Today there are a number of channel strategies and it is important as a marketer to know the terminology and understand how the techniques differ.
What Are the Differences?
Though those three terms sound alike, you should understand how the techniques differ:
Multi-Channel merely means you are communicating with customers and prospects using multiple methods. A campaign that features direct mail, email, and newspaper inserts would be an example of a multi-channel strategy. It’s not exactly a new idea, though modern technology has increased the number of available channels.
Cross-Channel is the next step in customer communication evolution. If a customer uses more than one channel in a single interaction, you are using cross-channel techniques. A direct mail marketing letter or a catalog directing customers to an online e-commerce web site to make a purchase is an excellent application of cross-channel communications. This is powerful and effective. Studies have shown cross-channel campaigns are more effective than a single-channel approach. Partners like Earthcolor can help you design, execute, and track cross-channel campaigns.
Omni-Channel is the ultimate goal for many organizations, but is the hardest to achieve. The distinguishing attributes of an omni-channel strategy are enterprise-wide scope and a customer life cycle approach. Realizing the benefits of an omni-channel communications plan involves more than clever marketing pieces. Departmental cooperation and information sharing are critical components. Adopting an omni-channel communications strategy can spark a corporate-wide cultural revolution.
Omni-channel organizations collect data from customer interactions across all channels. This information is subsequently used to influence future messaging. To customers, the relationship is seamless. Regardless of the channels they use, their experience is consistent. Omni-channel strategies allow companies to consider customers as individuals, rather than participants in a series of unconnected transactions.
Should You Just Go for Omni-Channel?
Each of the channel strategies is useful. Though improved customer experience through an omni-channel strategy may be the target, it could take years of effort to revise and connect all the internal systems facilitating customer contact and two-way messaging. As organizations work on overhauling their business practices, they can use multi-channel and cross-channel communication methods to improve campaign performance.
Want to upgrade your marketing efforts to include multi-channel or cross-channel techniques? Contact us! EarthColor will be happy to show you how these ideas can improve your results.