Marketing loves to follow trends and as the discipline itself evolves, so too does its buzzwords. In the immediate aftermath of the tech boom, we quickly began to move from just “digital” strategies to more sophisticated “multi-channel” and “cross-channel” strategies. This represented a natural evolution as we began to tap into the potential of the digital landscape in order to improve our communication strategies.
Omnichannel Marketing, however, represents something beyond just coordinated, or integrated, marketing communications. It’s an acknowledgment that the digital ecosystem has forever changed the way consumers engage with brands. Gone is the era of push advertising; it has yielded to a new era of customer-centric pull marketing. Omnichannel is how we eliminate friction and maximize value for consumers at every touchpoint.
Let’s take a look at what makes Omnichannel Marketing the ideal state of marketing.
Why Omnichannel Marketing is a Game-Changer
When we looked at how the customer experience you deliver impacts your branding, we began to paint a picture of what Omnichannel is by focusing on a brand’s various consumer touchpoints. From a marketing perspective, this begins to feel a lot like conducting an orchestra. In many ways, Omnichannel Marketing is all about guiding your social media team and customer service agents to play not just the same note, but on time and with the right inflection.
By coordinating the entire brand to move as one, the goal is to eliminate friction and deliver value at every step of the process. To do this, you need to fully understand your brand internally and your consumer externally. Visualize your funnel and map your customer journey to understand how your consumer interacts with your brand and product from awareness to repeat purchases. Let it determine what each of your touchpoints need to deliver to keep consumers satisfied and engaged.
What Omnichannel Marketing Looks Like When It Works
Airline travel is a particularly engaged experience for consumers and therefore presents an excellent example for observing Omnichannel strategies in the wild. There are a variety of consumer touchpoints, from the early awareness stage (an Instagram ad promoting a new destination) to the loyal, repeat buyer stage (frequent flyer programs). For all its operational faults, American Airlines AAdvantage program represents an easy-to-understand and effective Omnichannel strategy.
From the awareness stage, American Airlines utilizes its sophisticated loyalty program database to execute targeted email marketing blasts and social media campaigns to reach potential travelers. A coordinated app and web site ecosystem allows consumers to book trips, track flights and baggage, and generally control their voyages.
At the airport itself, the app facilitates a more efficient airport security and check-in process. At the gate, American uses its app to speed up the boarding process and allows travelers to request upgrades or select seat changes at their leisure, without having to wait in line at the counter. Lastly, whether at home or away, the app facilitates communication with dedicated customer service lines which help AAdvantage members at various tiers of status and provide personalized service.
Omnichannel is an Investment
It isn’t difficult to sell a marketer on why Omnichannel works in a vacuum, but there must be reasons why we don’t see every brand rushing to adopt Omnichannel strategies. Ultimately, Omnichannel is an investment in time, financial resources, human resources, and more. It takes a 360 degree view and understanding of a brand’s capabilities and its customers’ touchpoints.
Installing an effective Omnichannel Marketing strategy takes time, money, and patience, but has the potential for massive dividends.