Why Your Business Needs to Focus on Omnichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing may sound like another one of those industry buzzwords that’s here today and gone tomorrow – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In a recent study, companies who adopted omnichannel customer engagement strategies retained 89% of their customers, on average. Those businesses with weak omnichannel engagement retained just 33%.
Thankfully, to help you get to grips with all the ins and outs of omnichannel marketing, best-selling author and marketing specialist Ann Handley answers some of the most common questions while also providing some real-life examples.
However, this discussion with Ann doesn’t just end there, as she also delves into her long-term ideas and how she utilizes technology to get maximum impact out of her marketing campaigns.
The Basics of Omnichannel Marketing
When asked to describe omnichannel marketing, Ann explains that you’re essentially dedicating yourself to being a marketer who delivers their customers a unified, seamless experience on every channel. You may hear this referred to as “multichannel marketing,” Ann admits, but the term “omnichannel marketing” actually encompasses a lot more, providing much broader scope.
She explains that, to her, omnichannel marketing “refers to the overall brand experience that a customer has of you across any platform, any channel, in person or online – every step of the way.” She also places great emphasis on how omnichannel creates a customer-centric view, which is what sets it apart from other types of marketing terms. For example, when you’re adopting a multichannel marketing approach, you’re often looking at things from the point of view of a marketer, rather than seeing things through the customers’ eyes.
Saving the “Sole” of a Shoe Company Through Omnichannel
To demonstrate how successful omnichannel can be, Ann provides an example of a shoe company whose online platform she interacted with recently. She had used this company before, so she felt they were a trusted brand but found they were under-delivering when it came to a customer service issue she had.
However, she received an apology later in the day, explaining there were underlying things going on that caused the problem. Ann appreciated that they reached out to her to talk about the mistake and understood that some mistakes were unavoidable. Therefore, from an experience that was likely to lose them a customer, this company turned it into a positive via omnichannel marketing.
Thinking About a Company’s Bigger Story
Ann also went on to describe how important it is to know your brand’s story and to think this through. This shouldn’t just be from a content perspective but should take into account omnichannel, too. She also explains some of the questions a company should ask to achieve this.
One such question is why you’re running the business you’ve set up. Any strong brand will take the time to seriously consider the various aspects of this question. To explore this in more detail, Ann uses the example of Baking Steel, a company that helps home chefs achieve better pizzas by selling high-quality baking sheets.
Although the company sells baking sheets, it’s the story behind why they’re doing this that really impresses Ann. Their “why” stems from something they love – they love pizza and they love family, which is why they wanted to bring them together to create the best possible experience.
Baking Steel has successfully broadened their horizons through love, and this has been the root to their success. They show where their tomatoes come from, how customers can source the best cheese, and publish recipes. When combined, all of these things add up to a much bigger story – enjoying high-quality food with the ones you love.
How a Company Can Use Its Voice
It’s perhaps no surprise that Ann’s views on a company’s tone and voice are quite broad. Limiting the use of these to a website or newsletter is an idea she doesn’t espouse. That’s because this could undercut the brand’s bigger story as they use the same voice/tone on some platforms but not on others. By consistently adopting the same personality across every single platform, a company can retain a strong brand image.
To help illustrate this, Ann offers social media as an example and how every story should incorporate all the different ways people can interact with the brand. It’s easy to have a social media presence that’s understated and boring, but a company needs to inject personality into everything they do.
What Might Omnichannel Look Like?
Ann is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs and uses omnichannel marketing through their online and offline methods of communication with customers. Every year, the company hosts the B2B Marketing Forum for marketing professionals. And although these marketing events aren’t uncommon, Ann explains what they’ve done to make sure theirs is a cut above the rest.
The conferences have been designed to be fun and quirky – a great alternative for marketers. Ann looked at how they could present this through each of their channels, from the proposal of the event itself to what the website says about it. For example, the proposal says that the conference is where people can get together and learn about the latest B2B marketing techniques, but it also suggests that people can meet to “get belly laughs, creative networking, shenanigans, and marketers-after-dark antics.”
What Companies Should Use Omnichannel?
Ann has no hesitation in answering this question – it doesn’t matter what business size you are, you’re never too small to consider omnichannel. This type of marketing is suitable for all types of businesses, and when it comes so highly recommended from one of the most revered marketers around, it makes sense to employ these strategies within your company.
If you missed this year’s MarketingProfs’ B2B Marketing Forum that took place from October 3-6 in Boston, make sure you're one of the first to register for next year's event, held in San Francisco!