Whether you notice it or not, all marketers are participating in either multi-channel or omni-channel marketing. You’ve probably heard of both terms, but you may be unclear on the distinction between the two. It is important to recognize this distinction in order to make decisions about how to effectively use them. We’re here to help with that.

So, What is multi-channel marketing? 

Multi-channel marketing is often called cross channel marketing. It describes marketing efforts to interact with audiences through multiple channels. Channels used by marketers may be indirect, direct, online, or offline, but will generally consist of some combination of these.

Like omni-channel marketing, multi-channel marketing is great because it takes takes advantage of the multitude of channels your customers may use. Your customers may use social media, mobile apps, receive emails, newspapers, hear radio ads, etc. Your point-of-contact could be anywhere. Multi-channel marketing allows you to convey your message wherever your audience is. 

Essentially, multi-channel marketing allows you to post branded content on multiple channels. The content could be the same across all channels, or it could be different. However, this strategy works best when you have a cohesive message to post across all of your chosen channels. 

Success with Multi-channel Marketing

A recent study by BigCommerce shows, young audiences are rarely buying products or services from traditional physical stores. For marketers, it is important to conduct your marketing strategy towards digital channels to appeal to young audiences. That said, based on your audience, the channels you choose to post on may vary. Using multiple channels will allow you to expand your audience and reach them wherever they are. 

Success in reaching a wide audience with multi-channel marketing comes when content is posted at the same time across several channels. Deciding which combination of channels to use, and which message you choose to send is up to you. But to ensure success, you should post your message wherever the right audiences are. 

For example, if you advertise in magazines or newspapers, you should make sure you are selecting the right magazines and newspapers to run your ads within. Different groups of people will read Golf Magazine, Vogue, or People. Your audience should be distinguished based on interests, buyer behavior, age, location, buying power, etc. Your message should be strategically posted through magazines and newspapers taking into consideration your audience’s unique characteristics and preferences. 

So, how is omni-channel marketing different? 

We’ve written a blog post that covers the basics of omni-channel marketing, but if you don’t have the time to read that, we will address the basics of it here.

Unlike the multi-channel strategy, designed with the distribution channels and a cohesive message in mind, an Omni-channel marketing strategy will address the messages based on your customers’ preferences and behavior. It assumes the marketer will adjust and transition the message as the customer moves across channels. This strategy works well when you are trying to increase awareness for your brand and push customers to make a purchase. Multi-channel marketing, however, will share one message across multiple channels in hope of reaching a wider audience.

The Basics to Remember about Omni-channel Marketing

Omni-channel marketing allows you to take advantage of all means of communication, or “channels” to create a strong, unified, and cooperative message for your customers as they move into making a purchase decision.  Omni-channel marketing allows you to communicate with your customers through every step of this process seamlessly.

This strategy assumes customers may start at one channel and move to another as they progress through their customer journey into purchase decision. As customers move through the awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, and purchase processes they will interact with your business through different channels.

Omni-channel marketing can ensure customers receive your company’s message when, where, and how they like to communicate. Adjusting your message across several channels can ensure your customers move from the initial awareness stage to the final purchase state seamlessly.

An omni-channel marketing strategy will be a highly effective multi-channel marketing strategy. It will provide customers with the ability to interact with your brand through multiple channels through their purchase journey. It will transition with them as they move from one channel to another. Your effective omni-channel strategy will help customers progress to a purchase decision in an easy and natural matter.