Omnichannel marketing

What is omnichannel marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is a useful way of higlighting today’s challenge of selecting and managing the many marketing channels that are available to marketers, both for marketing communications and multichannel selling. It is an evolution from the long-standing use of multichannel marketing.

Its use started within retail to explain new options for marketing and selling via mobile and social commerce channels, but with the COVID-19 pandemic it’s increasingly relevant for other sectors such as consumer brands and business-to-business providers looking to sell online. It highlights the need for integrated communications planning and acknowledges the complex customer journey many consumers are involved in as shown by our B2B lifecycle marketing visual.

Defining omnichannel

I define omnichannel marketing as:

Selecting and integrating different marketing communications tools to deliver leads and sales across the different customer touchpoints including different devices and platforms involved in the modern customer journey. The aim should be to deliver a seamless, integrated customer experience.

Why do we need omnichannel?

The need for omnichannel marketing is nicely explained by this omnichannel definition from John Bowden, Senior VP of Customer Care at Time Warner Cable. It highlights that omnichannel also refers to the customer experience where customers are using multiple channels, but they rightly have the expectation that their experience is ‘Seamless, integrated and consistent’.

“Multichannel is an operational view – how you allow the customer to complete transactions in each channel. Omnichannel, however, is viewing the experience through the eyes of your customer, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent. Omnichannel anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution. Making these complex ‘hand-offs’ between channels must be fluid for the customer. Simply put, omni-channel is multi-channel done right!”


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Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of digital marketing advice site Smart Insights. We’re a publisher and learning platform that helps our 150,000 active members in over 100 countries plan, manage and optimize their digital marketing activities by applying the actionable advice in our planning templates, guides and interactive e-learning tools.

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