Omnichannel vs Multichannel Marketing

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According to recent data, 78% of internet users conduct product research online. As a result, the importance of digital marketing is higher than ever before. Companies need to tap into the digital sphere to reach as many leads and prospects as possible. It’s simply the most effective way of finding new customers and connecting with your existing ones. 

Naturally, you should be aware of the many different types of digital marketing techniques available. There’s social media, email marketing, SEO, blogging, etc. All of these things come together to provide a series of channels to market your business in. Consequently, you may come across terms like multichannel or omnichannel marketing. 

Initially, both of these things seem like they’re the same. Both ‘multi’ and ‘omni’ suggest the use of numerous marketing channels. However, the two terms aren’t interchangeable as they represent different ideas. In this guide, we’ll help you understand the main differences between omnichannel and multichannel marketing. 

What is multichannel marketing?

We’ll begin by defining multichannel marketing, and it’s straightforward to understand. Effectively, it relates to the use of various marketing channels to market or advertise your business. Think about the examples given previously – if you use all of those channels to market your business, you’re potentially using multichannel marketing. 

The fundamental point of this approach is that each channel exists on its own. Yes, they all serve the same purpose: to help you generate leads/sales, but they operate independently. In essence, you’ll have separate strategies for each channel. So, there’d be a social media strategy, an SEO strategy, an email marketing strategy, and so on. 

Instantly, you should be able to identify some advantages of taking a multichannel approach. If you use different avenues to market your business, you can reach a broader base of consumers. In fact, 72% of consumers say they prefer to connect with brands through multichannel marketing. The demand is already there; you just need to take advantage of it. 

The best way to understand multichannel marketing is to compare it to the single-channel approach. In that instance, single-channel marketing only looks at one specific avenue. You basically cut yourself off from all the potential customers using the different channels out there. There’s far more potential to connect with leads and make sales when you open up many different channels. 

What is omnichannel marketing?

If multichannel marketing involves the use of different marketing channels, what on earth is omnichannel marketing? Well, here’s where things get a tiny bit complicated. The concept is very similar, as omnichannel marketing involves using lots of channels as well. Still, there’s a significant difference, and it relates to the way you run your digital marketing campaign. 

With the omnichannel approach, everything is integrated. All the different channels are working together as part of the overall strategy. The aim is to create a more connected experience for the consumer – and it works very well. It was found that businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater customer retention rates than those that don’t. 

Part of that success is down to the synergistic nature of omnichannel marketing. Everything connects and is very streamlined to keep the experience consistent. If someone is on your Facebook page, they will receive a similar experience than they would on your website. It helps build brand recognition, which makes it easier for people to identify with your business. Again, the data backs up these claims. Research suggests that your revenue can increase by up to 23% when presenting a brand consistently across all platforms!

Omnichannel marketing is easier to understand when you visualize it like a spider’s web. Everything is neatly weaved together – each strand is part of the larger structure.

Understanding the main differences between multichannel and omnichannel marketing

You’ve seen definitions of both concepts, and you’ve also received a bit of an insight into how they differ. In this section, we’ll dive a bit deeper and uncover some of the main differences between each option:

Multichannel is more about broadening your reach

Multichannel marketing has one main aim: to reach as many people as possible. The more channels you open up, the more people you can reach. For instance, if you only advertised on TV, you’d only reach customers that watch TV at a specific time. If you start marketing on social media, you suddenly have loads more people to find. This increases further when you add email marketing, SEO, etc. 

Imagine you’re a lone fisherman on the edge of a massive lake. You cast one line and wait for the fish to bite. The multichannel marketing method is the equivalent of casting off loads of different lines alongside your original one. In theory, you should get more bites as you’re reaching different parts of the lake. 

Omnichannel is centered around the customer

In comparison, omnichannel marketing isn’t about expanding your reach. Instead, it focuses on the customer experience and making it as good as possible. Consider this; many companies will outsource every aspect of their marketing strategy. One team focuses on social media, one runs the website, one does email, etc. This doesn’t create a very complete customer experience for people that interact with your brand. Sure, you can still generate leads, but it isn’t ideal for a customer.

Omnichannel wants consumers to feel connected, which is why they get a more personalized experience across every channel. As mentioned before, they start to connect with your business as they feel part of something.

Multichannel is very impersonal

Speaking of a personalized experience, you don’t get one with multichannel marketing. Nothing is really geared towards specific customers – it’s all about hitting targets and getting leads. Again, this can be successful, and many businesses do gain new customers through the multichannel approach. 

However, it’s all very linear. Consumers find you through one channel, then you push them through the sales funnel in that channel. Omnichannel is entirely different from this. As mentioned in the previous point, this approach wants you to improve the customer experience. Therefore, much focus is put on personalizing things and learning more about the customer. 

A wonderful way to showcase this is with your website and email. Someone lands on your site, and you collect data relating to their behavior. You notice they spent a lot of time looking at certain products, so you can use this to trigger an email. The email speaks about those products, possibly pointing out some deals. Or, when the consumer goes on their social media, you present adverts of the products they were looking at. This shows you clearly know the consumer and are tailoring the experience to their wants and needs. As a result, there’s potentially more chance of making a sale. 

Omnichannel produces a more consistent message

A significant disadvantage of multichannel marketing is how it sends messages to consumers. We don’t mean this literally, but it’s more in how people see your business. Each channel does its own thing, so you can broadcast so many different messages at the same time. It can be ridiculously confusing for consumers as they don’t know what to make of your brand. If anything, it makes them feel slightly disconnected from your company. 

We’ve spoken about this already, but omnichannel marketing offers more consistency. All the messages and signals are the same, leaving consumers with no doubt as to how they perceive your brand. Remember, 81% of consumers buy based on trust – people need to trust your business to buy from you. An inconsistent brand image is an easy way to lose trust. Therefore, you could miss out on lots of extra revenue.

Multichannel makes life harder for the customer

We’ve spoken about the customer experience before, but this point is more on customer service. Multichannel marketing makes things a bit of a challenge for a consumer. Let’s say someone sees a post on your social media and wants to gain more information. They might email you or fill in a contact form on your website. Likewise, what if someone sees something on your website and contacts you on social media? 

In both cases, the consumer is dealing with things across different platforms. Therefore, it’s harder to give them the answers they want as you have to go and check with the different platforms to see what they’re talking about. This can lead to delays, which puts the consumer off, and they leave. 

Comparatively, imagine both scenarios under the omnichannel approach. There are no delays as everything is connected, so consumers get the answers they need right away. Thus, their experience improves, even more, building more trust. 

Multichannel vs. Omnichannel: A Summary

To round off this article, you need to know two key points:

  • Multichannel marketing uses as many channels as possible to broaden your reach and find new leads. Each channel operates on its own.
  • Omnichannel marketing uses multiple channels that all operate together under the same umbrella. It’s customer-centered and provides consistency across all channels. 

Overall, we can say that omnichannel marketing is a more effective approach. Consumers respond better to it, meaning you can make more money and grow a loyal customer base. 

If you need help with your marketing strategy, perhaps we can assist you! Contact Pivotal New Media for all of your strategic needs.

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