Omnichannel Marketing vs Multichannel Marketing

Omnichannel vs Multichannel Marketing

Both omnichannel and multichannel marketing are strategies within the Inbound Marketing approach and are often used interchangeably, although there are differences between the two strategies. Before diving into the strategies, the key differences, and the analysis, it’s important to ensure we have a robust understanding of what Inbound Marketing is.

An Introduction to Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is a strategy that builds a customer-centric model to boost transparency, trust and customer retention by using tools such as content, email marketing, social media management, and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). There are three main components to Inbound Marketing:

  1. Attract new customers by publishing relatable and engaging content such as digital ads, blogs, and social media graphics
  2. Engage with new leads and create a sense of brand loyalty using email marketing, lead management, conversational bots, to enable conversation between the user and the business
  3. Retain customers and create long-term relationships by consistently exceeding customer expectations

Some big features within Inbound Marketing include automation software for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and centralised marketing/ communications platforms, as well as content creation, and on-page and off-page SEO. These tools and strategies are used to create valuable content and experiences that are tailored to your target customers. Whilst outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don’t always want, inbound marketing aims to form connections with specific audiences and solve their problems. They should be more inclined then to come to your business.

What is Multichannel Marketing?

A multichannel marketing strategy stretches across numerous channels such as a website, social media, and mobile. Each channel is separate and independent and has its own set of goals. This is the best approach for businesses who want each channel to target a specific audience, with different messages and product offerings.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing takes multichannel marketing and builds on this to take it a step further and create a user experience that goes beyond the boundaries and limitations of multichannel marketing efforts. An omnichannel strategy aims to create a seamless experience and unified message across multiple channels. In principle, omnichannel marketing is user-based rather than channel-based and aims to make the shopper experience as easy as possible.

It sounds similar, but there are differences. The biggest being that with a multichannel strategy, the user must finish their journey on the same channel they started on. For example, if you start grocery shopping online and you look at Tesco, Asda, and Sainsbury’s websites, these sites will track your data and search history. This means if we started the process on our computer, we could stop and return to those websites later and continue from where we left off. Which is great. But the problem is that movement is only tracked on the specific website, channel and device we are using. So, if we tried to pick this up on our mobile, unless we were logged in somewhere, we couldn’t do that.

Omnichannel Marketing aims to remedy this by unifying the user experience across all platforms, generally improving the overall user experience. With 65% of consumers reporting that they start a task on one device and end it on another device, it’s obvious to see why most businesses are shifting towards this omnichannel approach.

Why is Omnichannel Marketing Preferred to Multichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is user-based and therefore aims to make the shopper experience as easy and tailored to the individual user as possible. It ensures a seamless experience and means that the same product you viewed on your laptop is the same product you see on Instagram, and the same product you receive emails about. The results is consistent, aligned, device-agnostic messaging that is completely customised based on browsing behaviour.

With over a third of online purchases spanning multiple devices, digital devices influencing the majority of in-store sales, and shoppers using more than one channel to shop delivering a higher lifetime value, it’s clear to see why businesses need to move towards an omnichannel approach. Amongst other things, having a seamless process means that businesses are more likely to see an increase in website traffic, engagement, and sales, and businesses that have a robust omnichannel marketing strategy retain 89% of their customers compared to 33% by businesses without a strong omnichannel marketing approach.

Furthermore, omnichannel users have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using one channel, 71% of users stated that using their smartphone while shopping is an essential part of their purchase, and 50% of consumers expect that they’ll be able to buy online and collect in store. Customer expectations have changed, and business and marketing strategies need to adapt to meet these new requirements. Now, matching shoppers across devices, unifying online and offline profiles, and connecting to the right media to deliver timely messages is key to business success, especially in ecommerce.

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