Omnichannel vs. multichannel marketing is getting a lot of attention in the B2B world, and the topic has made its way into the industrial and manufacturing sectors as well. It’s no surprise given the growth of digital marketing for manufacturers over the past few years and the momentum behind a focus on customers.
Multichannel marketing is when companies engage with customers via the same message but on multiple channels. They use direct channels to sell, such as stores and e-commerce sites, and traditional inbound tactics to indirectly get in front of them, such as websites, newsletters, and paid and social media. It may be the same message but on different platforms.
Omni roughly means “all,” “all encompassing,” or “complete.” Omnichannel marketing is much closer to the “complete” definition, as in from awareness to fulfillment. It does not literally mean marketing on all channels and platforms. An omnichannel strategy is based on insights about audience needs and their customer journey.
You are experiencing omnichannel marketing at work when you visit a company’s website, and it is clearly aware of your recent activity on its app. They are aware of your unique journey. You also experience omnichannel when you buy a product and instead of seeing more ads for the same product, the company starts pitching accessories or adjacent products.
How Omnichannel vs. Multichannel Marketing Actually Differs
Multichannel marketing has been around for many years. The vast majority of consumers become aware of a product through one channel before purchasing the product through another channel. For example, you see an ad on TV for a new car, but you buy it in a store (or perhaps now online).
But multichannel marketing is rarely integrated and often not a good customer experience. If you are researching a product on a company website, and switch to their app, you are probably starting over from an experience standpoint.
With omnichannel marketing, a company is tracking the customer’s buying journey consistently across devices and channels. You could begin a purchase on one device and channel (such as putting an item in a shopping cart on your phone after clicking on a search ad) and finish that purchase later, on a different device and channel (such as a desktop computer after directly navigating to the online store’s domain and finding your product via onsite search).
Omnichannel marketing requires being able to measure campaign efforts across multiple touchpoints so that the benefits of each touch point can work together as a prospect moves through the customer journey. But in order to provide a consistent user experience across their technology universe or behaviors, you will need to know your audience well enough so that you know where they are and how they consume information.
The Opportunity for Omnichannel Is Based on Customer Data
Omnichannel marketing is such a big opportunity for manufacturers because it is a consistent, customer-centric approach. This is made possible by the plethora of data, which also means that manufacturing marketers will need to increase their capabilities for automating data collection, data attribution, and the timely extraction of actionable insights for optimizing campaigns. When omnichannel tactics are well executed:
- Marketers are able to simplify the experience for the buyer
- Sales is able to leverage an in-depth view of the customer’s behaviors to understand their needs before making a sales call.
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for omnichannel marketing for manufacturers; there are too many nuances in the buying journey. But that’s also what makes omnichannel marketing so difficult.
Omnichannel Is Customer Focused While Driving Business Goals
Omnichannel can be a significant investment and seem daunting to implement for manufacturers because it requires the right tools to gather research into customer behaviors. It includes aspects of lead scoring, personalization and integrated marketing. While integrated marketing aligns communications across touch points in the buying journey, omnichannel goes a step farther to align the customer experience across those touch points.
But omnichannel is cost effective, because it drives business goals. The investment in omnichannel data collection can help you segment your audience based on behaviors and intent, which opens up new targeting possibilities. A company can track, and assist, each buyer at each touch point. With an omnichannel approach, manufacturing marketers can design more effective campaigns throughout the buying journey.
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