Omnichannel Marketing Vs Multichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing and Multichannel marketing are two strategies that companies use to achieve goals and communicate their brand with customers. Although they both involve using multiple channels to reach customers, there are some key differences worth noting. This blog helps to explain the difference between the two approaches and may help you decide on which marketing strategy is right for your company.
Omnichannel marketing involves data being obtained and used to communicate across various channels so the customer experience is unified whenever they interact with the brand. The integration between channels allows customers to continue their journey where they left off and make them feel as if the brand has remembered them due to the synchronisation across channels. The goal of having an omnichannel approach is to provide convenience for the customer so that every interaction that they have with the brand is a seamless experience.
With omnichannel, the message, tone and visuals are consistent across all communication efforts and there is an understanding of customer needs and desires. It is highly connected, fully integrated and ensures that each touchpoint delivers the point of need.
In order for an omnichannel approach to be successful and data to be synced across channels, investment in technology is required as well as involving multiple elements of company operations such as product design, IT, supply chain and more.
A good omnichannel strategy should capture consumer data at every point on their journey.
A multichannel strategy involves using multiple channels to put a brand in front of as many customers as possible. Integration between these channels is minimal and data synchronisation is non-existent. Multichannel maximises brand exposure and provides customers with more choice on where to purchase or make a call to action. Channels may be digital, physical, or a combination of both. If a multichannel strategy is poorly managed, customers may generate different opinions of the brand on different channels, for example if promotion and product availability are inconsistent. Using a multichannel approach allows brands to generate awareness, increase sales, but does little on personalised customer experience.
The channels involved in a multichannel marketing strategy are usually disconnected and pursuing a singular marketing objective such as using Facebook to generate brand awareness while promoting new products in a separate campaign on Tik Tok. The customers exposed to the brand may be seeing different messaging and methods of communication. With multichannel marketing, key messages are prioritised over a unified customer experience. Although this method seems less efficient than omnichannel marketing, it has its benefits; it is easier to implement than an omnichannel strategy, if one campaign goes badly, it will not impact other channels, it also requires minimal integration efforts. However, multichannel marketing does not allow for customers to receive consistent brand experience.
The multichannel strategy often acts as a foundation for companies to build an omnichannel strategy upon. An example of multichannel is a brand selling their product on their website, distributing to retailors, advertising on social media and listing the products on a catalogue.
Omnichannel Vs Multichannel
Both strategies are built on a foundation of well organised product data, the difference is that the Omnichannel approach uses more personalised marketing efforts and requires data synchronisation, this is more complex than a multichannel setup.
Multichannel Marketing is less difficult to execute as different channels are not required to be 100% connected, which is easier to achieve. Multichannel marketing can also be less expensive than an omnichannel approach depending on their budget and resources, whilst omnichannel requires significant investment in technology, software, and algorithms, thus making this strategy more expensive to carry out.
Multichannel marketing pushes key messages that a brand wants customers to hear with a focus on customer engagement, Omnichannel on the other hand ensures that customer needs are fulfilled at the point of need, focusing on customer experience.
Multichannel Marketing is a good approach when a company wants to be more flexible or are just starting to develop a marketing strategy. Omnichannel marketing is often the end point for brands as they usually work towards this strategy over time.
A Multichannel strategy can be carried out solely within the marketing department whereas an Omnichannel strategy requires multiple functions of an organisation to get involved such as marketing, product development, IT etc.
A multichannel marketing strategy tends to focus on a brand centric strategy and looks at call to actions via individual campaigns, Omnichannel employs a customer centric strategy instead and takes customer views, expectations, past and future interactions into account.
When should you choose Omnichannel?
Progressing into an omnichannel approach requires a strong multichannel backbone with streamlined and consistent multichannel operations. If the systems do not work independently, they cannot work together. Once individual channels are accurate, omnichannel marketing can then be pursued. For example, if a customer places an order and goes to the store to pick it up and is then told that the inventory online is inaccurate, the systems are not working independently so therefore, cannot work together in an omnichannel approach.
Omnichannel marketing also requires significant investment and maintenance. A company needs to have sufficient in-house resources to invest in the right tech solution. Although the investment is higher, the payoff is improved in terms of customer retention and brand loyalty as a result of increased customer engagement.
When should you choose Multichannel?
Some companies list products in more places to obtain successful results. Before deciding what channels to use, it is good to research whether products are deemed successful on certain channels, or if fees differ per channel. If a company is looking to reach more customers and seek brand awareness amongst a large volume of customers, a multichannel approach may be suitable in this case. Higher brand awareness leads to higher conversion, if the brand wants to increase sales, this is a good marketing strategy to choose.
Ultimately, a key difference between multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing is convenience, as customers grow increasingly savvy, they expect a higher level of service and ease of navigation when it comes to engaging with brands. This can be challenging to deliver but when executed well, this is what an omnichannel marketing strategy offers.
Whether a business chooses an omnichannel marketing approach or a multichannel marketing approach is up to their budget and business needs. If business needs involve brand promotion on a budget, multichannel is the ideal marketing strategy to use. If your business is looking to achieve customer satisfaction, customer retention and a unified customer experience, omnichannel marketing is the route to take.