The customer journey to make a purchase has evolved over the years. It's no longer making a shopping list, heading to a store, and picking out what you want. Now, people use multiple channels for one purchase decision, which is why businesses in many industries, including fashion, healthcare, finance, and technology, are leveraging omnichannel marketing to boost their business.
This article highlights everything you need to know about omnichannel marketing as a B2B seller.
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Omnichannel marketing is an integrated approach of using multiple channels managed by a single management system to promote your brand and improve customer experience. A customer-centric marketing approach integrates your branding, messaging, and advertising as customers move down the sales funnel.
It's simpler than it sounds.
Businesses must invest in marketing to promote their products/services and engage customers. However, to do this effectively, it's best to integrate online (e.g., website) and offline channels (e.g., physical stores) to create consistent brand awareness. This is what omnichannel marketing is. In other words, it involves integrating the multiple channels used to reach customers to create an effective and consistent brand message/experience.
Omnichannel and multichannel marketing are similar concepts in the sense that they both capitalize on the idea of engaging customers across multiple platforms. However, multichannel marketing focuses on completing transactions on a specific channel, while omnichannel marketing ensures consistency and a seamless experience across each platform.
Multichannel marketing focuses on the channel. It aims at distributing content across various channels so that customers can choose the platform to interact with the brand.
Omnichannel focuses on the customer. It is a form of multichannel marketing that considers that customers move across different platforms and channels. For this reason, omnichannel keeps the customer journey in mind and ensures that customers have a consistent and effective experience on all channels.
According to a study, 73% of customers love to shop across several channels, and omnichannel marketing helps businesses meet this need.1 Some of the advantages of omnichannel marketing for online B2B businesses include:
One of the major benefits of omnichannel marketing is that it lets businesses focus on delivering better customer experience across multiple channels. A study shows that 91% of customers buy from brands that provide personalization.2 Omnichannel lets you understand your customer better, which helps you deliver a personalized experience, thus improving customer satisfaction.
Integrating multiple channels makes it easier to create a consistent and identifiable tone/messaging across the channels. Meanwhile, a consistent brand identity improves brand loyalty and increases customer retention. According to a study, organizations that offer a strong omnichannel experience get to retain 89% of their customers.3
An omnichannel marketing approach lets businesses combine offline and online channels to deliver an effective customer experience. Customers do not always shop linearly or exclusively on a single channel. Instead, they move through multiple channels before they make a buying decision. Omnichannel marketing helps create a smooth customer experience by combining offline and online channels. This explains why the number of businesses that started investing in omnichannel increased from 20% in 2012 to 80% in 2022.4
Many customers shuffle between different platforms to interact with brands, and it can be hard to fuse experiences for customers. Omnichannel marketing offers B2B businesses the opportunity to create integrated experiences that boost brand awareness and customer engagement.
An omnichannel marketing approach takes note of the buyer's journey and offers the right message that complements each stage of the journey. This drives more sales and increases revenue as research shows that customers that engage with multiple touchpoints are likely to be 30% more valuable.5
Omnichannel marketing focuses a lot on the customer's journey. That's why most of the steps in creating an omnichannel campaign involve understanding the buyer's journey. Here are some steps that come to mind when trying to build an omnichannel marketing strategy for your business:
Data is crucial in creating an omnichannel marketing strategy because it helps you better understand your customers and their needs. Don't just assume you know who your customers are or what they want and need if you aren't getting data insight.
You can understand your customers' needs, journeys, and how they interact with your brand when you have accurate data. Also, you get to understand the messaging and tone they will likely engage with and the type of products/services they might be looking for. So one of the first steps of building an omnichannel marketing strategy is compiling data across reliable and multiple sources.
Afterward, you will need to analyze the collected data because that is how to get insights into your consumers. Also, you might need to leverage a data analytics tool or platform to identify the trends and patterns in the data you collect.
While your target audience may have similar characteristics, they may not share the same buyer journey. The next stage of your omnichannel marketing campaign is to group your target audience into sub-segments to understand their customer journey better. You can segment your users based on common patterns like behavior, demography, purchase history, etc. This will help you create the right content for each segment of your target audience. If your message is irrelevant to your target audience, then the strategy isn't effective.
The next step in developing an omnichannel strategy is to map out the buyer journey for your target audience segments. This means you need to identify the steps your customers will take from when they discover your brand to when they purchase from you. Also, identify the factors that may hinder or accelerate their decision to buy from your brand.
You may have noticed from the definition of omnichannel marketing that there is a lot of focus on 'consistency.' An important step in launching an omnichannel campaign is creating brand guidelines you must adhere to across all your channels.
A brand guideline ensures that all the different channels you use work together to deliver a consistent customer experience. Also, ensure you update your brand guidelines to match your customers' journey and insights from the data collected.
You will need some tools and techniques to build successful omnichannel marketing. Some of the tools you will need to include:
These tools will be useful to strategize your customer journey and deliver the best messaging. Take time researching and identifying the best tools you need for a successful omnichannel marketing approach.
Another step in successful omnichannel marketing is identifying the channels your customers use the most and where you can interact with them. Choose the channels and platforms you will employ for your marketing and ensure you follow your brand guidelines when rolling out content on each channel.
One of the essential steps of the omnichannel approach is testing your strategy now and then to help optimize your campaign and improve your efforts. Ensure you track important marketing metrics to evolve with your omnichannel marketing approach. Also, take advantage of the proper testing and analytics tools to determine ways to improve your marketing campaigns and make better decisions.
Here are some helpful tips to help you improve your omnichannel marketing strategy and create a better customer experience:
Chances are you already have a marketing strategy in place for your business. Try to audit and assess your current marketing strategy to help you find ways you can work it into an omnichannel marketing strategy.
Creating omnichannel marketing considers how your target audience interacts with your brand. For this reason, it's best to take your time to understand your target audience and their different buying journey and then map out a strategy based on this.
Like in multichannel marketing, choosing the right channel is just as important as the strategy itself. Multiple channels are available for business owners, but not all of them will be useful for you. Some channels may be underperforming for your brand, so it's up to you to identify the channels that will work best for your brand and target audience. For successful omnichannel marketing, it's best to identify and analyze the channels your customers use the most and then capitalize on them.
You don't want your brand messaging to be disjointed across platforms because this defeats the purpose of omnichannel marketing. Try to understand your customer's persona, their journey, and needs so that you can deliver a consistent message to the users through the right channels. Also, spend time personalizing your messaging on each channel instead of sending the same message for all channels.
Marketing without data isn't complete, so you will need to leverage accurate data for a successful omnichannel approach. Ensure you have a data collection and analysis strategy to help you gain insight into your marketing approach.
Things are always changing, so what worked two years ago may no longer be effective. With that said, marketers and B2B sellers should stay updated with trends in omnichannel marketing. This will help you boost and optimize your omnichannel marketing campaign to meet your target market's current needs and situation.
Omnichannel isn't just about creating consistent brand messaging and delivering a personalized experience. This means creating personalized messages for every customer and engaging with them. Be it social media, email, in-store, text messaging, or online chat, keep all channels open for customer interaction,
No matter the strategy you want to employ for your business, you should not skip the important step of measuring your efforts and results. After implementing your marketing strategy, take your time to measure the campaign's effectiveness. This step is important because it helps you identify your strengths, weaknesses, and the things you need to resolve for better results.
It's a hyperconnected world, so it's great to leverage omnichannel marketing to meet the needs of today's tech-savvy and demanding consumers. Brands need to deliver a seamless customer experience throughout the stages of the buyer's journey. One of the ways to do this is by investing in an omnichannel marketing approach.
Thankfully, you can leverage platforms like Alibaba.com to increase your visibility and customer reach. Alibaba.com is a global marketplace with features integrated into one platform.
With Alibaba.com, B2B businesses can:
To get started with Alibaba.com, open a seller account for free, post your products and reach millions of active buyers from different countries.