Are you a struggling marketer seeking methods to broaden the marketing campaign’s reach? You’ll likely have considered one of two approaches.
On the one hand, you’ve likely thought of creating content for several social media platforms. In addition, you might also fine-tune the content to fit the demographic specific to each platform.
Otherwise, you might have also toyed with the prospects of making your content consistent across platforms. You might also envision an approach where the customer sees the same image of your brand regardless of the platform. Also, why not throw in customer service to address pain points as they arise?
Does the approach you’re planning resemble either one of these ideas? If so, you’re thinking of multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing, respectively.
Both have their place in your marketing campaign. The one you choose can affect your decision-making as regards target audience selection and content creation.
However, what is omnichannel marketing? What is multichannel marketing? Which one is superior?
You’ll find the answers to these queries and more.
What To Expect
In this article, you’ll learn about multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing. Building on the definitions of these two strategies, a discussion of their distinctions will follow.
The nuances of these strategies will come up as the unique aims of both approaches are discussed. You’ll also read about examples of both campaign approaches in practice.
By the end of this post, you might be able to weigh in on the approach that’s best tailored to your needs and circumstances.
Does this interest you? Read on.
What Is Multichannel Marketing?
As the term implies, multichannel marketing is any sales or advertising activity on a variety of channels. This sounds straightforward enough until you ask: “What is a channel?”
For this reason, we shall clarify what a channel means in marketing terms. A channel is any platform or medium where messages and various media formats are accessible to a multitude of users.
To get at what a channel is, let’s take a situation where you are marketing lorry repair services. You’ve learned with market research that most of your target audience uses Facebook.
When you publish your latest infographic on lorry repair services on Facebook, then Facebook is the channel. It’s the channel where the users can access your message within a certain media format.
As well, your strategy was based on knowing your audience and which channel they use frequently. It’s crucial to take note of this as this is what separates multichannel strategies from omnichannel ones. We’ll get to this later.
For now, the point is that any attempt you make to reach out to as many people as possible across multiple platforms is multichannel marketing. More importantly, the strategy which you use will be dependent on the channel.
What Is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is akin to multichannel marketing in one way — it involves reaching out to an audience over a variety of platforms and channels. Omnichannel marketing takes things a step further by using various channels or platforms to create a consistent user and customer experience.
It would be best to illustrate this with an example. For instance, imagine yourself advertising microwavable steak-and-ale pies on seven different channels.
A multichannel approach would simply involve creating different ads tailored to the audiences of different channels. The promo code and discount for users of one platform may be different from those of others.
Adopt an omnichannel approach, and your strategy becomes one where each channel serves a role in the customer journey. An ad on one site might lead to a cart with a discount code. On your physical brick-and-mortar location, you’ll also be accepting the same discount code if used.
Do you see the difference? With an omnichannel marketing strategy, you’ll be creating a customer experience that is consistent and integrated across the board.
The Key Differences
The use of more than one channel for marketing operations is what ties multichannel and omnichannel strategies together. Beyond this, the two strategies differ greatly.
The two strategies differ in the following ways:
One way to differentiate multichannel and omnichannel marketing is in terms of what a marketer aims to achieve with either. In marketing, you’ll either want to beef up customer outreach and engagement, or you’ll strive to provide a better customer experience.
The sole goal of multichannel marketing is to increase customer engagement. This involves a fish-in-a-barrel approach, advertising to as many people as possible across many channels.
The broader the audience, the better chances a brand has in gaining popularity. With popularity comes more opportunities for a brand to get people to click on a CTA — whatever it may be.
An omnichannel approach also aims at customer engagement. However, it takes whatever engagement it can muster and streamline a customer’s buying experience. This approach necessitates integrating different channels.
With the integration of different channels, the customer is more than a passive consumer of content. The customer goes on a journey from brand awareness to purchase.
The Focus of Each Strategy
The focus of a marketing strategy can be the channel and its audience or the customer’s experience.
Multichannel marketing focuses on promoting a brand through a multitude of channels. A multichannel marketing approach leverages the number of channels in an attempt to grab the attention of more audiences.
Maximizing customer engagement is at the heart of the multichannel strategy. With the channel being the intermediary between the brand and customer, fine-tuning ads and other content to a channel become paramount.
In the case of omnichannel marketing, there’s a larger emphasis on customer experience. The approach requires marketers to both leverage data and see what role certain channels play in the buying experience. By using the data, marketers can approach marketing in a way that brings together channels to streamline a customer’s journey with the brand.
Multichannel and omnichannel marketing both use a range of channels to promote brands and drive conversions. A key difference is how both approaches use channels.
The main factor for the effectiveness of multichannel marketing is its reach. The variety of channels enables the broadest possible reach to a range of potential buyer personas. Hence, to a marketer using a multichannel approach, ad content can be on many channels.
It’s crucial to note that there may be no emphasis on integrating these channels. After all, channel and service integration can be challenging not just to marketers but to businesses.
Challenging as it may be, channel integration is in the proverbial DNA of omnichannel marketing. With greater importance placed on customer experience, channels can be brought together. With channels playing a role in the customer experience, there’s consistency in service and brand image.
Examples of Multichannel Marketing Campaigns
Multichannel marketing campaigns abound with the rise of apps and eCommerce. Many campaigns under this strategy have also taken advantage of social media. Multichannel marketing campaigns aren’t wanting in terms of using traditional customer touchpoints like print and PPCs (pay-per-click ads).
These examples of multichannel campaigns ]show how you may want to execute yours should you choose this approach.
Under Armour promotes its products through a variety of channels. The brand’s products are on social media, eCommerce platforms, and, of course, its website. It has broadened its reach further with the release of two apps not showing its products.
One app is MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal is a diet tracking app that allows its users to track their calories against their daily activities. For what it does, the app has created brand awareness in a demographic interested in health through nutrition — not necessarily in the apparel the brand sells.
Another Under Armour app that has engendered similar effects is MapMyRun. The app enables users to track their running mileage via GPS. The app also comes equipped with GPS and cross-device integration. Even if you don’t fancy the newest Project Rock releases, the app keeps you engaged with the brand as you run.
Used correctly, a brick-and-mortar location is one more channel with which a brand can create more customer engagement. Few other brands exemplify this better than Apple.
Every Apple store looks similar to the last one you might have been to. As a result, when you enter a minimalist shop filled with standing desk showcases, you think Apple. More importantly, the brand stays in your mind whether you’re going to buy an iPhone or not.
This UK-based fashion retailer took customer engagement up a notch with its “Wish You Were At Topshop” campaign. The campaign offered shoppers free makeup and fashion sessions in-store, regardless of whether or not they purchased anything.
Following these sessions, shoppers can pose at a photo booth where they can create a custom-filtered postcard captioned: “Wish You Were At Topshop.”
The shoppers can take home a copy of the postcard. Topshop also encouraged shoppers to upload a copy of the photos on social media via the store’s online gallery. In a way, Topshop created brand ambassadors with this campaign.
Examples of Omnichannel Marketing Campaigns
As mentioned earlier, consistency and customer experience are the guiding principles of an omnichannel marketing campaign. If you’re looking for real-world examples of how such a strategy works, here are three:
Starbucks’ loyalty campaign is arguably the epitome of consistent and customer-centric marketing. Starbucks bolstered its delivery of seamless customer experience with its mobile rewards app.
The app allows customers to collect points every time they top up their cards. These reward points are redeemable and are accepted at any Starbucks location.
The mobile rewards application enabled Starbucks to synergize online and physical store customer experiences.
Data is one of the most useful assets for any omnichannel marketer. Nike uses it to create personalized suggestions for buyers across multiple channels and touchpoints.
Whether it’s social media or a site, Nike has products specific to a customer’s past purchases online and search history. Nike also blends in-store and online customer experiences with its app and site. The site is specific to the locality of the customer so that there’s consistency in the availability of products — in-store or online.
Walgreens created easier prescription-filling services with its mobile app. Users of the Walgreens mobile app can pre-order their medications using the app and pick them up at a Walgreens pharmacy.
The app also removes the pain point of product unavailability. The online catalogue of medications also includes information on branches where they are available. As a result, app users can use the app, refill prescriptions, and visit Walgreens pharmacies that have the medications.
Which One Is the Best? Which One Should You Choose?
There’s always a place for multichannel and omnichannel marketing strategies. When deciding which one to choose, it depends on your business objectives.
A multichannel approach works if your business or brand is in its infancy. During this stage, the first order of business is to get the word out. In other words, before hoping to deliver seamless customer experiences, you need to create an audience first.
For this purpose, maximizing the channels at your disposal is key. By doing this, you broaden your reach and give audiences a choice of how to engage with your brand.
On the other hand, if the focus of your business is helping your customers down your sales funnel, an omnichannel approach may be superior. This strategy allows you to create an easy experience for your customers as you integrate your online marketing assets like apps with your in-store operations.
A multichannel approach enables your brand to reach as many people as possible through a variety of channels. By executing your marketing campaign through a variety of channels, you maximize the chances of having more potential customers.
If you want to create better customer experiences after developing an audience, an omnichannel approach is the next step. Using this strategy, you can integrate your existing channels to create more than a sales funnel but a customer journey — one that the customer takes with your brand.
Both have a place in your marketing. Whichever one you choose, you’ll need a way to optimize your content creation.
At DALIM Software, we believe that marketing is as good as the content that fuels it. We specialize in optimizing content creation workflows and managing your digital marketing assets.
Book a free demo today and see how we can give your marketing campaign the definitive edge.