Omnichannel Marketing: Its Meaning and What It Means For Business
Marketing is changing. The lines between physical experiences and digital ones are blurring. As more channels and methods open up, your customers and clients have more ways to interact with you. Omnichannel marketing means making the experience across channels as cohesive and as seamless as possible – both physical and digital.
With personalised marketing key to cutting through the noise, omnichannel marketing is an approach that takes all of your channels (online and offline) into account.
One of the first movements online, to recognise the need for a unified experience, was the birth of responsive websites. Now, it’s pretty obvious that websites and emails should be built for any size screen (without having multiple websites or versions). But a few years ago, you would have expected a very simple, awkward, mobile.website.com version that made you prefer to wait until you got back on the computer at home. Now, Google even demands that websites are responsive.
Omnichannel is a bit more complicated. You’ll probably juggle a website, social media marketing, an office or retail premises, an app and even third-party platforms like review sites or booking tools.
But it means businesses have more opportunities than ever to serve their customers well and stand out amongst competitors.
And technology is making it easier than ever for businesses to do it, too.
Omnichannel Marketing is Customer-Led
Customers demand a seamless experience. Omnichannel marketing takes the initiative and understands that customers might start interacting with you on one channel/device and then move to another one.
For example, how many times have you checked into a hotel? Let’s say you use their website to book and got a confirmation email, then checked in at the desk.
That’s multichannel. Physical location. Website. Email. Facebook. Et cetera.
But imagine the hotel pinged you another email once you were checked in, automatically, to let you know about local events, restaurant offers, a map with the closest corner shop, and other helpful details.
Maybe they’d have an app that pings the breakfast menu or lets you order before you even get downstairs.
That’s omnichannel. It’s integrating the channels into one experience. Sure, you could ask the receptionist for those things, but as a customer, you want to be taken care of.
All it needs is for customer service and marketing to ‘speak’ to each other in the ‘backend’, automatically, without taking up much time or resources.
And as a business owner, you should anticipate your customers’ needs. It’s a win/win. The hotel guest is happy, and reception spends less time providing that information.
That takes an omnichannel approach.
Omnichannel’s Meaning in Practice
How can you use your different channels to provide a cohesive, effective experience for your clients or customers?
A consultant could use a Facebook bot to take bookings for a call. A restaurant could let their customers pay with an app. A shop could, when you’re buying your items in person, also take your ‘for delivery’ order straight at the till if there was anything out of stock.
Whatever your industry or business, there are ways you can create a smoother, more seamless experience. Omnichannel means bringing together your internal ‘channels’ too – like sales, marketing, after-sales care, and operations.
My top choice would be for customer service reps on the phone to be able to deal with more than one issue. There are few things more painful than being put on hold to ‘transfer’ when you’ve already waited for 45 minutes.
Keep It Simple, Silly! For your customers, at least.