What is Omnichannel-Marketing?

Support your customers along the entire customer journey

“Omni” comes from the Latin and means “everyone” or “all”. From a marketing point of view and as an addition to the channels, this refers to the inclusion of all touchpoints in the approach to customers. Touchpoints to the customer can be found online and offline, digital and analogue, and they include both the sales and information channels. It is a new marketing discipline that takes customers into account across all channels, whether for sales or information purposes. And this is the big difference from multichannel or cross-channel marketing. In multichannel marketing, the advertising company also offers the customer several different channels, but not all of them.

In addition, the channels are used independently of one another and are therefore not interrelated, as is the case in omnichannel marketing. Cross-channel marketing, on the other hand, describes all the activities of a company in relation to the purchase, which means that the customer receives additional information that could trigger a purchase on all of the different channels. But given today’s age of information, we are aware that sales are not always the first concern. The focus is on an unlimited, seamless customer experience and this is only possible with omnichannel marketing.

“Omni” comes from the Latin and means “everyone” or “all”. From a marketing point of view and as an addition to the channels, this refers to the inclusion of all touchpoints in the approach to customers. Touchpoints to the customer can be found online and offline, digital and analogue, and they include both the sales and information channels. It is a new marketing discipline that takes customers into account across all channels, whether for sales or information purposes. And this is the big difference from multichannel or cross-channel marketing. In multichannel marketing, the advertising company also offers the customer several different channels, but not all of them. In addition, the channels are used independently of one another and are therefore not interrelated, as is the case in omnichannel marketing. Cross-channel marketing, on the other hand, describes all the activities of a company in relation to the purchase, which means that the customer receives additional information that could trigger a purchase on all of the different channels. But given today’s age of information, we are aware that sales are not always the first concern. The focus is on an unlimited, seamless customer experience and this is only possible with omnichannel marketing.

What is the advantage of using
omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing means reacting to the customer on all touchpoints. It is not for nothing that omnichannel marketing is also often called “all-channel marketing”. Only omnichannel marketing ensures that a cannibalisation effect does not occur among the different channels. Because the focus is on the customer experience as a whole. Therefore, the goals of omnichannel marketing are also shifting or rather moving towards one overall goal. The focus is on the smooth flow of information at all contact points, instead of individual channel-related customer experiences.

Why should companies take all touchpoints into consideration?

Nothing is more important for a company than recognising how a potentially interested party becomes a customer. The touchpoints are an important tool here, because the customers leave behind traces on their individual customer journey using these touchpoints. It can be extremely advantageous for companies to see which points of contact make which contribution. This means looking at which channel arouses interest, which leads to the decision to purchase, and which is a source of enquiries. The touchpoints that cannot be controlled by the company itself, such as editorial reporting or personal opinions on social networks, are particularly interesting.

Once the touchpoints have been identified and analysed, the primary goal is to use this information to create the potential for optimisation. Each channel is assigned its own role and is further developed. If, for example, a company realises that the print catalogue is becoming less important but the web shop has more visitors, it can consider whether it should also offer its catalogue in digital form and therefore close the circle of a holistic customer approach.

Nothing is more important for a company than recognising how a potentially interested party becomes a customer. The touchpoints are an important tool here, because the customers leave behind traces on their individual customer journey using these touchpoints. It can be extremely advantageous for companies to see which points of contact make which contribution. This means looking at which channel arouses interest, which leads to the decision to purchase, and which is a source of enquiries. The touchpoints that cannot be controlled by the company itself, such as editorial reporting or personal opinions on social networks, are particularly interesting.

Once the touchpoints have been identified and analysed, the primary goal is to use this information to create the potential for optimisation. Each channel is assigned its own role and is further developed. If, for example, a company realises that the print catalogue is becoming less important but the web shop has more visitors, it can consider whether it should also offer its catalogue in digital form and therefore close the circle of a holistic customer approach.

What technological and systemic prerequisites must there be for omnichannel marketing to be possible?

This depends primarily on the products that the company offers. If these are products rather than services, PIM systems are required to operate effective product information management. Complemented by a MAM system, this creates the foundations for a complete, visual product experience. However, in order for all touchpoints to be utilised with the right product at the right time and, above all, in the channel-appropriate version, a higher-level system is required – the brain of omnichannel marketing.

This combines all systems, information and output channels to orchestrate an effective customer experience. It is impossible for manual exporting to allow the integration and the interplay of the channels which such a system automatically accomplishes. Omnichannel marketing therefore always requires the right technological prerequisites or systems in order for the customer to experience it.

This depends primarily on the products that the company offers. If these are products rather than services, PIM systems are required to operate effective product information management. Complemented by a MAM system, this creates the foundations for a complete, visual product experience. However, in order for all touchpoints to be utilised with the right product at the right time and, above all, in the channel-appropriate version, a higher-level system is required – the brain of omnichannel marketing.

This combines all systems, information and output channels to orchestrate an effective customer experience. It is impossible for manual exporting to allow the integration and the interplay of the channels which such a system automatically accomplishes. Omnichannel marketing therefore always requires the right technological prerequisites or systems in order for the customer to experience it.

What are the biggest obstacles for companies who wish to operate using omnichannel marketing?

The biggest obstacle is believing that omnichannel marketing is possible to achieve without the right system support or with makeshift solutions which don’t focus on omnichannel marketing. Once this hurdle has been overcome, some preliminary work must be done before an omnichannel marketing system can be put into operation: the analysis of customer behaviour. As already mentioned, a company must first understand how the customer journey is structured before it can support a system.

All touchpoints should therefore be identified at the start of a project. After this, the customer journey can be modelled. Because only when we understand how our potential customer thinks and acts, is it possible to address them personally and individually using an omnichannel marketing system. Once this work is completed, the system will be set up with all the necessary upstream and downstream interfaces.

 

The biggest obstacle is believing that omnichannel marketing is possible to achieve without the right system support or with makeshift solutions which don’t focus on omnichannel marketing. Once this hurdle has been overcome, some preliminary work must be done before an omnichannel marketing system can be put into operation: the analysis of customer behaviour. As already mentioned, a company must first understand how the customer journey is structured before it can support a system.

All touchpoints should therefore be identified at the start of a project. After this, the customer journey can be modelled. Because only when we understand how our potential customer thinks and acts, is it possible to address them personally and individually using an omnichannel marketing system. Once this work is completed, the system will be set up with all the necessary upstream and downstream interfaces.

Within the company, who exactly should be involved in the design, planning and control of
omnichannel marketing?

As omnichannel encompasses all channels surrounding one customer, the planning and design should not be considered in isolation. Marketing is of course still the central interface when it comes to approaching customers for the first time. But there should always be an “omni-view” of all points of contact. It is therefore advisable to have on board all managers/employees who communicate with customers. This can be the e-commerce manager with his web shop or the service employee who answers the questions online or on the phone. However, the social media manager and sales employees should also be included in the design. As is the case with other projects, it is important to appoint a central project manager, and this should usually be someone from marketing.

How does an omnichannel marketing system work?

As all channels and devices must be used effectively, an omnichannel marketing system also centralises all information in one place. It is the leading system for all contact persons, upstream systems and output channels. The system takes the required master data and offers users an interface tailored to their needs, in order to refine this information. Rights and role management with levels of approval ensures that only correctly specified content can be utilised.

Once the content has been prepared and approved for advertising, the logics stored in the system then initiate the automated use of the channels. This assumes that the system has seamless interfaces to the output channels. With an omnichannel marketing system, users only focus on managing effective content. The correct exporting means that the system can function completely automatically, because this is precisely the main characteristic of these specially developed systems.

As all channels and devices must be used effectively, an omnichannel marketing system also centralises all information in one place. It is the leading system for all contact persons, upstream systems and output channels. The system takes the required master data and offers users an interface tailored to their needs, in order to refine this information. Rights and role management with levels of approval ensures that only correctly specified content can be utilised.

Once the content has been prepared and approved for advertising, the logics stored in the system then initiate the automated use of the channels. This assumes that the system has seamless interfaces to the output channels. With an omnichannel marketing system, users only focus on managing effective content. The correct exporting means that the system can function completely automatically, because this is precisely the main characteristic of these specially developed systems.