This article originally appeared in MediaPost.

What matters more to your B2C business — a new customer buying your product or the new marketing channel that brought in the new customer?

It may seem like a tough question at first glance, but it isn’t really. The marketing channel is only important because it brought in that new customer. Your customer always will be your number one concern, and you should focus on his or her needs first and foremost.

If your B2C marketing strategy today is completely focused on marketing across multiple channels, then you’re thinking about marketing all wrong. Instead, you need to shift your focus from “which channel should we optimize next?” to “how do our customers want to buy from us and how can we make this easiest for them?”

It may all sound a little warm and fuzzy for a business strategy, but it’s true — the people who buy from you matter; the marketing channels they find you through don’t. Your omnichannel approach to marketing should always be a direct response to what your buyers want, not the other way around.

Really learn about your customers

The key to success in B2C marketing is to understand your customers as individuals and try to work out what they really want from your brand. Since it’s impossible to call each and every one of your buyers and have an in-depth conversation about their wants and needs, you need a more scalable option. Instead, you can get to know them by collecting as much information on their preferences as they interact with your brand. This includes:

  • How they communicate with your brand
  • Their preferred channels and how they want to buy
  • When they last engaged with your brand
  • How often they visit your website
  • When they last interacted with your customer service department
  • …and much more

Just collecting all of this information isn’t enough, however, especially if it’s siloed across your ecommerce, email marketing, and marketing automation systems. You need to unify the data so you can build up a single view of your customer. This will enable you to better personalize every communication to engage your customers at the right moment in the right way — whether that’s on a mobile device, at a brick-and-mortar store, or on social. To be able to accurately do that, you need to be able to track your customers as they move across channels and devices. With identify resolution, you can piece together every interaction your buyers make on different channels and start to personalize your marketing, no matter the channel. This ensures a consistent shopping experience for every buyer as they move through the customer journey.

What about omnichannel?

We’ve talked a lot in the past about the importance of omnichannel marketing and why you need to adopt this powerful strategy to make your brand stand out. Just to be clear, we’re not suggesting that you abandon that approach. In fact, omnichannel is a perfect reflection of this concept of customer-first marketing.

You can’t only sell on Instagram because you’re a hip clothing brand that millennials really love, and you can’t only choose to focus your marketing on Facebook because you’ve got a million fans on that social media channel. You need to ensure that you are marketing across all the channels your customers spend time on and that your message is consistent across all these touchpoints. Omnichannel marketing helps you provide a seamless experience for your buyers, allowing them to jump from one channel to another without missing a beat.

The word “experience” is key here. You want to provide the best possible omnichannel customer experience no matter what channel your customers want to shop in. A big part of this experience is ensuring that the history of customers’ interactions with you across all the channels they choose to interact with you on. It’s not easy to do, however, you can’t risk not personalizing your marketing. In fact, 38 percent of shoppers said that they’re angry when not being treated like the loyal customers they are. This is exactly why you should focus on your customer experience, and not your channels.

Execute marketing campaigns with care

Now that you have a single view of your customers across all channels, you can really begin to understand your buyers better and execute your marketing campaigns using this data. You’ll quickly realize that to most buyers, the channel matters very little and the experience matters far more. What really matters is the message you put out into the world. You have to be thoughtful about who your target market is, what they respond to, and run detailed A/B testing on almost everything.

A consistent message is crucial, no matter where the customer is shopping. There is no surefire way of knowing which channel a customer will choose to interact with your brand on next — it’s all about whatever is convenient for them. If they find a different price or different offer for one channel and not the other then chances are you’ll have just lost a customer. Again, it all comes back to focusing on the person and seeing their experience with your brand from their perspective.

As customer service expert Shep Hyken so succinctly puts it when writing for Forbes, “They just want to buy the way they want to buy, have their questions answered, their problems solved and their comments acknowledged.”

This is true in the world of B2C marketing — your buyers want what they want when they want it. Whether that’s on a mobile app, in a physical store, on Google, or elsewhere, make sure your marketing serves their needs at every turn.

Eric Keating

Eric Keating is the Vice President of Marketing at Zaius. When Eric isn't thinking about marketing or sales strategy, he’s likely to be found with his wife and daughter, exploring the White Mountains with his dog, Barley, or brewing beer at home.