7 min read
Omnichannel vs. Multichannel: Understanding the Difference
Multichannel marketing is widely popular and has been the norm for many companies for a long time. After all, it’s a pretty efficient and effective way to tap into as wide of a market as possible. However, as time has gone by, it’s started to show its flaws.
Even if style inconsistencies and communication troubles plague the multichannel marketing approach, most people still find it to be the ideal approach. But what if we told you there was a different way?
Introducing omnichannel marketing: keeping all channels in one place while keeping the style and info in the marketing messages consistent. It’s a new approach to marketing that can potentially correct the issues that plague multichannel marketing.
To help you better understand the two, in this article, we will be comparing omnichannel vs. multichannel marketing to see which one is more effective for your company. Every company is different, so you need to keep that in mind before shifting to any of these approaches.
But after reading this article, you’ll have a clear idea of what these marketing styles are, their differences, and why you might want to consider shifting to omnichannel marketing.
Read on to learn more.
What Is Multichannel Marketing?
Multichannel marketing is a solution that allows your multi channel call center to contact people through different channels at once. These call centers communicate to customers not only through phone calls but through emails, text messages, and even social media. This has been seen as a great way to communicate to a wider market faster and has been a staple in most communication centers.
This phrase is very familiar to customer service reps as this is how they usually facilitate communication with clients. This approach allows you to meet customers on the platform they use, which is why many companies have stuck to this form of marketing for a long time.
What is Omnichannel Marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is commonly mistaken for multichannel marketing, but they are pretty different. While omnichannel marketing allows customers to communicate with you and vice versa through multiple channels, it is a much more organized approach to reaching customers through different platforms.
The biggest change that omnichannel marketing brings to your omnichannel contact center is allowing you and the customer to switch between communication channels seamlessly. While phone calls are a great way to get to the root of the problem, you may need to switch to text or social media chats to explain the different fixes clearly and concisely.
This is why omnichannel marketing exists, and it has the potential to take over modern marketing and communications. So, it might be about time for your company to make the switch.
What’s the Difference Between Omnichannel and Multichannel?
More than a few things set omnichannel apart from multichannel, and all of these differences are crucial in deciding which marketing style works for you. Here are the key differences between these two strategies and approaches:
The first thing to look at is where these strategies are focused. Right off the bat, omnichannel is customer-centric. When you use omnichannel marketing, your focus is on building a strong relationship with a customer that encourages them to stay loyal and gives them a better overall experience.
When you connect and unify all these different channels, you put the customer first, which is why many people are starting to switch over to omnichannel marketing.
With multichannel, your only priority is the different channels your business is present on. Reaching customers through as many channels as possible is your top goal, with increasing multichannel engagement being a very close second.
The next major difference is the way the messages on these marketing strategies are formulated. With multichannel marketing, you blast potential customers with marketing messages on different platforms, which end with a call to action. From there, companies hope that customers follow the call to action and make an inquiry.
With that said, omnichannel marketing works in a similar manner where the call to action is integral to its success. However, omnichannel takes it a step further by customizing the messages for customers based on the data they collected. This provides a tailored experience that can entice some customers to head to your website or follow your call to action.
One of the biggest differences between multichannel and omnichannel marketing in our experience is integration. The reason companies run into some trouble when doing multichannel marketing is that you can’t integrate these channels together, which can be confusing.
Not only can you integrate these channels with omnichannel marketing, but you can create seamless transitions. This gives customers a much better experience when communicating with the company, which can increase loyalty and your overall customer base.
Multichannel marketing messages can be very different and inconsistent. This isn’t that big of a problem at first glance since you communicate with customers on different platforms anyway. However, when practicing omnichannel marketing, consistency becomes much more important.
For a seamless transition between platforms, you need to remain consistent. For example, if a customer goes on your Facebook page and wishes to switch to your website to order a product or do a similar action, your website needs to have the same tone and feel like the Facebook page.
So, omnichannel marketing requires much more consistency on your end. However, this is still a great way to really communicate with customers and build a strong relationship in the process.
Quantity & Reach
Another main difference between these two approaches is their reach. Generally, the multichannel approach will have a much wider reach than the omnichannel. This is because multichannel is quantity-based, while omnichannel is focused on giving customers a customized experience.
With that said, an omnichannel approach can still reach a lot of people and even have more conversions and engagements than a multichannel approach. This is because tailored messages appeal more to customers.
According to Omnisend – omnichannel campaigns that involved SMS at some point in the process were 47.7% more likely to end in conversion.
Multichannel and Omnichannel Examples
An example of multichannel retail is a company putting its product up on different platforms. For example, a customer may visit your website where you can offer them a discount for signing up for your email letters. That way, aside from the website, you can communicate with them directly through email.
From there, the company can also list their product as the top result on Amazon and on social media sites like Facebook or Pinterest. That way, they communicate with customers as much as possible through different channels.
With omnichannel marketing, you take a similar but more personalized approach. For example, a customer could order from your site but cancel it before leaving the site. From here, you can take their email information along with the address they input for shipping to advertise a showroom in their area.
This gives them a tailored experience that increases the chances of them visiting the showroom and buying one of your products. It’s pretty complicated and technical, but it can work wonders.
Why Omnichannel Marketing is Better for Your Business
Since omnichannel marketing opens so many possibilities, it could be a great shift for your company. There are tons of ways omnichannel marketing can help your business, and we’re getting into a few of them in this section.
Omnichannel Puts Customers As the Priority
The main benefit of omnichannel marketing is that you prioritize customers. Customers enjoy being treated as a priority, and small details such as adding a personal touch to your messages can go a long way. This is virtually impossible with the number of messages you have to send with multichannel marketing, but by utilizing your customer’s data, you get to add just that personal touch.
Omnichannel Delivers Customized Messages
In line with prioritizing customers, omnichannel can produce customized messages. This works by collecting certain parts of the customer’s data and applying that to the message. For example, you can use the address they give you when filling in the shipping details and create a customized email advertising a sale in a nearby location. Or, you can take aspects of what the customer searches for and their preferences to tailor ads with products that they have a high chance of purchasing.
Omnichannel Is More Consistent
Another big advantage of omnichannel is consistency. With this type of marketing strategy, you can keep a consistent theme and tone throughout all platforms. That way, when customers switch between different platforms, it’s completely seamless.
Quality vs. Quantity
Multichannel marketing focuses on quantity. Omnichannel is quality-faced. So, you won’t be able to reach as many people when using an omnichannel approach. However, you will have a much higher chance of converting customers through ads and emails. For most businesses, this is more important than reaching a wide customer base, which is why you might want to consider utilizing this approach.
Brings Communication Channels Together
The biggest advantage of omnichannel marketing is that you allow customers to switch between communication channels. Usually, switching between communication channels is janky and tough. But when you use omnichannel marketing, it’s much easier to switch, giving customers a better overall experience.
How to Develop a Successful Omnichannel Marketing Strategy
So, you’ve finally decided to switch to an omnichannel approach – but how are you supposed to do that?
Well, it can be hard, and you need to do a lot of research on your customers as well as on your own brand. But when you break it down into these simple steps, you’ll find it much easier to make the switch:
Build a Mobile-Friendly Site
First, you need a mobile-friendly site. Remember, customers nowadays are on their phones more often than a computer. So, you want the website to be accessible on any device. That way, if they decide to switch channels from email or text to your website, they can do it on their phone, which increases the chances of them sustaining communication.
Understand Your Customers
Next, you need to have a good understanding of your customer base. Remember, you will have a lot of your customer data when using omnichannel marketing, but all this data is useless if you don’t know what to do with it. So, make sure you have to understand your customers so you can send them tailored ads and messages that have a higher chance of converting them.
Next, you need to match content with your customers. Ideally, you want content that matches the data you have about your customers. That way, you make the most of omnichannel marketing and can really drive sales through the roof. Finding the right content for the right people is sometimes all there is to converting customers, which is why you need to research.
Provide Cross-Channel Support
Omnichannel marketing is all about integration and allowing customers to jump between communication channels easily. To do this, you need to have proper cross-channel support. This way, your customers have multiple ways of reaching the support team if they run into issues. The better your customer service, the more satisfied customers, which is why you can’t breeze over customer support when shifting to omnichannel marketing.
Protect Customer Data
The last step to develop omnichannel marketing strategies is to protect your customer’s data. The data you get from customers is personal, so you don’t want it falling into the wrong hands. On top of that, mishandling customer data can lead to hefty lawsuits that can put your company in a very tight situation.
The Bottom Line
We found that while multichannel marketing still has its perks, omnichannel is the way to go in this day and age. With omnichannel marketing, you get to utilize the full potential of internet marketing and create customized content that will definitely get your customers interested in your brand.
If you’re looking at implementing omnichannel marketing in your business to make sure that your customer queries are taken care of in a timely manner – you should definitely consider making use of ULTATEL’s cloud-based contact center. It allows your customer service representatives to streamline their communication with customers regardless of the platform the customer chooses to use.
Greg is the product marketer for ULTATEL. He develops and markets products that help people do their best work, and enables the businesses they work for grow their revenue.