Perhaps the only thing that changes more rapidly than technology in todays amped-up digital environment is the terminology used to describe that technology and its impact on consumers–and marketers. One recent example is the advent of the term “Omni-Channel” marketing, which many struggle to differentiate from another relatively recent term “Multichannel” marketing.
There is a key distinction between the two, and it’s one that will have an impact on us as marketers as we continue to seek ways of having a meaningful impact on the consumers we hope to engage. And, importantly, it’s less about technology than it may seem.
In multichannel marketing, a company uses multiple channels like a physical store, social media or email to interact with customers. This approach seeks to maximize the performance of each channel and engage customers across multiple touchpoints. Every channel may have its own strategy and be managed separately.
Omni-Channel revolves around developing a holistic view of the customer experience, regardless of the channel. Visually think of a spiderweb versus a swim lane. This approach is based on the belief that most customers navigate between many touchpoints to make a single purchase. Companies using this approach engage multiple channels to interact with their customers through consistent and seamlessly integrated campaigns.
Years ago, if a consumer wished to purchase a television, he would go to a local department store, view the various options, become informed by others of their opinions or hear of a local sale, maybe pick up a copy of Consumer Reports and buy a television. Then came the internet, and suddenly, a whole new world of possibilities emerged. Consumers were no longer reliant on local businesses to meet their needs. The internet allowed them to browse, research products and promotions and in some cases purchase online.
The evolution didn’t end there. Enter laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Consumers might choose to shop in-store or they might shop/research via a desktop, laptop or smartphone. They might learn of a store event or new product on the radio and then receive a follow up email or hear about it through a social media post then visit the website on their laptop to learn more, talk with some friends about their experiences or any number of possible combinations of these before they eventually purchase.
Omni-Channel recognizes the customer’s need to explore various different channels and places them in the center of the strategy. We recognize that each network of channels serve a different purpose for our customers depending on which point in the purchase cycle they are in. Thus making it crucial that we as an agency work together as a whole to provide a positive brand experience. By taking this approach, the J Miller Marketing team ensures consistency in strategy and messaging across all channels for our clients.
In essence, Omni-Channel marketing recognizes that customers engage with brands in many different ways for many different reasons across multiple platforms. We at J Miller Marketing grasp the inherent challenge this creates for all of our clients and are committed to provide cohesive plans that deliver results.