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What's omnichannel marketing? And how to get it right

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Omnichannel marketing is a practice that aligns content delivery across marketing channels—both online and offline—to provide a seamless, consistent experience. Here's what marketers need to know to get their omnichannel marketing strategy right.

Omnichannel marketing is a tactic that’s become incredibly popular in recent years due to an obvious fact: its effectiveness.

Firstly, what is omnichannel marketing? In short, it’s a practice that aligns content delivery across marketing channels—both online and offline—to provide a seamless, consistent experience.

Gartner defines omnichannel as synchronizing the channels of mobile, desktop and store to support a customer’s seamless purchase process. The strategy supports the customer from discovery to conversion, through fulfillment and post-purchase.

Omnichannel marketing is effective because it addresses the fact that the modern customer is no longer dedicated to a single channel or platform for interaction with a brand, organization or publisher. A brand with an omnichannel strategy will ensure that no matter where the customer journey begins—a physical store, mobile app or different channel—and no matter where it ends, the individual will have a seamless, consistent experience all the way through.

Omnichannel marketing in practice

By Brightspot Staff, January 22, 2021
Multichannel marketing has been a growing tactic for years as consumers use more and more channels. Recently, the newer concept of “omnichannel marketing” has also come to the fore. Omnichannel is an evolution of multichannel, and the two disciplines can sometimes be challenging to distinguish.
5 Min Read

What role does content marketing have to play in an omnichannel approach? A brand should ensure that content is accessible across channels, and that every piece of content produced is part of a wider strategy that boosts engagement and builds a relationship with the consumer.

An example of an omnichannel customer journey might begin with a customer who searches for a blouse on your website from their desktop. Then, they might have a question about the product, so they chat with your customer service via a desktop chatbot. Ultimately, the customer decides to pick up the shopping journey from your mobile app, where they continue their chat conversation and finally complete their order by choosing the option to pick up in store.

This is just one true example of an omnichannel experience that involves multiple different channels and touchpoints, but also provides the seamless experience that today’s customers expect.

2021 as the year for omnichannel marketing

While it’s newer, omnichannel marketing wasn’t created yesterday, and nine out of 10 consumers already want and expect it. Today, however, the difference between those who do omnichannel well and those who do it very well plays a bigger role than ever before in determining which brands, organizations and publishers are successful—and which are not.

This is especially clear now, with Gartner finding that COVID-19 has separated the leaders from the laggards when it comes to omnichannel marketing and experiences. Researchers noted in an April 2020 report that the pandemic has "magnified disparities between omnichannel innovators and those preserving the status quo." It’s clear that omnichannel is here to stay, and brands must work hard to excel at it.

As 2021 proves to be an uncertain and turbulent year of recovery for many businesses, marketers are using this time to strengthen their existing customer bases. Figuring out how to champion the omnichannel experience will be key.

Forrester says B2C marketers will increase their spending on loyalty and retention marketing by 15% in 2021, paying more attention to maintaining existing customer loyalty and encouraging repeat purchases versus investing in acquisition. One of the best ways to revitalize the relationship with existing customers is to make them feel valued and supported every step of the way with an omnichannel strategy.

How to get omnichannel marketing right

Less than one-fifth (17%) of marketers say they have a fully customer-first approach with a dedicated team and formal responsibility for customer experience at the executive level.

A great omnichannel strategy has a lot of elements, so it makes sense that many brands find it challenging. However, the right technology can go a long way to help manage all the pieces involved.

Tools like content management systems are key to omnichannel, with Brightspot’s CMS standing out as one designed to enable omnichannel success.

  • Brightspot has an intuitive back-end experience and native omnichannel capabilities that make content simple to create, optimize and distribute. You can store all content in the CMS as a central location for publishing across channels.
  • You can also repurpose content to fit into different channels. Brightspot’s headless or decoupled CMS options can help here, making it possible to push content to any device, no matter if shoppers are online, in an app, or using another channel such as wearable tech. A headless CMS can also help teams distribute content across channels while collecting customer data from those touchpoints that feed into the 360-degree customer view.
  • Once a company gets its omnichannel strategy in place, personalization takes it to the next level, and Brightspot makes this easy as well. Having the right data points and analysis tools is key to personalized, omnichannel marketing. Brightspot is integration and migration-ready, taking in companies’ proprietary data sources, digital experience platforms, enterprise applications and marketing tech software to easily analyze and use data. 
  • A final benefit is speed—with Brightspot, you can complete a migration to launch your omnichannel experience in as little as 90 days.

We’ll leave you with one final stat: according to PWC, the number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience has jumped from 20% to more than 80% since 2012. This is a positive development for customer engagement and brand success, but most brands need to keep improving to create an omnichannel experience that stands out enough.

The right technology can help unify omnichannel efforts, serving as a content and integration hub, so that brands and their customers can get the most value from this essential offering.

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