Omnichannel Strategies Reflect Consumer Trends
Aug 05 2021
The COVD-19 pandemic forced a sea of change in the way companies market themselves and their products. With the accelerated rise in ecommerce and remote shopping, digital marketing quickly became the new normal as brands of all sizes needed to start embracing digital strategies. In fact, according to a recent survey, in the past year 56% of businesses have changed their marketing models to capitalize on digital opportunities.
While this doesn’t mean brands are completely abandoning traditional offline channels, it’s become increasingly important for them to be present across the digital platforms their customers frequent the most. Today, 51% of companies use at least eight channels to interact with customers.
The bottom line: to be truly competitive in today’s digital-driven marketplace, brands need to effectively use multiple channels to attract, engage, and communicate with customers. In fact, marketers using three or more channels in any one campaign earned a 287% higher purchase rate than those using a single-channel campaign.
Digital Marketing Approaches Reflect Consumer Trends
According to Forbes, over 98% of customers switch between multiple devices and platforms in a single day. This means brands need to interact with customers on any channel at any stage of the customer journey. To best meet these new trends in customer behavior, three marketing approaches have emerged: multi-channel, cross-channel, and omnichannel.
Multi-Channel: Multiple, but disconnected. Multi-channel marketing is when customers use different channels (e.g., physical store, mobile device, live chat, email, or social networks) to interact with a brand. However, these channels are disconnected from each other, so customers cannot switch from one channel to another throughout their buying journey. This means channels are in competition with each other, and customers must choose which channel they want to work with.
Cross-Channel: Multiple and connected. Cross-channel marketing is when all channels are connected together and complementary. Unlike multi-channel marketing, the various channels record and communicate information amongst themselves. This gives customers the ability to shift seamlessly between different channels, offering a smooth user experience during every part of the customer journey.
Omnichannel: Multiple and interactive. Omnichannel marketing allows customers to use different interconnected and interactive channels at the same time. These channels work seamlessly together, exchanging customer information to create a full-bodied, comprehensive user experience across all channels. In this way, omni-channel marketing removes all barriers between a customer’s online and offline journey.
All three can give deeper insight into what customers are looking for and how to best reach them. But when it comes to getting maximum bang for your marketing buck, omnichannel’s ability to provide a seamless shopping experience across all platforms really delivers. Companies with strong omnichannel strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers and see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue.
Omnichannel Marketing Delivers A Cohesive Customer Experience
The ultimate goal of effective omnichannel marketing is to have all channels work together to build a logical and seamless progression that moves customers through the sales funnel towards engagement. When done correctly, customers get a consistent experience and it ensures your message is the same across all platforms. Utilizing multiple platforms also improves brand recall and image, enhances customer engagement and loyalty, and boosts ROI.
When thinking about adding channels to your media mix, it’s important to understand how various digital platforms complement each other to give a more cohesive and holistic approach. But what channels work best together in an omnichannel environment and how should marketers choose between them for maximum effect?
Choose Platforms Wisely
Effective omnichannel marketing is much more than just mixing and matching platforms. You need to be selective, as certain channels work better together than others. Having a solid knowledge of the platforms your audience interacts with the most will help you decide which ones should be incorporated into your strategies.
The three digital platforms that produce powerful results when paired with multiple channels are:
Connected TV (CTV)
Search engine marketing (SEM)
Let’s take a closer look at why they’re so effective.
Connected TV (CTV)
CTV is TV programming that is streamed through any device connected to the internet. This includes smart TVs, gaming consoles, and video content streamed on mobile devices or desktop computers. CTV is a powerful marketing tool because of its ability to precisely target high-value audiences and place advertising and messaging right in front of them. People will often see a CTV advertisement for a certain product and then search for it on a computer or mobile device.
Since viewers cannot click on CTV ads, upper-funnel advertising platforms like ads on social media sites, website display banners, email and paid search campaigns, and native ads (also called sponsored content) should be included in a CTV marketing strategy. Lower-funnel tactics such as remarketing ads, email nurture campaigns, and paid search campaigns will also lead to more conversions and a higher ROI.
Perhaps the hottest trend in digital marketing today, programmatic ad buying is the use of software to buy digital advertising rather than buying directly from publishers. It uses customer data gleaned from SEO and online behavior to identify and target potential customers on the sites they frequent the most at the times they are most likely to engage. When paired with search engine marketing, it can be extremely powerful.
Programmatic advertising pairs effectively with a wide range of digital platforms, including display, mobile, video, and social media. Because it can be a more cost effective way to buy ads, it also adds greatly to ad spend optimization and ROI. Programmatic advertising has become so popular that it’s projected that by the end of 2021, 88% of all digital marketing in the U.S. will be done through programmatic advertising.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Who hasn’t searched for a company on Google and afterward started seeing digital ads for that company appear seemingly everywhere, from email and social media to website pages and YouTube? This dynamic retargeting of ads based on search history is a direct result of that brand’s successful search engine marketing (SEM) efforts.
With SEM, brands pay for ads to appear as search results on search engine results pages (SERPs). Select keywords are targeted so that when a user searches for those words, they see a brand’s ad in other channels. SEM often incorporates search engine optimization (SEO) to achieve a higher SERP ranking in order to enhance pay-per-click (PPC) listings. Brands are only charged when a user clicks on an ad.
Thanks to its ability to strategically retarget ads across multiple channels, SEM is one of the best ways a brand can increase its online presence, audience engagement, and ROI, leading to higher sales and conversions.
Build A Solid Online Presence
While the actual processes of these three platforms can be complex, the bottom line is that they offer incredible reach thanks to their ability to play well with other digital platforms, especially when part of an omnichannel marketing plan. Mixing these methods with other proven marketing platforms is the best way to build a competitive online presence and stake a solid claim in the digital marketplace. After all, you need to have more than one hook in the water if you want to catch a lot of fish.