From multi-channel to omnichannel marketing
During the last year a visitor may have heard the term omnichannel marketing in the aisles of marketing events. Professionals talk about seamless customer experiences in different channels and a new way of thinking about marketing.
But what does omnichannel mean? What is meant by seamless? Multiple channels have been an everyday thing in marketing for a long time: with newsletters, social media channels, press releases and media, search engine advertising, blogs, websites and other online and offline experiences. So why not multi-channel? What has changed or has anything?
The difference between multi-channel and omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel marketing differs from traditional multi-channel thinking in that all channels communicate more efficiently together. Omnichannel marketing maps out all the touchpoints where the customer interacts with the company and ultimately unifies the messaging and user experience between them.
The flow of information between different channels is key when trying to accomplish seamless outward communication. The sales, marketing and customer support teams need to be aware of the customer's history at all times.
This way communication can be personalized and the data acquired through analytics can be taken forward to different channels. Efficient monitoring of communications produces high-quality data of what the customer is interested in and what paths the customer is using to become a buyer.
From ideas to action
Omnichannel marketing, at its simplest form, can be summarized with three key factors: touchpoints, the buyer's journey and synchronization between channels.
A good starting point for the omnichannel approach is mapping out the different touchpoints of your company. Depending on the company they usually are the following:
- Websites (computer, mobile, tablet)
- Media (press releases or CEO's interview, for example)
- Social media discussions
- Customer service and technical support (phone, email, chat and offline support)
- Inbound and outbound phone calls
- Trade fairs and seminars
- Liaisons and account managers
The buyer's journey
After mapping out the touchpoints, the buyer's journey is recognized and modeled. In other words, after which points does the customer eventually end up as a buyer and by using which means. For instance, social media is often just for grabbing the customer's attention. The important thing is that this attention can be refined into a website visitor or a newsletter subscriber. The marketing team has to constantly monitor the different stages of the buyer's journey and determine a proper role for each channel in use.
For example, a guide that has been ordered through a social media campaign can be a trigger for starting an automated drip campaign. After this the subscriber gets the desired content in a newsletter along with other topical content later on. Eventually, via the letter, the customer ends up on a webpage with additional information, as well as an easy way to buy or request for a contact.
For a company that has both a brick and mortar store and a webstore, it is essential to combine online and offline experiences. Always try to make use of the data that has been gathered from the purchase situation. This way offers, campaign codes and new products can be marketed on a personal level in the future.
When every touchpoint and channel is monitored actively, the buyer's journey leaves a data trail that the marketing team can use to further develop communications. The data from analytics is also moved forward to the sales team or a CRM system. In the best case scenario, before making any calls or sending any emails, the sales team has an enormous amount of data about the customer's needs and thus the interaction between the customer and the company is more efficient. To achieve a seamless customer experience, it pays off to take into consideration these basic facts:
- Make sure that customer service is consistent and high-quality on the phone, online and in chat
- Check that your website works on all devices and produces a good online experience. Also the majority of newsletters are opened on a mobile platform so make sure that your marketing tools are up-to-date.
- Make sure that the customer who has made an in-store purchase also finds the online store and vice versa. Bring the in-store product availability to the webstore and keep it reliable and current.
- Make sure that the sales and marketing teams communicate efficiently and speak the same language.
- Remember to add a link on every channel, at least to the next step – meaning the newsletter can be subscribed on social media, for example or provide website access from the newsletter etc.
Make sure that the sales team reads the marketing content you produce and is also aware of campaigns and possible changes in pricing.
Customer experience is pretty much the lifeline a webstore. A good example of a seamless marketing is clothes webstore Disturb. The company creates automated messages and functions to different contact points that simultaneously improve the service that is offered to customers. For example, the available sizes of a product are on the product page. If a size isn't available, the size watch service that sends a notification when the desired size is available can be taken advantage of. This way the store gains another contact point. Also an abandoned shopping cart reminder is sent as an automated message. Disturb offers the possibility to pick up purchased products straight from the company's warehouse. The webstore can be browsed on a computer at the warehouse to make additional purchases.
Image: Disturb sends its customers automated shopping cart reminders.
Technology and omnichannel marketing
In comprehensive communication that is based on user data, the key factor ultimately is modern and easily integrated software that effortlessly communicates with other software. The contents should be offered in different channels with a coherent technical outlook both on a computer screen and on mobile. It is also essential that all the info from customer contacts moves effortlessly between all the important systems.
Image: The buyer's journey. Liana Technologies' services provide a solution for almost every digital channel.
The prerequisite for developing efficient monitoring and agile communications is that marketing technology is in the hands of the content creators instead of the IT department. Thus the role of a technical partner is even more important. Luckily you don't have to do everything by yourself. In the labyrinth of technology, content, and hype, the best results can be achieved with flexible cooperation when the user is trained and given support after signing the contract as well. With the right partner you can easily move from pipe dreams into tangible marketing actions.
If you want to hear more about Liana Technologies' services and how to create even more high-quality customer experiences with technology, don't hesitate to contact us.