-channel marketing seeks to individually optimize a lot of different marketing angles. Omni-channel marketing seeks to bring all of the angles together to create a unified brand.
Omni-channel marketing traditionally requires more resources and is more difficult to achieve. When you let different people in your company run different accounts, quality control can be difficult to maintain. The huge plus over multi-channel marketing is the unification that this brings to your brand and brand story.
Why Should I Use Omni-Channel Marketing?
Build a Better Brand
Any of the big name brands that you love are utilizing omni-channel marketing to control their image. Apple, Google, and Amazon all create omni-channel marketing through tight controls on their images. Your product, sales, marketing, and customer support all need to be unified. Your mobile shopping experience needs to feel like your brick and mortar shopping experience, and vice versa.
We’ve known for years that storytelling is integral to brand sales--tell a great story with your brand, and people will get on board. By telling the right stories with your brand, you’ll hit all the marks in consumer psychology that move people from engagement to purchases.
Seamless Marketing for Authenticity
If marketing campaigns feel disjointed, your entire brand will feel a bit disjointed. If you run videos on YouTube that have a lighthearted element to them and use a slight variation on your logo but run more serious marketing campaigns through PPC, what is the consumer supposed to think about your brand? It will feel fragmented and inauthentic. Authenticity is related to unity, but it is slightly different. Authenticity means that consumers get the idea that your brand’s expression in all its forms is genuine, and you can’t build authenticity without a seamless marketing experience. People love to be woo’d, but hate to be gimmicked and tricked into buying. Woo through an authentic experience.
Why Is Omni-Channel Marketing the Future in Ecommerce?
As technology advances, the mediums that we were once comfortable with begin to break down. In earlier marketing days, you had a storefront and ads in the newspaper. Now you have Snapchat, Instagram, Amazon, Facebook, blogs, newsletters, YouTube, Twitch, google optimization, virtual reality, mobile devices, apps….
You get the idea. The mediums have changed. And they’ll continue to change. By implementing an adaptable, and unified marketing department and strategy, you’ll be positioned to take advantage of the new medium as they pop up, instead of rerouting an entire department or marketing operation to a new project.
How to Perfect Omni-Channel Marketing
Perfect Multi-Channel Marketing
Don’t try to move to omni-channel marketing if you still haven’t optimized your multi-channel marketing. Sure, it’s great to have a unified brand, but it’s also great to have great videos and clever tweets that engage an audience. There are worse things than fragmentation, one of those things being bad marketing.
Moving from Multi-Channel to Omni-Channel Marketing
If you’ve got a multi-channel marketing effort in place, you’ve got all the colors without a painting. You’ve got all the pieces but haven’t built the car yet. You’ll need your Pinterest and Blog to tell the same story (and anyway, what is Pinterest’s place in marketing?). Use Instagram to integrate into people’s lifestyles, and take notes from the brands that are killing it. Go beyond individual social media trends to figure out how to make everything a representation of your brand. Pick good graphics, color schemes, and vocabularies, and stick with them. When you evolve your brand’s use of one social media source, make sure to do the same with your other social media sources.
Building a Brand
To do omni-channel marketing well, you need to figure out how to build a brand. Without a coherent brand in the first case, you won’t be able to unify your experience across platforms. This doesn’t mean that you have to figure out everything about your brand before you even start posting, but it does mean that you need to keep a master document about your brand and continually update that document in order to stay on top of things.
It is important to identify who your brand is, but also to identify who your brand is not. Great omni-channel marketing campaigns can quickly revert back to multi-channel campaigns if your brand gets swept up in a trend that doesn’t align with its values. New sources of marketing can easily draw you into the colors, practices, and values of “the other guys” and make you lose your identity.
Approach Like a Consumer
If you spend a hundred hours a week staring at your brand and materials, it can be difficult to remember what it means to approach your brand like a consumer. Use structural models if you have to in order to really maintain a consistent experience in all areas of brand engagement.
Stay Above Trend and On Brand
There are about 70 million apps downloaded per day across Google and Apple stores. It can be exhausting, tossing creativity and resources at every single marketing trend that pops up. If you’ve got a multi-channel marketing effort, you may feel like you need to constantly pivot to avoid getting left behind or left out. With an omni-channel approach, you can take the best of trends without changing your identity every time a new app comes out.
Have a great brand, lead with your brand, and the trends will follow you. Omni-channel marketing changes the questions that multi-channel seeks to ask. Instead of asking how we can get on board with this new platform, omni-channel marketing asks how to bring the new platform on board with us. By doing this, you’ll engage teens’ social media experiences without pandering in a way that feels disingenuous.
Everything from Twitter to Facebook. It can be tempting to find super successful accounts on these platforms and simply post content that matches their style. What you really should do instead is figure out how your brand should authentically express yourself over those mediums. Your Twitter page and website might not look the same, but they should both be authentic expressions of your brand.
Websites, Apps, and Brick and Mortar
When you’re on social media, you’re on someone else’s turf. But when people use your app, visit your website on desktop or mobile, or walk into a brick and mortar store, they’re on your turf.
Curating those spaces, digital and physical, in which customers play around in will be critical to your long term success as an omni-channel brand. You want a trip to your website to feel like a trip to your store. Getting great website design can really optimize those digital spaces for your omni-channel strategy.
Moving to an omni-channel approach starts with changing how you view marketing in the first place. What is omni-channel marketing, for your business? Lead with your brand and get the trends to follow.