Marketing is an industry full to the brim with buzzwords. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete newbie, you’ve probably secretly Googled a few jargon-filled expressions so you can appear smart in meetings.
If you hear the words “omnichannel marketing strategy” and get the same urge to Google, you’re not alone. Omnichannel is simultaneously one of the most buzzed-about concepts in marketing, and one of the least understood.
While many marketers know that omnichannel communication is important and want to do it, a shocking 86% of ecommerce marketers have still not executed a full omnichannel marketing strategy for their brand.
But don’t panic! It’s not too late to start. We’re going to explain exactly what an effective omnichannel marketing strategy looks like AND how you can start to create a coherent strategy for your own B2C brand to drive a powerful customer experience.
What is omnichannel marketing?
First, let’s put omnichannel in context. How many devices do you have connected to the internet at any one time? On average, people have at least three. You might be reading this on your laptop, with your cellphone placed right alongside it, your iPad sitting on the coffee table, and your smart TV just out of reach in the corner. With this proliferation of devices, shoppers have more ways than ever to shop and interact with your brand.
Omnichannel marketing done well means delivering a consistent, seamless customer experience no matter the device or channel. If your customer wants to research products in store, price match on their phone, and buy on their iPad, then you enable them to carry out that process without asking them to log in many times or identify themselves every time they switch channels. Every step in the process needs to be easy and convenient.
Most importantly, your omnichannel marketing strategy must be consistent. Nothing will drive a customer mad quite like getting one price online and a different one in-store. You have to make sure your brand values and the overall buying experience are reflected in a consistent way in every communication with your customers across each and every channel.
Why does omnichannel marketing matter?
If you’re not sold on putting the effort into creating an omnichannel marketing strategy and you’re skeptical about it overall, here’s some food for thought:
- A study from IDC showed that consumers who shop on multiple channels have a 30% higher lifetime value
- And 73% of shoppers use multiple channels during their shopping journey.
Clearly, fighting the omnichannel approach is a losing battle. It’s where your buyers are, and how your customers are most likely to interact with your brand. So it’s time to get on the bandwagon!
How do I create an omnichannel marketing strategy?
Now, you understand what an omnichannel marketing strategy is, the next step is to create one. Below are the steps to follow to get started.
1. Consolidate your data
If your data is siloed and spread across a myriad of systems (marketing automation system, ecommerce platform, social media, etc.) it’s tough to do any omnichannel marketing. You need to pull together all consumer interactions into one place so you can get a single view of your customer. This will allow you to understand how buyers engage with your brand, what drives them to a purchase, what’s stopping them from shopping from you, and what you can do better. You can also start to understand what kind of content they want to consume at which particular point in the buyer’s journey, and on which channels and devices.
2. Segment your customers
Not all your customers are the same. If that sounds really obvious to you, then why are you treating them all in the same way? Why do you send out the same emails with the same subject lines on the same day at the same time to all of your customers? Why do you offer up the same ads with the same copy to all your prospective buyers?
Now that you’ve brought all your data together to better understand your customers, you can start to notice patterns and commonalities that they have as they move through the customer journey. Instead of sending out the same coupons via email to all of your customers, you can send product-specific offers to the buyers who have clicked on those product pages. You can also dynamically segment your buyers, so as they take action on your site today, you can automatically send out the right message at the right time. For example, if a buyer leaves a product in a cart, you can automatically push out a cart abandonment campaign to convert that lost buyer.
3. Be in the right place at the right time
Once you’ve got a handle on your customer behavior and their likes and dislikes, you need to be able to serve up the right type of content at exactly the right time on the right channel. This is where the “omni” in omnichannel comes in. By taking those detailed customer segments, you can actually create touchpoints across multiple channels that will better serve your buyers. For example, you can create a seamless omnichannel experience as buyers move from an Instagram ad to your website to Google and back.
You can also begin to gather data on the preferred channels your buyers use to engage with your B2C brand. If a customer shops with you, but never opens your emails, then you know it’s time to switch it up and send them a targeted ad or a push notification instead. It’s all about tailoring the experience to your customer preferences, personalizing it and giving them what they want on the channel they want it. This is the true potential of omnichannel marketing.
4. Measure everything
As you start to serve your buyers different marketing campaigns across channels, you can’t forget about your marketing basics. Your buyers are unique and may interact with your brand in a completely different way than the person next to them. That’s why you need to A/B test every aspect of your omnichannel marketing strategy to understand what’s working and what’s not for each segment of your buyers. Certain messages may work amazingly on email, but absolutely fail in a push notification. You need to be able to test it all and measure the results over time.
A marketer is only as good as their last campaign, and things are constantly changing. If you don’t know how that last campaign went, you’ll have no idea if your overall strategy is working or not. By constantly tweaking your campaigns across channels, you’ll be able to really optimize your omnichannel marketing and drive real results.
Who is doing omnichannel right already?
It may seem like a lot of work, but when you’ve executed a full omnichannel marketing strategy, you can do some seriously amazing and creative marketing. One example of a brand that has omnichannel down to a science is Starbucks.
Their customers can choose which channel they want to use to check their balance and reload their loyalty card, whether it be online, on the mobile app, in the physical store or on their mobile device. You can also reload your card in real time, even when standing in line to get your cup of coffee, as well as receive rewards and pay through a physical card or the app. You can even order your coffee in advance, and pick it up easily to skip the line. This type of true omnichannel campaign has driven real results for Starbucks, and your brand could try something similar for your own customers.
Digital marketing moves fast, and there’s no time like the present to make your marketing better. Creating an omnichannel strategy isn’t easy, but if you start now, you can get a jump on that 86% of ecommerce marketers who aren’t taking advantage just yet. It’s not too late to give your B2C brand a huge competitive advantage.