Data, content, experience, and personalization are all central elements of digital marketing, and omnichannel marketing brings them all together.
Organizations that want to thrive in 2021 and beyond must embrace the omnichannel model; it’s the future, and it’s here to stay.
But what is it, exactly? Isn’t it the same as multichannel?
We will show you why “no” is the answer to this question. In fact, there is a crucial distinction.
Multichannel marketing refers to the distribution of a marketing message across multiple communication channels. At the same time, omnichannel combines all the different channels and brand touchpoints into a single, unified, and seamless experience for customers throughout their entire journey.
Omnichannel marketing is a complex, customer-focused approach that comes to thinking holistically about customer experience, interactions, and messaging. The focus is on improving the customer experience across all stages of engagement, as well as across all channels, screens, and devices.
It’s more than just being visible to your customers wherever they are.
It’s about meeting each customer in the right place, at the right time, with the right message, shortening the sales cycle, and establishing much stronger, long-term customer relationships.
If you do not want to get left behind, take the time to read this blog post and discover the possibilities of omnichannel marketing!
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Marketing
To understand better how omnichannel is different from multichannel marketing, we gathered the four most basic approaches:
Channel vs. Customer
The multichannel approach focuses on getting the message to the consumer ASAP. It seeks to use as many individual communication channels as possible on social media platforms and email marketing.
The omnichannel strategy is holistic, and the goal of linking channels is to connect with customers and reinforce the positive messages of the brand.
Omnichannel’s value proposition is increasingly better decision-making at each point of contact, resulting in better engagement and action.
Consistency or Individuality
While the multichannel strategy develops an individual message for each communication channel, so your message may not be consistent, the omnichannel approach strives for consistency. It distributes unified marketing messages through all communication channels. This strategy seeks to create and maintain a higher level of knowledge and relationships associated with the brand, i.e., a consistent brand image.
Optimization is the most critical condition of the omnichannel strategy. Omnichannel marketing is about efficient operation, optimizing the use of all communication channels so that customers get a personalized, consistent experience. Of course, it is essential to define precisely what and how we want to optimize and what we want to achieve with this process.
Omnichannel marketing means having a better overall behavioral understanding of your customers.
Omnichannel marketing is effective if we know where we need to help the customer so that they do not have to make an effort before choosing us.
The Success Story of Omnichannel Marketing
The pandemic has firmly established omnichannel interactions as the primary route for B2B sales. Even as in-person engagement resurfaced as a possibility, buyers made it clear that they prefer a cross-channel mix: in-person, remote, and digital self-service interactions in equal measure.
Data from some of the latest studies show that companies with well-defined omnichannel strategies are, on average, 91 percent more successful in acquiring and retaining customers than organizations without omnichannel programs.
The pandemic accelerated a decade’s worth of digital adoption in just a few months.
But let the numbers do the talking!
Two key findings emerged from a McKinsey survey of 3,600 B2B decision-makers.
First and foremost, the online transition was seamless, overwhelming, and successful. Within a month of the pandemic, more than 90% of B2B companies had switched to a virtual sales model.
During the crisis, omnichannel became critical, and it will continue to be so in the future. 8 in 10 B2B leaders believe that omnichannel is as effective if not more than traditional methods, a sentiment that has grown dramatically over the last year, rising from 54% at the start of the pandemic to 83 percent in February 2021.
Furthermore, 83 percent of B2B leaders believe that omnichannel selling is a more effective way to prospect and secure new business than traditional, “face-to-face only” sales approaches—a significant sign of confidence given the higher cost and difficulty of acquiring new customers.
Now that you are on board with the idea, let us share the essential steps for implementing omnichannel marketing!
Deepening the Relationship
By far, the most important question is: do you know your customers?
Uncertainty became the new certainty. Customers, however, are thinking, feeling, and making decisions in very different ways than they were a few years ago. And their decision-making processes have completely changed as a result of the pandemic.
Through the practice of better understanding customers, becoming more relevant to them, and being truly present for them, omnichannel marketing focuses on building deeper relationships.
We all know that relationships are essential for generating revenue, and the quality of its relationships determines the success or failure of a B2B company.
But how do customers’ decision-making processes look? What do they place the most value on? What motivates them? Where can you make an impression on them? How can an exceptional omnichannel experience help you stand out? These are the questions you must ask yourself.
Marketing is under increasing pressure to be more strategic and accountable and demonstrate tangible ROI. Decisions in omnichannel marketing are based on hard data rather than guesswork.
There is no room for risk. With marketing budgets shrinking, B2B companies have even less room for error. The central promise of omnichannel is well-informed decision-making, which is the first step toward risk reduction.
This means you must:
- Understand what the customer is looking for at every stage of the customer journey,
- Establish customer segments (e.g., stage in the customer lifecycle, industry, geography, interests)
- Recognize which platforms and channels your customers prefer to use for information gathering.
- Clarify your brand and make a plan for how you’ll keep your promise to customers in every interaction.
This improved comprehension and clarity are how omnichannel marketing fulfills its central promise of assisting businesses in making better marketing decisions. On the other hand, marketers will need accurate data and the power of technology to accomplish this.
Data and technology both help marketing teams gain knowledge and insight, which leads to better targeting and, as a result, increased reach.
Continuously improving the relevancy, consistency, and authenticity of communications and the overall effectiveness of marketing programs and campaigns necessitates deeper learning.
Simply put, omnichannel marketers are constantly working to improve their understanding of what works and find new ways to improve. As a result, they’re in a much better position to boost conversions at each stage of the customer journey and, as a result, the company’s overall lead-to-revenue conversion ratio.
What NOT to Do
The primary roadblocks to omnichannel implementation are the same barriers that prevent businesses from implementing any effective strategy.
The ability to collect, analyze, and share real-time data across departments, offices, and, in some cases, continents is critical in today’s integrated marketing approach. And to do so, you’ll need a company structure, culture, and technology toolkit that can support and facilitate this level of collaboration and transparency.
Nothing will prevent a company from reaping the benefits of omnichannel marketing more quickly than:
- Functional silos and the resulting lack of communication and collaboration between departments, particularly between marketing, sales, and information technology (IT).
- An unwillingness to invest in technology integration, as well as a lack of modern systems, processes, and technologies
- Limited knowledge and skill sets, especially in the area of digital marketing
- Change aversion or a lack of the agility needed to keep up with the pace of change
Given how damaging these roadblocks are to any marketing strategy, it’s well worth the effort – whatever it takes – to overcome them once and for all.
How to Use Omnichannel Marketing?
- Build the right team
You’ll need an integrated, agile, and cross-disciplinary team of people who can think outside the box and perform well across all skill sets and technologies, regardless of what they are today or tomorrow, to execute omnichannel marketing.
If your internal structure doesn’t allow for the sharing of data and insights, you won’t provide a unified customer experience. Break down silos and establish a culture and processes that promote internal collaboration and information flow.
- Capture customer intel
B2B marketers must improve their ability to capture data from every customer interaction, understand, and then apply what they’ve learned at each critical stage of the customer journey.
Buyer personas and customer journeys are two applications where customer intelligence – such as real-time data, customer research, and direct feedback – is invaluable.
- Create useful buyer personas: In omnichannel marketing, the customer is at the center. Beyond superficial demographics, knowing your primary decision-makers is critical. Use buyer persona templates to record key details about each type of customer and create detailed profiles.
- Customer Journeys on a Map: Create customer journey maps that show the needs, challenges, attitudes, interactions, and actions of your customers at each stage of their relationship with your company. Analyzing data and analytics at each touchpoint will assist you in tailoring communications (both online and offline) and moving customers along their decision-making path.
- Pay attention to individual preferences
Customers want to interact with businesses in various ways and always on their own terms. Some people prefer to speak with “real” people, while others prefer to gather information and even take preliminary steps before contacting your firm.
Customer data and analytics can reveal a lot about your audiences’ individual preferences, but sometimes the best way to find out is to ask them.
- Remember: Context is King
Omnichannel marketing prioritizes the delivery of contextually relevant messages and content. The context of each interaction informs the next, and each builds on a previous conversation.
Understanding customers’ context enables marketers to provide a personalized experience and communications that are custom-made to the needs of individual customers at different stages of their relationship with your company.
This not only increases relevance and engagement but also saves you from making embarrassing mistakes, such as sending communications designed for the “barely aware” segment to your company’s lifelong customers.
The omnichannel proposition is fueled by reliable data insight gained and applied in real-time. To do so, you’ll need the right technical expertise and tools that evolve with your goals and your customers’ needs.
Omnichannel necessitates data mining, analysis, and sharing tools. It is far from accurate to say that any company can implement an omnichannel marketing strategy regardless of its existing infrastructure and technology.
It does not, however, necessitate completely new or expensive technology. What is required is well within reach of firms of any size – and much of it is likely already in your digital toolbox.
While many specific actions will be required for your own unique needs and goals, creating an actionable timeline, potential budget, and employee roles when determining how to best implement these steps into your brand’s needs will help get you started. As a result, your company will be better positioned to improve its omnichannel experience and stay on track with both short and long-term strategies.
Across all major touchpoints, the goal is to delight customers in new and meaningful ways. The four priorities for achieving that goal are strengthening e-commerce capabilities, harmonizing physical and digital capabilities, retraining your salesforce, and putting the customer at the center of your omnichannel strategy.
Omnichannel isn’t going anywhere. B2B sales organizations that embrace this shift and enable integrated interactions throughout the buying journey can potentially transform the last year’s learning curve into a new growth path.
Are you ready to do that?
If you have questions on how to implement omnichannel marketing or would like to talk about the process, contact us!