Omnichannel vs Multichannel Marketing: 3 Key Differences
The term “Omnichannell Marketing” seems more prevalent than ever in today’s digital Marketplace. Omni-channel marketing has become key to marketing success as customers engage with companies in many different ways. Such ways could be an App, Online shop, Physical store, catalogs, Social Media and many more.
But what is omnichannel marketing? Some say its just “Cross-Channel Marketing done .. well” others that its “revolutionary and engages the customer more that ever”. So let’s have a brief look at what it is and what are its main differences to Multichannel marketing are.
Let’s take it from the beginning. Multichannel marketing is the discipline that effectively suggests that the more channels of engaging and selling there are out there are the better. Multichannel experiences are what the majority of companies’ employ nowadays in their marketing strategies. A channel might be a print ad, a retail location, a website, a blog, a promotional event, a product’s package, or word-of-mouth or other traditional channels for marketing and sales. These are all used to communicate, educate and market their products and services to their current clients and potential new ones.
This is where the problem however sometimes lies and where our comparison begin. Many argue that multichannel campaigns are somewhat inconsistent and lack the unity a brand should demonstrate.
Here is where omnichannel marketing comes in. Omnichannel recognizes that today’s consumers have a much wider selection of channels to interact with businesses and brands, often simultaneously nd hence works upon that.
Omni comes from the word Omnis which can mean boundless or universal (see here). This is in comparison to other categories out there, like “multichannel”, from the Latin word Multus, meaning many or multiple and from cross-channel, derived from the Latin word Crux, meaning to go across.
Omnichannel refers to the multi-channel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated shopping experience. The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, via phone, or in a brick-and-mortar store, and the experience will be seamless.
Upon first view, it often seems that the ultimate goal for both of these approaches is to interact with consumers through a variety of different channels. However, the true meanings of both the terms and subsequent marketing strategies follow two very distinct and different paths.
3 Key Differences
There are a number of differences between the 2 strategies but I have chosen to focus on the 3, I personally believe, are more impactful via Omnichannel marketing.
- Consistency vs Engagement
As we noted earlier, Omnichannel marketing focuses more on the customers’ experience and hence it is crucial to present a unified, consistent message throughout all channels. Making sure ones customer receives the same “experience” across all channels has been difficult to achieve for years now with Brands creating unique strategies per channel. Omnichanneling now provides this opportunity to do this hence providing the customers with a more personalised experience ensuring a heightened sense of familiarity and relationship with the brand.
- Channels vs Customers
Multichannel focuses more on the diverse -sometimes large- number of channels available to advocate their brand. It is based on the idea that the more opportunities out there to engage, the better. Omnichannel focuses more on merging and interconnecting all these channels with one another with an aim of engaging with customers at a holistic level. This increases the possibility of them having a positive experience with the brand across every channel. The focus is on strengthening relationships between consumers and the brand.
- Ease of Use vs Complexity
There is a notion in today’s marketplace that the more channels available to the consumer, the higher the likelihood the consumer will make use of them. This is not necessarily accurate and sometimes ends in a irrational waste of monetary resources simply to fill a channel that potentially may never be exploited. This is more of a multichannel approach and in turn adds more complexity whilst sometimes still not exploiting all opportunities to their maximum capacity and engaging in others it perhaps should not. Omnichannel marketing involves a much more extensive use of analytics and data in order to better comprehend where effort exists in the customer experience in the first place and how to simplify and eliminate that effort all together for Ease Of Use.
Conclusively, MultiChannel and OmniChannel marketing are two very different marketing strategies. Despite the fact they may both focus on making use of a multiplicity of channels to reach consumers and potential consumer, omnichannel has a more clear focus on the customer and his needs and hence assists in customer retention and consequently a increase in revenue. In today’s ever evolving market, companies need to start considering omnichannel as a key route to understanding and satisfying their customers.