omnichannel vs. multichannel
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Multichannel vs. Omnichannel Marketing

Competing for Attention

The 21st century has become a hotbed for the development of breakthrough technology. These developments are revolutionizing how we interact with each other. They are changing how we shop, how we learn, and how we consume entertainment. There is a change in how we conduct business and even how we travel. Therefore an omnichannel marketplace has been born.

In the entertainment industry, the competition within the content landscape is bigger than ever. The number of digital mediums are skyrocketing everyday. The competition for content visibility is not just confined to radio, TV, print, and social media. Today, competition is not in the number of digital channels but for the attention of the consumer. There are so many things that are pulling the attention of consumers, that it becomes increasingly difficult to get it. The omnichannel experience has become necessary. And nowhere in history has this happened before.

In its earnings report, Netflix estimates that in the US, it earns roughly 10% of television screen time. The earnings are slightly less for total mobile screen time. That percentage decreases in other countries due to lower penetration of their service. They go on to say that their biggest competition is “Fortnite more than HBO”. 

Similar to the entertainment industry, businesses are also struggling to command the attention of consumers with marketing. There are more marketing strategies than ever before. Multichannel and omnichannel marketing are just two of many that companies use to get awareness. These two types are both distinct on their own. They both focus on the use of a variety of platforms to reach consumers and businesses. Yet, it is for this reason, that it can be confusing to differentiate one from the other.

Multichannel: The More the Merrier

When a marketing strategy gets spread out across multiple platforms it is multichannel marketing. It maximizes the chances of making possible connections with individual consumers and businesses alike. These channels could be email and print ads, broadcast TV and radio, websites and social media, email or brick-and-mortar. It could even be SMS and cold calling. Every medium is separate and independent from each other and differs in how it disseminates information.

The goal is to get the word out through the most number of channels possible. It’s about “…casting the widest net to get the most customer engagement.” 

Just over a decade ago, when a consumer wanted to buy a computer, they would browse through the selection of one, maybe two department stores. Then they would compare brands and prices. If they are interested in a specific brand, chances are they either saw it at a print publication or they heard about it through word-of-mouth. Then the internet comes along and we become introduced to a new world of convenience. Where we were able to make purchases online. We no longer have to depend on brick and mortar shops to meet our needs. The internet even did the comparing for us. 

Integration With Channels

And we’re not slowing down. The increase of apps and social media channels has been rapid. As well as, a number of video streaming services. They now integrate ads into their platforms and the possibilities are endless. 

Yet though this may be the case, the Multichannel approach also faces a few challenges. The abundance of channels promotes a lack of integration. This can result in a detached, impersonal, and at times confusing consumer experience. 

A professor at Rutgers Business School says that when companies that have a multichannel strategy, “…likely structure their organization into ‘swim lanes’ focused on each channel, each with their own reporting structure and revenue goals.” Resulting in, what she says is a type of competition. Every so often it “serves the greater good and other times generates friction and misaligned incentives.”

Omnichannel: The Focus on Brand Experience

Omnichannel Marketing, on the other hand, is less concerned about the number of channels the content is disseminated to. It is more concerned with creating a seamless and integrated experience for consumers. It adapts a more unified and streamlined approach that delivers a more consistent and personalized experience across multiple channels. At the core of this approach is the consumer and securing a strong relationship between them and the brand.

But this technique of marketing is not easy to execute. Marketers need to do comprehensive research on their consumer base in order to gain a deep understanding of their demands and what they look for in brand. This knowledge is necessary to be able to identify them across multiple devices and platforms. They need to deconstruct traditional marketing techniques. This ensures that they can restructure and effectively strategize the experience to be consumer-based as opposed to channel-based. It is in this re-strategizing that branding image and messaging creates larger, more meaningful impacts that consider consumer engagement. Retailers, for example, need to reimagine their brick-and-mortar shops as seamlessly accompaniments to their digital platforms. 

The Significance of Branding Consistency

Brand consistency is a key factor in the success of omnichannel marketing. It is a series of expressions that influence the perception of a company. The more consistent the messaging, the more consistent branding becomes. Brand messaging is not just limited to written content, but also to graphics, product and packaging design, offerings and sales promotions. The overarching message that is carried through these mediums ultimately defines what the company is and should work to build a heightened sense of familiarity and awareness with your brand. This develops trust and creates connections with individuals and other businesses that are loyal and meaningful.

Most importantly, keeping maintaining a uniform image within the brand establishes a unified experience with viewers and doesn’t leave any loopholes to be open to interpretations. It solidifies your vision and makes it unmistakable for people to recognize you, as a company. In this instance, repetition is a huge advantage as it drives your identity across.

An ever-shifting brand personality confuses consumers. It’s like when you’re meeting  someone for the first time, and you see them in a tank-top, cargo shorts and flip flops, but the next time you meet them they’re in a five-piece suit, and the next time, they’re in a scuba suit. Now imagine doing business with this person. You’re gonna have trust issues, and you would be concerned about their ability to consistently deliver, all based on their inconsistent appearance. 

This is why it is important that companies should develop standards for brand consistency both on and offline. Each interaction with your brand should represent everything that your brand stands for, its promises, its values and must encourage trust and dependability across all platforms.

Written by
Victoria Billones

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