Learn about omnichannel marketing and how to develop a strategy
In today’s fast-paced and interconnected digital world, consumers are receiving advertising messages constantly and from all directions. Segmented or inefficient marketing efforts can result in a confusing customer experience and an inconsistent brand voice.
Omnichannel marketing helps you meet your customers wherever they are and deliver a consistent message and experience across platforms. Marketers and business owners need to understand omnichannel marketing and its benefits to decide which approach will work best for them.
In this guide, you’ll learn about omnichannel marketing, the differences between multichannel and omnichannel, and how to get started creating an omnichannel marketing strategy.
This post will cover:
- What omnichannel marketing is
- Multichannel vs. omnichannel
- Omnichannel marketing benefits
- How to develop an omnichannel marketing strategy
- Omnichannel marketing examples
What is omnichannel marketing?
Omnichannel marketing drives engagement and creates consistency for customers by providing an integrated experience with seamless, targeted messaging across multiple channels. Focusing on the lifecycle of the customer, omnichannel marketing spans websites, social media, email, and apps, as well as offline channels like physical retail stores and company events.
Customers today have choices about how they interact with a company, and they often engage in multiple ways before making a purchase. Omnichannel marketing ensures customers have an uninterrupted experience at every point along their journey as they flow between channels and devices.
This marketing strategy requires brands to understand how their customers interact with them across a range of touchpoints in the customer journey. It connects customer data and centralizes insights to personalize the message appropriately and deliver the right content that optimizes the experience.
Omnichannel impacts revenue, but it also improves customer loyalty and retention. When customers have smooth, positive experiences that are consistent throughout their buyer journey, they are happy to come back and interact with a brand again.
Multichannel vs. omnichannel
Omnichannel is similar to multichannel marketing but is a more holistic approach, which looks at all the potential touchpoints customers can use to communicate with brands, both online and offline. Multichannel marketing is more focused on individual channels and how they may intersect, but it doesn’t look at the full picture.
Although omnichannel and multichannel marketing have some similarities, there are a few key differences.
- Focuses on the customer and their experience
- Accounts for the fact that the customer journey spans multiple channels and platforms
- Creates a consistent brand voice and message
- Focuses on the product or service
- Prioritizes how transactions happen on a specific channel
- Sends messages through different channels, but they may not form a consistent experience
Omnichannel marketing benefits
There are many benefits to brands using an omnichannel marketing strategy, including:
- Better user experiences. Customers can begin and end their journey wherever is convenient for them with simplicity and ease.
- Cohesive brand voice. Consistent messaging across platforms and channels creates a better impression of your brand and helps you deliver more useful information.
- Increased revenue and higher conversion rates. In 2022, omnichannel marketing campaigns saw a 494% higher order rate than single-channel campaigns.
- Valuable customer data. Information provided by and collected about customers can help inform your marketing strategy and create personalized experiences.
- Less customer fatigue. With data and insights about how customers are behaving on each channel, you can limit customer fatigue from sending too many messages.
- Customer loyalty. Being able to interact with your brand whenever and wherever they want — and enjoying the experience — makes it more likely that customers will return.
As you can see, the benefits of omnichannel marketing range from improved customer experiences and retention to better insight into the customer lifecycle and increased revenue.
Developing an omnichannel marketing strategy
Now that you know the differences between omnichannel and multichannel and the benefits of omnichannel marketing, you can start to develop your own strategy.
- Collect data. You first want to gather as much data as possible about your customers and how they’re currently engaging with your brand. One challenge for marketers is using disparate data solutions that make it hard to understand who the customer is and how they’re behaving, but collecting lots of data will help produce insights.
- Map the customer journey. Creating detailed customer journey maps helps you understand the experience and deliver targeted campaigns. Customer journey management is critical — brands need to provide personalized interactions throughout the customer lifecycle and across different phases.
- Segment users and personalize experiences. Once you understand your customers and have mapped their journey, you can begin segmenting users to help you create customized experiences. Clustering information into segments and delivering content that’s relevant for each specific segment is a great way to personalize experiences.
- Identify current channels. Figure out which channels your business is currently using so you can start to think about how to integrate everything. Consider which channels are most effective for your brand and market. Email tends to be the main one that brands start with when launching a campaign.
- Create consistent messaging. One of the big benefits of omnichannel marketing is giving customers a consistent impression of your brand, so it’s key to make sure your messaging and tone are the same across channels. Marketing teams that speak to each other often and aren’t siloed help keep the brand and messaging consistent.
- Consider message frequency. In an email campaign, you don’t send a customer three emails in one day. The same principle applies to an omnichannel campaign — you need to keep track of how many messages you send across all channels. Avoid overloading the customer, either on one channel or on all channels combined.
- Establish metrics for success. You need to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of an omnichannel strategy. Customer conversion is usually the main key performance indicator (KPI), and companies need to look at the ROI of an omnichannel marketing campaign to see how well it achieved the goals established at the start.
- Use the right software. You need the right tools to be as efficient as possible. With Adobe Campaign, you can use rich customer data to create, coordinate, and deliver dynamic campaigns that customers actually want — through email, mobile, offline channels, and more. And you can see the whole customer journey on a single screen.
- Analyze data and adjust. Your campaign isn’t finished once it’s in motion. You need to collect and analyze data and make adjustments to underperforming channels. A/B testing is a great way to find the most efficient journeys and messaging. Analytics tools show you how customers behave and interact with your brand on different channels.
- Think long term. There’s a lot of pressure on marketers to provide omnichannel experiences, but they need to do more than just focus on short-term results. Continue to think about how the internal business needs to evolve and how the customer is evolving to provide the best service and experience.
Examples of omnichannel marketing in action
You’ve learned how to develop an omnichannel marketing strategy, including some tips, tricks, and best practices. Now let’s see what success looks like in the real world.
Here are five examples of omnichannel marketing strategies from major brands, with the channels they used and how they were integrated.
The international coffee giant continues to improve its customer experience with new omnichannel strategies. Starbucks has intuitively integrated its brick-and-mortar stores, its website, and its popular mobile app to allow customers to make purchases online or with the app and pick up their order in a store.
The company requires a personal email address login to use its free Wi-Fi, which has allowed it to gather data from millions of customers who Starbucks can target with email marketing, discounts, and other messaging. And its rewards program, which offers customers free drinks on their birthday and other promotions, further encourages customer interaction and retention.
As a pharmacy chain that sells healthcare products in addition to household goods and food, Walgreens strives to show customers it cares about them. The company has integrated its customer loyalty program with its website and mobile app, allowing users to see when prescriptions are being filled and to receive texts or push notifications when orders are ready.
Walgreens also offers drive-thru and curbside pickups, enabling customers to place and retrieve orders at their convenience. The rewards program allows customers to earn points on prescriptions and other purchases to keep people healthy and shopping at Walgreens.
The cosmetic retailer has been a leader in omnichannel marketing for years, with a customer-centric strategy aimed at increasing consumer confidence in its beauty products. Sephora has been lauded for capitalizing on innovations in augmented reality and other technology that lets customers view themselves virtually wearing different types of makeup, colors, and shades, including for different skin tones — allowing them to have a deeper try-before-you-buy experience.
Sephora also has completely integrated online marketing with its mobile app, giving users access to tutorial videos, beauty and fashion news, new product launches, and customer rewards on their smartphones.
The general merchandise retailer has invested heavily into overhauling its in-store experience to augment and integrate with its digital presence. Target’s store-centric strategy centers on the positive experience of product discovery and in-person service, which are complemented by the ease, convenience, and personalization delivered through digital channels.
Target offers various fulfillment options, including free shipping and two-day deliveries, in addition to in-store and curbside pickup, where an employee will physically help load the customer’s order. The company’s Circle membership is a free loyalty program that gives customers rewards for most purchases.
REI has been an ecommerce pioneer for decades, having launched its first website in 1996. The outdoor recreation retailer has not only integrated its website and mobile apps, but it has also created a unique co-op program that offers product rentals and exclusive discounts for a $20–$30 lifetime membership.
REI’s omnichannel marketing approach — which emphasizes email marketing and storytelling through original content — has concentrated on cultivating brand loyalty among a core group of customers who are avid outdoor enthusiasts and want to have the best gear.
Creating your own omnichannel marketing strategy
Omnichannel marketing allows you to integrate your marketing efforts across channels and platforms so you can create consistent and personalized experiences for your customers.
When you’re ready to get started, begin identifying all of the channels on which your business currently operates. This will help you start to figure out the best ways to begin integrating channels and platforms.
Adobe Campaign allows you to deliver engaging campaigns through a variety of channels, including email, mobile, and even offline. It also helps you use data to segment your customers so you can create engaging, personalized experiences. With Campaign, you can control both online and offline customer journeys, delivering tailored experiences to every single customer.