January 28, 2023
January 28, 2023

What is Omnichannel Marketing and How Exactly Do You Do It? (2023)

Omnichannel marketing is the practice of using a combination of integrated relevant channels to communicate marketing messages in a cohesive, intentful way.

A marketing channel is an online or offline medium or platform through which a business can connect with their target audience to promote products and/or services.  There are four main channel types — paid, free, digital, and traditional — that include more specific vehicles such as email, social platforms like Snapchat, billboards, mailing lists and newsletters, radio spots, influencers, and so on.

From confusing customer experiences and mismanaged data to process inefficiencies and poor targeting and personalization, the challenges that most small and medium-size businesses face when defining and guiding their marketing future are myriad and daunting. Fortunately, omnichannel marketing embodies an approach that can go the distance in terms of mitigating those complexities.

Before diving in further, it’s important to first understand the difference between omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing — two terms that are often mistaken for one another.

Multichannel marketing refers to the practice of using multiple channels to reach customers and market a product or service. This could include channels such as email, social media, print advertising, and in-person events. The goal of multichannel marketing is to give customers multiple ways to engage with a brand and make it easier for them to find and purchase products.

Omnichannel marketing, on the other hand, is a more integrated approach that aims to provide a seamless experience for customers across all channels. In doing so, the customer experience is consistent whether they’re interacting with a business online, in person, or over the phone.

Three important differences between multichannel and omnichannel marketing:

  1. Integration: The main difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing is the level of integration between the different channels. Multichannel marketing uses multiple channels in a less integrated way, while omnichannel marketing seeks to create a unified, cohesive experience for customers regardless of the channel they’re using.

  2. Customer experience: Omnichannel marketing is focused on creating a consistent customer experience across all channels. In contrast, multichannel marketing may result in a disjointed customer experience, as the channels are not necessarily integrated.

  3. Data and analytics: Omnichannel marketing relies on the collection and analysis of data across all channels to understand the customer journey and optimize marketing efforts. For example, a business could utilize data culled from its various social accounts, its membership or subscriber lists and their activity, and sales through its online and/or physical store to improve the customer experience throughout. Multichannel marketing may not have the same level of data integration and may not be able to provide as comprehensive an understanding of the customer journey.

In sum, the main difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing is that multichannel marketing uses multiple channels in a less integrated way, while omnichannel marketing seeks to create a seamless experience across all channels.

Omnichannel Attribution

Digging in a little deeper, omnichannel attribution is another term worth exploring. Omnichannel attribution refers to the process of determining the value and impact of each touchpoint — meaning when someone sees an ad, opens a marketing email, etc. — in the customer journey, across all channels. It’s a way of understanding how different channels contribute to the overall customer experience and to the success of a marketing campaign.

Some common approaches to omnichannel attribution include:

  1. First-touch attribution: This approach attributes the entire value of a conversion to the first touchpoint that the customer had with the brand.

  2. Last-touch attribution: This approach attributes the entire value of a conversion to the last touchpoint that the customer had with the brand.

  3. Linear attribution: This approach assigns equal value to each touchpoint in the customer journey.

  4. Time-decay attribution: This approach assigns more value to touchpoints that are closer in time to the conversion.

  5. Custom attribution: This approach allows companies to assign custom weights to different touchpoints based on their perceived value.

Omnichannel attribution can be challenging because it requires the tracking and analysis of customer interactions across multiple channels, including online and offline channels. So a solid attribution strategy will include relevant analytics and tracking tools to capture actionable data, giving marketers insight that can improve their marketing efforts and boost the ROI of their campaigns.

While there’s no single method or tool to manage all omnichannel components at once, in practice marketers will routinely:

  • Set up conversion tracking and pixels (e.g., Snap Pixel) to track consumer and customer activity.

  • Use cookies, tags, user IDs, and/or UTM codes to measure and test the effectiveness of online advertising and ad campaigns based on users’ behavior.

  • Integrate customer relationship management (CRM) and other analytics platforms into their marketing to help collect and store customer data, which can then be used to optimize sales and marketing processes and improve the customer experience.

The Benefits of Using an Omnichannel Marketing Approach

With a baseline understanding of omnichannel marketing under our belt, let’s review some solutions this approach provides to commonplace marketing challenges (including those we called attention to earlier).

Omnichannel marketing can:

  • Help create a consistent, cohesive experience for customers across all channels, which can help lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

  • Allow for the tracking and analysis of customer behavior across all channels, which can help businesses better understand the customer journey, track customer behavior, and identify opportunities for improvement.

  • Provide a more comprehensive understanding of customer preferences and needs by collecting and analyzing data across all channels, helping businesses make data-driven decisions that do a better job of meeting the expectations of their customers.

  • Help streamline marketing initiatives by allowing businesses to use a single platform (again, along with multiple tools) to manage and coordinate marketing activities across all channels.

  • Enable businesses to deliver more targeted and personalized messages, helping to increase the effectiveness of marketing campaigns by creating and nurturing a stronger, more enduring relationship with customers.

  • Make it easier for customers to find and purchase products by providing a seamless experience across all channels, leading to increased sales.

88% percent of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services. (Salesforce.com

Getting Started with Omnichannel Marketing

Once you’ve got your head around the contextual gist of omnichannel marketing, implementing a plan of action that works best for your business involves eight steps.

  1. Identify your target audience: The first step in any marketing effort is to zero in on your target audience. This will help you determine which channels are most appropriate for reaching your desired customers. If you sell inexpensive furniture, for example, college students and young people starting to live on their own could be your target audience.

  2. Define your marketing goals: Clearly establish your marketing goals and objectives to help you determine which channels and tactics to focus on in your omnichannel marketing efforts. Brand awareness is an example of a marketing objective.

  3. Create a content strategy: Develop a strategy that outlines the types of content you will create and the channels you will use to distribute it. If you sell consumer-grade video gear to a young audience, for example, your content strategy would be wise to lean on user-generated content (UGC) and social channels like Snapchat.

  4. Integrate your channels: Make sure that your channels are working together harmoniously, and that there is a consistent message and brand experience across all channels. You might run a Snapchat ad in conjunction with a print ad, both of which transition smoothly to your website’s product catalog.

  5. Track and analyze data: Use tools and technologies to track and analyze customer behavior across all channels to help you further understand the customer journey and optimize your marketing efforts. Snapchat for Business provides robust functionality along these lines; Google Analytics would be another example.

  6. Test and optimize: Regularly test and optimize your marketing efforts to ensure that you are getting the best possible results. Try A/B testing different messages and calls to action, or experimenting with different channels. For instance, run two Snapchat ads (ie, A and B ads) with the same messaging but different imagery, analyze their respective performance, and continue utilizing the winner. Repeat the cycle to continue improving overall ad performance.

  7. Foster customer engagement: To help you better understand your customers and improve the overall customer experience, encourage customer engagement across all channels and enable them to easily provide feedback and reviews. Using blogs and organic social posts is ideal for that purpose.

  8. Measure and analyze results: Regularly measure and analyze the results of your omnichannel marketing efforts to understand what is working and what can be improved upon. Use that information to make optimized data-driven decisions and maximize your marketing efforts going forward. For instance, monitor the performance of your Snapchat ads and use that information to improve your campaigns across time.

Building an Omnichannel Marketing Campaign

An omnichannel marketing campaign strategy creates a seamless brand experience for customers by ensuring that your brand is represented consistently via messaging, visuals, and positioning statements across all channels, platforms, and devices. By showing customers that you’re on all of the channels and platforms they’re used to frequenting, they’ll come to trust that you’ll provide a similar, familiar customer experience regardless of where and how they’re running across you. Here’s how:

  1. Start with your dialing in your website and social media channels: Keep in mind that you need to have a process in place for consistent content management as well as the resources to manage the feedback loops those vehicles include — that is, you have to be ready to effectively and consistently communicate with your visitors and customers.

  2. Consider creating an app: Just be sure you have a legitimate business reason for making the effort, and carefully think through its functionality based on the user experience you want to convey and the results you hope to see.

  3. Think customer first at every turn: Add channels to your omnichannel universe only when they enhance the customer experience in some way. When that’s the case, your bottom line will ultimately benefit with each augmentation.

  4. Be consistent with messaging: Be flexible enough to adjust to the peculiarities and limitations of the different platforms you’re engaging without compromising your message and brand personality. Create a brand voice that allows for some wiggle room in terms of language and be careful to avoid outright duplication (search engines and social platforms will often notice and penalize exact repetition).

  5. Always leverage CTAs: Whenever you engage with customers — through an ad, an organic post, a private message, a phone call, or an email — you should include a suitable CTA. For instance, a social ad’s CTA should lead to a mobile website rather than the desktop version, since it’s safe to assume that most people are viewing that ad on a mobile device. Be cognizant that your CTAs are contextual enough to always extend the seamless experience you’ve provided everywhere else.

Omnichannel marketing can bring in nearly 6x more sales than single-channel marketing. (Omnisend

Omnichannel Marketing and Retail

Between technological advances, evolving customer demands, and adjusted shopping behavior (including the migration from offline to online shopping), retailers are having to adapt to challenges in order to survive. Those businesses staying afloat and thriving have acted on the necessity of personalized experiences for their customers along with employing omnichannel retail strategies to attract and retain their customer base. 

An omnichannel retail strategy improves the customer experience and provides more channels for customer purchases via mobile, web, and in-store, allowing retailers to achieve greater availability, integrate digital touchpoints, and drive traffic and sales.

Examples of Omnichannel Marketing in Action

Theory’s great, but how does omnichannel marketing play out in practice? Let’s take a look at two hypothetical examples of implementation, followed by some actual real-world practitioners.

Gaming Store
To highlight new titles recently added to their inventory, an online gaming store might create a Public Profile on Snapchat and publish posts with video clips of gameplay. The posts could drive viewers to the store’s website to subscribe to their email list so customers can receive regular updates about new titles, reviews, tips, etc. The business’s newsletters and additional social campaigns — paid or organic — can include links to purchase as well as access to online and offline competitions, physical brand-activation events, and the like.

Event Ticketing Service
An online ticketing service runs a Snapchat ad promoting an upcoming show. The ad drives fans to the service’s website, where users can sign up for its referral program via a form. When someone joins the program, they receive a personalized welcome email from the service, inviting them to download their mobile app. Then, as a reward for logging into the app, they’re presented with a code or coupon for artist merchandise, along with a social-sharing widget so they can share their favorite artists and upcoming shows with their immediate social circles.

Marketers using three or more channels in a campaign earn a 494% higher order rate than those using a single-channel campaign. (Omnisend

Trends in Omnichannel Marketing

Paying attention to trends in omnichannel marketing can help businesses stay competitive and relevant in an ever-changing market. By proactively staying aware, businesses can identify new opportunities to reach and engage with their customers, and can adapt their marketing efforts accordingly.

Trends in omnichannel marketing can also provide insight into emerging technologies and tactics that businesses can use to improve their marketing results. Here are some to consider:

  1. Personalization: There is a growing trend towards personalization in omnichannel marketing. This involves using data and analytics to deliver personalized, targeted messages to customers across all channels.

  2. Use of artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being used to optimize omnichannel marketing efforts. AI can help analyze customer data and provide insights for targeting and segmentation, as well as automate certain marketing tasks. Chap GPT is currently a resoundingly popular option in this space.

  3. Mobile ubiquity: Accommodating mobile devices and the mobile experience is increasingly important in the omnichannel customer journey. As a result, companies are focusing on mobile-specific optimization and developing mobile-specific campaigns accordingly.

  4. Social media integration: Social media is playing a larger role in omnichannel marketing as companies seek to integrate social media into their overall marketing efforts in meaningful, measurable ways.

  5. Video content: Video content continues to establish itself as arguably the most effective way to engage with customers across all channels. Companies are using video to tell their brand story and showcase their products and services, as well as integrating user-generated video content to supplement their efforts.

  6. Voice search optimization: As the use of voice assistants such as Amazon's Alexa and Google Home becomes more prevalent, companies are optimizing their marketing efforts for voice search. This involves optimizing content for long-tail keywords and creating content that is easy for voice assistants to understand and deliver.

Making a concerted effort to track and understand trends in omnichannel marketing can help businesses stay ahead of the curve and ensure that their marketing efforts remain effective and relevant.

Snapchat Can Help Your Omnichannel Marketing Campaign Succeed

Do you market products and/or services to young people? If so, Snapchat can have a dramatic impact as part of your omnichannel big picture. We provide access to a younger, highly engaged global audience unparalleled via other social media platforms. 9 out of 10 young people are on Snapchat³ and they open Snapchat over 30 times every day⁴ to actively share their lives with close friends and family, sending more than 4 billion messages every day.⁵ What’s more, word-of-mouth activity helps make Snapchat the #1 platform where people enjoy sharing the shopping experiences and purchases they love.⁶

By integrating Snapchat into your omnichannel marketing strategy, you can diversify your outreach and reach new audiences. Getting up and running with your first Snapchat ad is a relatively quick, painless 5-step process:

  1. Choose your objective: Select from awareness, lead generation, app installs, or online sales.

  2. Set your budget: View your estimated results based on how much you intend to spend. Start and stop your ad anytime, and set and control daily and lifetime spend limits.

  3. Build your audience: Define through demographics and interests the potential customers you want to reach.

  4. Customize your ad creative: Combine a photo or video, a concise message, and a call to action to get your ad to pop.

  5. Check your results: See how your ad is doing at any time, and use insights to increase its effectiveness.

Get started today.

1 Source: “Salesforce Report: Nearly 90% Of Buyers Say Experience a Company Provides Matters as Much as Products or Services”, May 10, 2022, Salesforce, [salesforce.com]
2 Source: “What We Can Learn from Omnichannel Statistics for 2022”, April 5, 2022, Bernard Meyer, [omnisend.com]
3 90% of 13-to-24-year-olds in 20+ countries. Snap Inc. internal data Q2 2022. Penetration calculated as MAU divided by 2021 population estimates, per United Nations World Population Prospects, 2022.
4 On average. Snap Inc. internal data Q4 2020. (Full stat: On average, Snapchatters opened Snapchat over 30 times every day in Q4 2020.) (Source: Snap internal)
5 On average. Snap Inc. internal data Q1 2020. See Snap Inc. public filings with the SEC. (Source: Snap internal)
6 2022 Global Crowd DNA Study commissioned by Snap Inc. | Base: Gen Z - Daily Snapchatters = 2,092 Daily TikTok = 2,223 Daily Instagram = 2,150 Daily Facebook = 1,227 Daily Messenger = 1,088 Daily Whatsapp = 1,554 Daily Twitter = 1,101 | Q: Which of the following moments do you enjoy sharing or celebrating on each app? (NET: When I’ve bought something I love, When I’m shopping) (Source: Snap internal)