Today’s consumers have become more proficient in technology, using multiple devices and online channels for all phases in the path to purchase. This always-connected consumer expects businesses to connect with them on their terms, using whatever method they prefer, and with relevant and timely content. As technology evolves, so must the way companies build personalized, cross-channel tactics into their marketing strategies.
There are three core marketing strategies used to reach the digitally-connected consumer.
Multi-channel marketing means delivering your message using more than one channel, but the channels are in isolation of one another. Consumers may choose which channel to communicate or purchase from (device, in-person, telephone), but consumers cannot seamlessly move between the various communication channels without communication between channels. For example, if a customer begins a dialog via email, then later chooses to use text, each interaction remains independent. All actions taken throughout the buyer’s journey are siloed, requiring manual data integration. Multi-channel marketing provides little opportunity for creating a genuinely consumer-centric experience.
Cross-channel tactics synchronize all marketing initiatives to deliver a consistent message and experience across all marketing channels. Although each channel remains independent, the channel campaigns are integrated. Communication in cross-channel marketing is based on a sales funnel approach, key messaging at each touchpoint, and at each stage of a buyer’s journey designed to facilitate ongoing communication while moving potential customers down the funnel. With a cross-channel approach, customers can use several communication channels in unison, thus putting the consumer’s preferences first and foremost.
Omni-Channel Marketing takes elements from both multi-channel and cross-channel marketing to create the most interactive, customer-centric experience available. An omni-channel strategy recognizes a consumers’ path of discovery takes place across multiple channels and devices, delivering the same message on each. More importantly, this strategy enables brands to provide messaging wherever and whenever they prefer while integrating personalized 1:1 content based on user data. As today’s consumers use multiple touchpoints throughout a single purchase journey, seamlessly integrating customer support via the consumer’s preferred communication method (email, text, social messaging), and delivering customized content throughout the buyer’s journey, is the ultimate goal.
A complete omni-channel program is the cream of the marketing strategy crop. Still, the complexity in integrating the various techniques to achieve success leaves this program unattainable for most small companies. One of the biggest challenges with omni-channel marketing is collecting and interpreting data to use in an impactful, hyper-personalized way. The ability to take user data, tailor personalized messaging based on the buyer’s journey, and across the consumer’s preferred communication channel(s) requires a third-party platform capable of AI and predictive analytics to deliver 1:1 consumer personalization.
Are you applying these strategies to your marketing plan?
Moving from one marketing approach to another is a daunting decision and can seem overwhelming. Understanding the differences and determining which strategy best supports your objectives is the first step. As technology continues to evolve, businesses will need to overcome the fear of change and adopt strategies that embrace a consumer-centric mindset or risk getting left behind the competition.
Maximum: Creating marketing strategies for destination and lifestyle properties for over 20 years. Let’s get started!