Omnichannel marketing strategies have quickly become the norm, so brands are turning to innovative technology and data to provide consistent and convenient customer experiences.
Omnichannel marketing unifies a company’s many moving parts to bolt them together into a single, well-oiled machine with a dedicated purpose — and data and technology provide the tools to make it happen.
Audiences enjoy many options for how they interact with a brand. Online services once consisted of little more than email and websites but grew to include social media, digital video, mobile apps, e-commerce storefronts and more. These new channels matured alongside continued use of telephone ordering, direct mail, and brick-and-mortar locations.
As brands adapted to interacting with audiences on multiple online and offline channels as well as multiple electronic devices, many marketers developed specialized approaches to each channel. Some would even use unique branding for their online presence compared to their physical locations.
However, in recent years many have realized the benefit in adopting an omnichannel strategy, with studies showing a 74% increase in sales and a 64% increase in customer loyalty. Since the typical consumer uses an average of six different channels leading up to a purchase, brands that provide seamless user experience and a continued conversation across their marketing efforts find more success. By bringing consistency in brand messaging and voice across their marketing channels, brands mitigate the risk of confusing or irritating their audiences while also allowing marketing campaigns to build off one another, making them more effective overall.
Read on to learn how an omnichannel approach brings a multichannel buying experience together, what brands do for their omnichannel strategy to succeed, and how data and technology provide the critical infrastructure to make omnichannel happen.
Omnichannel Marketing Strategies Start With a Unified Voice
What used to be a one or two stop-shop is now a journey that can span days, locations, channels, and times. A recent study revealed that 20% of people shop only in-store and just 7% shop exclusively online. This makes a whopping 73% of consumers who shop both online and offline.
To accommodate these shoppers, brands need to make the experience on each channel positive and consistent. Key steps in creating a successful omnichannel marketing plan start with identifying and unifying the brand’s voice, message, and unique selling proposition. Marketing teams should also aim to collaborate and cross-pollinate their specialists in order to create a branded and consistent approach that shares this message across channels. And to be clear, omnichannel does not always mean all channels. Marketers should dictate and prioritize which channels are best suited to disseminate their message and use the others for support. Lastly, when these teams work together to reach common goals and shared KPIs, the output can be greater than the sum of its individual parts.
This process typically requires a deep education of the brand’s individual audiences and popular customer journeys so logical and convenient pathways for people can be created and optimized.
How Marketers Can Use an Omnichannel Strategy for a Consistent Brand Experience
To transition from multichannel to omnichannel, most brands first begin by finding ways to share data and features from channel to channel. For instance, a consumer identity management solution would be able to confirm the identity of a customer as they move across channels or switch devices. That way, actions taken in store, on mobile, and on a different device can all be reflected in a unified customer profile.
By sharing customer browsing data across devices, for instance, a brand can track the last items the customer looked at and recall these items immediately when the shopper jumps between devices. Facilitating cross-channel moves while retaining historical customer activities can also allow brands to tap into customers with a higher lifetime value. One study showed that omnichannel consumers spend 50-300% more than those who just use one channel to shop. “This is because they have the flexibility to start shopping on one device, move to another and have every option of delivery or pickup available to them,” explains Online Retail Today.
Proper data management and technology strategies – like leveraging marketing automation platforms, CRM databases, and DMP technologies – also help to facilitate the distribution of the same message, across channels in a unified manner.
Some brands have achieved ambitious, innovative ways to unify experiences on multiple channels. For instance, the MagicBand program from Walt Disney World connects online information to real-world experiences. Guests can choose a custom resort experience online, and the all-in-one digital wristband automatically allows admission to chosen hotel rooms and theme parks. Photos with characters captured by the resort’s Photo Pass program automatically upload to the guest’s digital account.
While not every brand needs to develop such a unique solution to providing an omnichannel experience, the act of providing convenient options and the presence of a system capable of capturing identity and remembering chosen options across channels helps to provide a seamless and successful customer journey.