Blog Post

Omnichannel vs Multichannel Marketing: The Critical Differences to Consider

August 25, 2020 - Sierra Ducey

Let’s talk omnichannel vs multichannel marketing. As you develop your marketing strategy, “omnichannel” and “multichannel” are two terms you should know.

When we talk with marketers about omnichannel vs multichannel marketing, many consider the terms to be interchangeable. However, in practice, omnichannel and multichannel are quite different. Today, many of the most successful legacy and disruptor brands are opting for omnichannel marketing over multichannel marketing. In this post, we’ll walk you through why and will share the differences between the two terms. 

To start, we’ll dive into the more traditional approach to marketing – multichannel marketing. 

Multichannel Marketing

Multichannel marketing is an approach to marketing that reaches and engages with consumers through multiple channels like a desktop browser, mobile, retail, social media, podcast, etc. Each channel functions independently, often with different messaging, but with the same goal of reaching target audiences. 

Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing is an approach to marketing that addresses each channel’s customer experience and how customers transition between each channel as they make purchases. Omnichannel marketing combs through and prioritizes the most useful marketing data to create a full picture of your marketing efforts and the touchpoints throughout the customer journey. 

Omnichannel vs Multichannel Marketing: Which is better?

In a perfect world, a consumer can click on a Facebook ad on their phone, browse a website, add a few things to their cart, then resume shopping on their laptop, engage with a shoppable ad and finish checking out without any fuss from using their phone and their computer to complete the purchase. 

The seamless customer experience described above can only be understood with omnichannel marketing. Here’s why.

Omnichannel marketing is integrated, multichannel marketing is siloed.

Multichannel marketing relies on channels that operate in silos. The data from each channel doesn’t interact with or influence the actions of other channels. Each channel has its own set of consumer data that will need to be manually aggregated and groomed with customer relationship management (CRM), customer data platform (CDP), or data onboarding solutions. Since this approach to marketing relies on disparate data sets, it is difficult for marketers to identify who and where their best customers are. 

Alternatively, with omnichannel marketing, you can precisely track consumer behavior and see which channels buyers are interacting with before purchasing. Using omnichannel insights, you can push more personalized and relevant messages to consumers at the perfect time on the ideal channel. And when your marketing is relevant, it’s less promotional and more informative. 

Just fifteen years ago, the average consumer used two touchpoints when making a purchase; today, consumers use an average of six touchpoints – all the more reason for an omnichannel vs. multichannel marketing approach. 

Greater visibility into consumer behavior across channels allows you to allocate your marketing budget better along the customer journey. While consumers may not fully understand what omnichannel means, they enjoy the benefits of a marketing strategy that delivers a seamless experience for researching and making purchases.

Evolving a multichannel marketing strategy to an omnichannel marketing strategy

From in-store, to Amazon, to Facebook, to mobile, to purchase, creating a consistent, unified shopping experience, whatever the channel, is now crucial to marketing success. But, it’s one thing to know why you should shift to an omnichannel vs. multichannel marketing strategy and something else entirely to take the first steps forward. 

  • Define and segment your target audience based on needs and preferences.
  • Identify the highest priority channels to integrate. For many marketers, digital marketing channels are becoming the highest priority channels to integrate – they are also the easiest. Channel integration can be done by an in-house digital team or by an omnichannel digital agency like Digilant.
  • Invest in an omnichannel technology solution to store audience and channel performance data.
  • Leverage automation and a team of experts to generate personalized messaging for each audience segment to push out across desired channels. 

While the initial steps to omnichannel marketing may seem simple, don’t be fooled, it can take some serious work to get it done. It’s probably why 64% of marketers cite that resources and investment are their top barrier to adopting an omnichannel marketing approach. If you are part of this 64%, Digilant can help. Contact us to learn more about the advantages of omnichannel vs multichannel marketing and how you can get started today. 

Like what you see? Join the 500+ clients that have partnered with Digilant.