Multichannel Vs. Omnichannel Marketing: Differences, Benefits, and Examples

What’s the best way to boost brand reach?

Easy – give your customers plenty of ways to engage with you. 

Look at Nike. They’re active on Instagram and Twitter. They also send regular emails to their fans with special deals and previews of new products. Plus, they have a YouTube channel and team up regularly with influencers. Their app is another way they showcase their products and content.

Each of these platforms helps Nike reach their target audience, but in different ways.

This is known as multichannel marketing.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not that straightforward. 

It can be tricky to get the channels all working together with consistent messages and branding.

Sometimes your Facebook messaging may feel out of sync with your email campaigns. Perhaps your ads don’t gel with your landing pages. 

Getting all your channels in sync isn’t a simple task. You need a strategy.

This is where omnichannel marketing comes in. 

Omnichannel marketing is a more unified approach. That’s not to say you have to be present on all channels at once (that’s impossible, even if you’re Elon Musk!).

Instead, omnichannel marketing is about making sure that all channels offer a joined-up and engaging user experience. Now we know what omnichannel is, let’s take a closer look at how to build it into your marketing efforts. 

But before we explore omnichannel vs multichannel marketing, we need to fully understand multichannel marketing…

What is Multichannel Marketing?

Imagine you’re on a long roadtrip. 

You drive past a billboard promoting a juicy burger from a well-known fast-food chain. You stop the car, pull out your phone, and visit their website to find the nearest branch. Pretty soon, you’re sitting in the restaurant enjoying a tasty burger.

Later that day, skimming a magazine, you see an ad for the same burger. Switch on the TV, and again – another ad for the same burger chain.

This is multichannel marketing at play.

Multichannel marketing is all about casting a wide net. It’s a strategy that uses multiple, separate channels to get the word out about a brand. The key word here is separate

The billboard, website, magazine ad, and TV ad may be connected, but they also stand alone in the user experience. In other words, while multichannel marketing campaigns may work together, they more often than not function separately.

Multichannel marketing advantages

  • Plenty of visibility: Being present on several channels means more eyes on your brand. It’s like throwing multiple fishing lines into a lake – you’re bound to get at least one bite.
  • Audience reach: Some people prefer magazines, others digital platforms, while some can’t resist a catchy TV ad. With multichannel, you get ‘eyes on’ from a wide variety of audience segments.

Multichannel marketing challenges

  • Lack of harmony: With everything working separately, there’s a risk of inconsistent messaging. Ideally, you want all your marketing campaigns to deliver a similar message, in a similar style – at every touchpoint.
  • Disconnected experience: Each channel might feel like a different chapter of a story rather than part of the same book. This can be a bit off-putting for customers.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

You’re out on the road again. 

You see the same billboard for a mouth-watering burger. Again, you use your phone to find the nearest diner. But you also see a download link for their app, with the promise of a discount voucher too.

The app’s user experience is familiar, with the same look and feel as the website. Soon, you’re at the diner, scanning a QR code from the app to get your discount. 

From billboard to biting into the burger – the entire brand experience is smooth and integrated. This is the power of omnichannel marketing. The various channels are carefully integrated, to deliver a joined-up experience. 

Omnichannel marketing advantages

  • Deep integration: All your marketing efforts work together, increasing the chances of conversion.
  • Customer loyalty: Customers love convenience. The easier the journey, the more they feel valued, which builds loyalty.
  • Personalized experiences: Since every digital touchpoint collects data and syncs with the rest, customers get recommendations and interactions tailored just for them.

Omnichannel marketing based on data integration

At the heart of successful omnichannel marketing is data integration. 

Collecting and analyzing a pool of customer data means interactions on one platform can inform the experience on another. This continuity improves customer experience, as well as enabling you to send more relevant and timely messages.

You can extend this principle across your operations, not just advertising. 

Suppose you’re troubleshooting an issue via a website’s live chat. The issue is complex, so the agent suggests switching to video chat. The transition is smooth. No need to reintroduce yourself or restate the problem. Everything you shared on live chat is immediately accessible in the video chat. 

This kind of highly integrated customer experience is what omnichannel promises.

Multichannel vs Omnichannel Marketing: The Differences

Now that we have a solid base of understanding about both types, let’s unpack the main differences between multichannel and omnichannel marketing. 

Strategy differences between multichannel & omnichannel

  • Multichannel marketing is all about trying to catch the audience’s attention at every opportunity. The main aim is to boost visibility. For instance, a multichannel strategy might focus on increasing Instagram likes or increasing YouTube video shares. Due to the isolated goals, the experience can sometimes feel fragmented, with each channel operating on its own.
  • Omnichannel marketing, on the other hand, zeroes in on the customer journey. The aim is to create a consistent, integrated experience across all channels. Whether a user transitions from a social media post to a product page on the brand’s website, the messaging remains consistent, and the shift feels natural.

Omnichannel isn’t simply about presence but integration, ensuring every touchpoint – whether digital or physical – enhances the customer’s overall experience.

Data usage and customer insights

  • Multichannel: Data collection happens across different channels, but the data rarely links up. Insights derived from a customer’s behavior on social media might not influence email marketing strategies, for instance.
  • Omnichannel: The power of unified data comes into play. Every time a customer interacts with a brand, data feeds into a centralized hub, such as HubSpot, Marketo, or Salesforce Marketing Cloud. This 360-degree customer view allows brands to tailor experiences and enhance personalization.

Supporting the marketing/sales funnel

  • Multichannel: Different channels might target different funnel stages. For instance, social media might focus on brand awareness, while email campaigns aim at direct conversions. There’s diversity in approach, but there’s a big potential for disjointed experiences.
  • Omnichannel: The entire funnel is carefully planned and executed. A potential customer might begin their journey with a social media post, move through an email series, and end with post-purchase support via live chat. The whole journey feels like a single, uninterrupted conversation.

ROI and cost-effectiveness

  • Multichannel: Often requires a hefty budget as it goes for broad reach across multiple platforms. While it achieves increased visibility, measuring ROI can be difficult due to fragmented data sources.
  • Omnichannel: Initial setup, especially in terms of data integration and technology infrastructure, may seem high. However, the enhanced customer experience often results in higher conversions, customer retention, and loyalty. This drives a more favorable ROI in the long run.

Examples of Multichannel and Omnichannel Marketing Campaigns

Multichannel marketing – Under Armour

In an era where athletes face constant criticism over their performance, style, appearance, and presence on the team, Under Armour took a stand with their recent multichannel campaign, “Be The Athlete No One Saw Coming”

A call to self-confidence, this campaign urges young athletes to break free from the suffocating grip of comparison with others and instead focus on their unique journey and potential. The campaign enlisted the help of Tom Brady, a legendary football player. More importantly, it showcased younger up-and-coming talent through YouTube videos, short stories for news items, and Twitter posts.

Omnichannel marketing – Oricom

Oricom is an Australian enterprise known for its communication and monitoring technologies. The company faced a challenge in boosting its digital presence, particularly in the baby care market. They needed to create a joined-up digital strategy to drive growth, so they turned to AEK Media.

Challenges faced by Oricom

  • Lack of a comprehensive digital channel for business growth.
  • Absence of historical data to draw insights from. 
  • How to stand out against competitors with bigger budgets.
  • Looking for sustainable growth within half a year.

Omnichannel Strategies Implemented

  • Website update: Crafted a focused landing page to spotlight Oricom’s key products, especially Babysense7. The page directs customers based on their needs.
  • Paid ads: Used targeted ads to reach new customers, followed by automated emails for re-engagement.
  • Content: Created ads for Google, Facebook, and Instagram with a message geared toward new parents, emphasizing the safety and value of Oricom products.
  • Google Ads: Launched keyword-based campaigns to raise awareness and boost sales, later introducing bundled packages to increase average order value.

As a result of these strategies, Oricom saw an average month-on-month growth of 130% in online sales over six months. The brand’s familiarity also spiked by 50%, resulting in over 5,500 monthly searches for Oricom. Additionally, a return of 10 times on ad spend on Google Shopping campaigns was achieved.

Overall, Oricom’s comprehensive omnichannel marketing approach not only amplified its online presence but also generated significant growth in sales.

Multichannel or omnichannel marketing – that is the question…

The answer is fairly straightforward – it depends on your goals. 

If you’re looking to build brand awareness and visibility with a wide net, cast over many channels and platforms, then multichannel marketing is the way to go.

Omnichannel marketing takes things a step further with an integrated experience for customers, ensuring every touchpoint seamlessly links with the next. This is ideal for improving the customer journey and building loyalty.

Both strategies have their merits. The key is identifying which strategy best aligns with your goals and target audience, and then adapting accordingly. 

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