This article was originally published here by Languagewire in a series of four articles regarding omnichannel marketing.

Read on below to learn more about how omnichannel marketing works and what’s to gain by applying it to your marketing strategy.

WHAT IS “OMNICHANNEL MARKETING”?

Let’s start by understanding what the concept of omnichannel marketing means and where it comes from.

There is no formal definition of what omnichannel marketing is, but “omni” is a Latin prefix meaning everything or everywhere. We are familiar with this from the religious concept of an omnipresent God, who hears, sees and understands everything.

Naturally, it takes a powerful strategy and a lot of ressources to live up to that.

When a company puts omnichannel marketing on its business agenda, it is a worthy ambition in itself, as it means that you are conducting your marketing initiatives in such a way that each customer has one coherent and meaningful experience, regardless of when and with what mix of channels (online and offline, locally and globally), he/she chooses to interact with the company

omnichannel marketing

WHAT DOES IT REQUIRE?

For it to be at all feasible to conduct omnichannel marketing, there are a few key factors you must master:

  • You must be able to identify and recognise the customer.
  • You must be able to collect data for every customer interaction with the company.
  • You must use the collected data in future communication and service to the customer,

all regardless of the channel (again: Online and offline, locally and globally).

This means having a handle on your data, but also having (easy) access to a broad and deep range of content – in order to be able to deal with and meet the needs of every conceivable customer situation.

Thus: The customer is 100% in the centre and has a comprehensive, flexible and meaningful experience when interacting with your company – regardless of the combination of channels.

This is precisely the core of omnichannel marketing.

On the customer side, this is what we all dream of. We need never again give the same answer twice, and regardless of the channel, we receive only relevant and valuable advice and recommendations.

Internationally, companies such as Boots, Pier1.com and Macy’s offer unique examples of targeted omnichannel strategies.

In Macy’s annual report, the company even defines itself as an “omnichannel-focused retail organisation with shops and websites” as opposed to “a department store that also offers e-commerce”

WHAT ADVANTAGES CAN YOU GAIN?

There is no need to act naïve, when you consider why it makes sense to work with omnichannel marketing, for it obviously stems from the perspective of financial profitability.

Helping customers through the whole buying process in the best possible way, regardless of the channel, has a positive effect on the bottom line.

 

“When we create a better customer experience, it naturally leads to greater buying incentive and loyalty.”

Rasmus Houlind, founder of the Omnichannel Institute

 

A COMPETITIVE PARAMETER

For a retail company, omnichannel marketing is also a means to compete with international giants like Zalando and Amazon. By using local and physical stores in combination with a digital presence, and collecting and using data to make switching between channels as flexible as possible for customers, retailers can in fact avoid being yet another showcase for products that can be purchased on Amazon.

THE OPTIMAL MOMENT AND THE THREE RIGHTS…

Through collecting and analysing data (from multiple channels), you will find the optimal moment for presenting the right message to the right customer on the right channel,

thus letting customers know in a more optimal way when and how they can best make use of (or fail to make use of) your “offer”. The cleverest in the field can even predict which customers will respond positively to every offer and use this knowledge to reach just the right customers and leave the uninterested customers in peace.

Again: The customer, the customer’s needs and the customer’s experience are central.

omnichannel guide

WHY THERE IS SO MUCH BUZZ ABOUT OMNICHANNEL MARKETING

If you are good at linking the right customer situation to the right message for a large share of your customer base, each and every customer will feel seen and recognised. They will reward you for it by being a little faster to get out the credit card and will buy a little more from you than in the past, a little more often. If you manage to do this in a tactful and tasteful way, you can create such good customer experiences that they will also recommend you to their friends. For example, surveys show that it is five times more costly to cultivate a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer.

That is why there is so much buzz about omnichannel marketing.