Omnichannel and integrated marketing strategies are often pitted against each other. But in the case of integrated marketing vs. omnichannel marketing, the distinction isn’t necessarily helpful or accurate. Sometimes it only leads to confusion as brands attempt to create excellent consumer experiences with varying marketing strategies.
What’s the Difference Between an Omnichannel and Integrated Marketing Strategy?
There is one key difference between these two strategies. Integrated marketing focuses on seamless customer communication, while omnichannel marketing focuses on creating a seamless customer journey. Simply put, it’s the difference between communication and implementation.
The goals of these marketing strategies can be slightly different, too. The objectives of an integrated marketing strategy are to increase brand recognition, maintain brand consistency, and garner new and existing customer trust. Meanwhile, the goals of an omnichannel strategy might be to personalize the customer experience and move customers down the funnel with more speed and fewer snags.
However, both strategies have evolved drastically since they first arrived.
Omnichannel marketing, first introduced in 2010, began as a way of connecting brick-and-mortar and desktop experiences. Now, it describes how consumers use all their connected devices alongside traditional channels to shop and experience brands in the digital age.
Integrated marketing has a more extensive history, beginning in 1989 when it was first introduced as “integrated marketing communications” to streamline efforts across several promotional channels. It began with traditional forms of advertising, such as PR and direct mail, but continues to expand into digital advertising channels today.
While they’ve had unique histories, and both forms are effective in isolation, advertisers are beginning to see that these two strategies could be even more powerful when used together.
When to Combine Omnichannel and Integrated Marketing
Not only can these two strategies be used together, but they should. Integrated marketing strategies layered on top of omnichannel strategies can elevate your campaign messaging. A combined approach balances the personalization and targeting of omnichannel with the brand consistency and trustworthiness of integrated marketing.
However, teams must ensure they understand why they’re combining strategies. Some of the errors advertisers make when trying to implement dual strategies include:
- Not connecting the dots.Both strategies require data to be obtained and utilized across many channels. This can be challenging as consumers continue diversifying their digital habits, but it is essential for developing a 360-degree view of a consumer.
- Not having enough content.Customers expect a world of content personalized for them across every channel. When implementing these strategies, advertisers need to match consumers’ interests.
- Isolating offline and online channels.When offline and online channels are measured in isolation, advertisers don’t get a holistic view of the customer journey. They can’t tell which channels can be best attributed to sales, conversions, or another metric.
- Losing steam.Marketing initiatives like these are significant undertakings and require tremendous time and resources, even once your strategy is up and running. Complacency can kill a promising start.
- Ignoring results by channel.Marketers can get sucked into singular campaigns; instead, they need to look holistically at ROI and how campaigns perform across channels, devices, and audience segments.
How to Create an Integrated Marketing Plan Across Channels
You don’t have to think about your marketing strategies as mutually exclusive paths. Instead, you can access the benefits of omnichannel marketing while creating a seamless, cohesive, and integrated strategy across digital channels. The following tips are great places to get started.
Establish clear goals.
While your ultimate marketing goal is likely sales, your brand needs to establish more manageable and targeted goals that support this overarching mission. Do you want to establish yourself as a leader in a particular area? Increase brand awareness among a certain audience or region? Boost the profile of a new product launch?
If these are your key goals, what subgoals will support their success? With goals come benchmarks, and with benchmarks, you can track and measure progress so you can stay on track toward your goals no matter what combination of strategies you’re using.
Encourage collaboration, not competition.
Using a combination of integrated and omnichannel marketing strategies has an inevitable impact on how your team works. You might have members of your team who are used to working in isolation, but working collaboratively is vital when you’re learning how to build an integrated marketing plan. It’s the only way you can ensure your messaging is consistent throughout and working to support team goals.
Each channel will still have an individually important role, but the overall collaboration of initiatives is what success will be benchmarked against.
Develop a balance of consistency and newness.
While an integrated marketing approach works to create a cohesive message across channels, cohesive doesn’t necessarily mean repetitive. The same message over and over again might turn customers away from your brand. So be ready to invest time in unique, targeted ads that fit your brand and the channels they’re being served on. Ensure these created assets are set up to be adaptable as you test and try new formats and new messaging on various channels.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
At Digilant, we know that true success comes from a combination of sources. Omnichannel and integrated marketing strategies have unique benefits that require marketers to understand their subtleties and how audiences relate to the content they’re seeing. However, when used together, you can unlock very powerful consumer experiences.
To learn more about which marketing strategy is right for your business’s needs, contact our team of experts today. We’d be happy to work with you to find the combination of strategies that will put your company on the path to success.