The concept of omnichannel marketing—releasing content across multiple channels and touchpoints to create a complete, integrated customer experience—is a well-established one, but it’s incredibly relevant in a digital-first world.
Customers today tend to move seamlessly between devices and channels during their experiences with brands, whether it’s a long-term B2B buying decision or a consumer goods purchase. In America alone, research from Google has shown that 98% of consumers switch devices within the same day. To reach them, marketers must choose the right media, channels and content, and deliver it in a way that resonates and engages buyers.
But is there such a thing as too much omnichannel marketing? Can a brand be overly diversified in their marketing mix?
Finding the right balance means turning to your customers.
Crafting a Balanced Omnichannel Strategy
For most brands, selecting the specific investments and channels within an omnichannel marketing strategy means identifying how your customers are engaging with you today.
Being everywhere is rarely the answer. A luxury car company might find a lot of value in creating a virtual test drive using the latest VR technology; a chemical engineering company selling primarily to B2B manufacturers might not.
But your customers are giving you information each day through:
- Your website analytics, and what pages, apps or functionality they’re using most
- Social media channels and how (or if!) they’re engaging with you there
- E-commerce and sales data
- Market research surveys
By paying attention to how and where your customers engage with you most, you can focus your efforts on the channels that are creating value for your business and ensure you’re meeting your customers where they already are.
When you know which channels and tactics are delivering the right results, you can systematically expand to new and emerging channels that your customers are asking for. In addition, you can easily leverage the content and assets you’ve already built to create a complementary experience.
True omnichannel marketing can be costly and resource intensive, so being thoughtful about how and where you extend your reach is critical to long-term success. Overextending your marketing efforts to try to be on every new, shiny social network or to leverage every emerging technology can leave your budgets threadbare and create unscalable workloads for in-house teams.
Keeping your brand consistent across multiple channels is more challenging, too—especially if you’re communicating in multiple languages, as suggested above. You’ve made strong investments in your messaging and getting your value proposition just right, so it’s beneficial to only expand to new marketing channels when you’re sure you can deliver a consistent, on-brand experience to your audience.
Create a Seamless Experience
While it’s tempting to think only about the channels themselves, they aren’t nearly as important as the customer experience you create across the channels you use.
Can the people looking for your brand or company find the information they need, seamlessly and clearly, and in a way that’s most relevant to them?
For example, depending on your audience, you may want to provide content and information in multiple languages, so your customers can do business with you in the language they use most. Consider creating localized content like:
- A multilingual website that greets global customers in their own language
- Translated content for email and social media outreach
- In-language payment, checkout and contact information for e-commerce transactions
- Multilingual SEO strategies to populate local and regional search results
- Mobile apps available in multiple languages
An authentic, consistent and adaptive in-language experience can help build trust and credibility for your brand and engage customers no matter where they find you first.
When the experience transcends the channel, customers know that brands put their needs at the forefront, and they’re not only more likely to buy, but to spend more.
Stay Focused, and Stay the Course
Omnichannel marketing can be a bit of a buzz-phrase, but it’s useful instead to think of it as “marketing where your customers are.”
Leveraging the intelligence you have about your audiences and their preferences is the best place to start. Resist the temptation to pivot every time a new tool or technology comes on the scene; you don’t need (or want!) to be the proverbial jack-of-all-trades while mastering none.
Focus on the channels that are working for your business today, and only consider new channels as they’re able to add value to the overall experience you’ve designed for your customers.
Consistency and clarity of experience over time will always win over constantly chasing new channels. Let your customers lead the way, and your omnichannel strategy will practically design itself.
Craig Witt is executive vice president at MotionPoint, a provider of technology and services designed to help business sell online to international markets. Follow him and MotionPoint on Twitter @motionpoint.Favorite