Behind the Buzzwords: Omnichannel

We’re living in a marketing world that is inundated with buzzwords. Sometimes, they make sense. Other times, they’re trendy hype words that have lost their real meaning through overuse, misuse, and lack of understanding. In our new content series, Behind the Buzzwords, ANNUITAS will break down the complex jargon you see trending in go-to-market thought-leadership and help you cut through the noise to contextualize it for your organization

What does this word mean?

Originally used to describe retailers with both websites and brick-and-mortar stores, omnichannel is now an industry buzzword you see everywhere. 

Marketing Evolution defines omnichannel marketing as the integration and cooperation of the various digital and physical channels (e.g., catalogs, SEO blog content, organic and paid social media) organizations use to interact with consumers, with the goal of delivering a consistent experience. Done right, an omnichannel experience guides your target customers along each stage of the buying process, meeting them where they are, with the right message, and at the right time. 

But of course, doing it right is easier said than done.

What’s the Problem?

Omnichannel marketing, the way a lot of companies handle it, might as well be called the “throwing spaghetti” approach. Instead of developing a strategy and choosing the channels that are best-suited for delivering results, too many marketing professionals instead opt to bombard customers through any and every channel with no regard to where they are in their buying process , leading to a classic problem of “quantity over quality” and causing frustration. 

While this approach might work if your end goal is to maximize vanity metrics like clicks or impressions, it’ll rarely serve you well if you want to drive conversions and sales. Instead, you’ll likely just end up wasting a lot of money on a bunch of channels that aren’t relevant to your target audience, or serve up content in channels that don’t match whatever stage of the buying process your prospects are in. 

The Right Approach

When it comes to omnichannel marketing, precision is key. Instead of constantly experimenting with your sales and marketing formula with no actual data to back it up, take a moment (or several) to ask yourself some high-level questions to figure out what your end goals are and build out a strategy from there.

Start by asking yourself:

  • Where are your prospects going to get their information, and why? What sources do they trust?
  • Of the channels they use, what purposes do they use each channel for (i.e., what information are they looking for when going to different mediums)? 
  • Does your company have a presence in the channels your potential customers are using? Is your messaging on these channels consistent with what prospects are looking for when they visit them?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, consider going directly to the source and interviewing your existing customers. Even if you think you know what they’ll say, their answers may surprise you – after all, buyer preferences are always changing, and the last few years have been no exception. As customer buying processes become increasingly more complex to navigate, it’s imperative that marketing professionals keep our fingers on the metaphorical pulse of the prospect’s preferences.

When you do, here are some questions to get you started: 

  • What sources do you turn to for trusted information during the buying process? 
  • Are you leveraging different channels and sources of information, depending on what buying stage you’re in?
  • What content formats and mediums do you prefer?
  • At what point during the process (if any) do you want to speak with a sales representative?

Once you’ve gathered your information, it’s time to start aligning your engagement channels accordingly to serve each part of the funnel. Most importantly, no matter where you’re starting from, it’s crucial that you always, always, always (!) collect information and use data to inform your decisions moving forward, tweaking your strategy as needed.

Developing an omnichannel strategy that works for you may take some time, but we promise it’s well worth it. Meet your prospects where they’re at — the ones who are the right fit for your company will be sure to reward you.

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