What is omnichannel marketing?

The best way to understand omnichannel marketing is to break it down into smaller pieces. First, we have ‘omni’ meaning combining from or of all things. When we add in the channel piece to omnichannel, we are now referring to the concept of using all channels to create a single, unified, seamless experience for customers. This includes online and offline channels – websites, CRM, social media, mobile apps, physical stores, etc – and all devices from desktop to mobile and all smart devices in between.

Omnichannel marketing, then, refers to the use of both digital and traditional marketing channels to deliver a seamless message and consistent brand experience. The experience adjusts to customers based on their journey, and is consistent regardless of the point of engagement.

When planning for omnichannel marketing, it is important to think holistically about the customer journey, both in-store and online— all of the places where people interact with your brand. Having a strong understanding of customer engagement, and specifically, where customers engage will also help to inform how to collect unified customer data and ensure that your communication channels are designed to work in concert – not in contrast – to one another.

Chapter 2

What’s the difference between ‘multichannel’ and ‘omnichannel’ marketing?

The key difference between multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing is the ways in which systems work together to engage customers. While both approaches are similar in the sense that they aim to engage customers on various channels, omnichannel marketing focuses on the integrated and consistent nature of engagement on these channels and multichannel is a less-connected approach that is more focused on distribution across channels.


Where multichannel marketing puts the decision of how to engage in the hand of the customer, omnichannel marketing is completely customer-centric, ensuring that no matter which channel a customer chooses, the message will be seamless and consistent with what they have seen elsewhere. Examples of omnichannel marketing include a customer getting an SMS notification from a brand about a discount or special promotion while visiting their brick-and-mortar store in person. Another example is a brand sending a cart abandonment email to a customer who has added a product to their shopping cart during an online shopping session but has decided not to make a purchase.

Chapter 3

What are the benefits of omnichannel marketing?

There are several benefits to an omnichannel marketing approach that make the effort and planning that go into it worthwhile. The first, and most important benefit, is customer satisfaction. With the focus of omnichannel marketing being on the delivery of seamless information and experiences, brands are able to deliver exceptional customer experiences – which is the leading deciding factor for consumers when they are evaluating and choosing to work with a brand.

The benefit of customer satisfaction is also important from a business success and revenue standpoint. With satisfaction comes customer retention and loyalty which can have significant impacts on revenue – some studies showing that an increase in customer retention by just 5% can lead to profit increases between 25% to 95%.

In addition to customer satisfaction, additional benefits brands achieve when they shift to an omnichannel approach include:

  • 360-degree customer view: Through omnichannel marketing, you can not only collect customer data from disparate channels, but you can eliminate silos and unify data as you bring together device IDs, cookies, POS data, rewards app and loyalty program information, and more. All of this aids in the creation of a full customer profile which then leads to stronger personalization efforts, better campaign design, marketing automation, better customer support, and a more comprehensive understanding of customer needs – all of which contribute to a better user experience and high conversion rates.
  • Teamwork and synergy: Integration is at the heart of omnichannel marketing and not just from the end-user standpoint, but from an internal process standpoint as well. With an omnichannel marketing strategy, marketing teams will need to work with relevant stakeholders from across the business to coordinate marketing campaigns, messaging, and distribution, while also sharing the same customer data – thus increasing collaboration as teams work towards a common goal.
  • Cost-effective marketing: The data collected from omnichannel marketing will help identify exactly what is working and driving engagement and what’s not. Having this data means that brands can tailor strategies more effectively as they will have deeper insights into what their omnichannel customers look like, retention rates and the channels or methods delivering higher ROI.

Chapter 4

How does headless enable omnichannel marketing?

Having a headless content management system (CMS) in place allows marketers and content teams to create content once and display it across all devices and channels. Since the omnichannel experience is all about seamless distribution of messaging and information, a headless CMS helps teams efficiently and effectively distribute content across channels while also being able to collect customer data in real-time from those touchpoints that feed into the 360-degree customer view. Ultimately, this creates a consistent brand experience.

Chapter 5

Why develop an omnichannel marketing strategy?

The modern consumer is impulsive and unpredictable – with infinite ways to shop but they have limited time and attention. As a result, a single task can take minutes or months. People bounce around among digital and real-world channels. They often begin a purchase in one place and finish it later, using a different device. All the while, they expect brands to follow this journey as it unfolds, anticipating their needs, and providing a delightful experience every step of the way.

This is the new reality of omnichannel marketing. Already, brands are adapting to these changing consumer demands and expectations in different ways, from offering the option to place an order online and pick up in store to delivering increasingly relevant, personalized content at the right time on the right digital channel.

Chapter 6

Is omnichannel marketing right for my business?

The short answer is yes. Any business that is trying to grab the attention of consumers in an age where customer experience is a key influencer in decision making should have a plan to execute omnichannel marketing. That being said, it is important to have the right strategy and tools in place first to make sure that your experience executing omnichannel marketing is as seamless as the consistent experience you aim to deliver to your customers. By improving the buyer’s journey you can drive customer loyalty and achieve real results through your marketing efforts.

Chapter 7

The basics of omnichannel marketing strategies

When you’re ready to begin planning an omnichannel marketing strategy, it’s best to set clear objectives and start with a small test project. Consider these five aspects to frame the initiative and see Implementing Omnichannel Marketing for more guidance:

  1. Journey mapping: How well do you understand customer personas and what behavior is typical on each available channel? Get a clear picture of how people interact with the brand by observing the patterns, testing the process yourself, and inviting direct feedback.
  2. Team: Omnichannel marketing is a transformative undertaking – one that requires significant cross-department coordination. Make sure to get your team aligned with executive buy-in from the start.
  3. Data sharing: Breaking down silos is essential to successful omnichannel marketing. Talk to your peers across the company to plan how you will share customer information and insights.
  4. Technology infrastructure: Do you have the right marketing tools and technology stack in place to gather and analyze data across channels and deliver personalized content at scale? A unified platform can introduce efficiency by managing the entire customer experience from end-to-end.
  5. Audience segments: Identify key audience segments for targeted brand messages and study their interests. Then prioritize a few channels and consider starting with a single campaign to test the process.
  6. Evaluation: Define and measure success metrics, then iterate continually to optimize results.

The stakes for embracing omnichannel marketing are high and climbing. “Today, consumers expect to buy on the computer, phone, or at the stand in the store and choose delivery at home, in the store, in a pre-set location, or in the trunk of their car. A retailer that cannot do this today loses out on around 10%-30% of sales,” writes Professor Carlos Cordon for executive education firm IMD.

Lowe’s Canada understood this trend when the company decided to modernize its website to support home improvement projects. A completely revamped omnichannel experience led to higher mobile sales, increased sales of in-stock items, and a higher average online order value.

You’ll know that the omnichannel marketing strategy is working its magic when you have visibility across channels, conversions start to climb, customer sentiment is positive, and repeat business becomes the norm.

Chapter 8

What does omnichannel success look like?

Consumers are becoming old pros at the omnichannel experience. They’ve accessed a rewards app to order coffee, searched a retailer’s website for a certain appliance or booked travel plans.

Successful omnichannel marketing examples include:

  • Starbucks’ rewards app: Customers can add credit to their loyalty card via the brand’s website, mobile device, in-store or on the mobile app. Any changes get real-time updates across all channels, all while gaining rewards points for future purchases.
  • For a family’s vacation, an entertainment venue’s omnichannel approach builds a strong customer relationship by managing every step of the trip, from finding dining options to acting as a hotel room key. The mobile app can also geo-target attractions, set up fast passes, and view the estimated wait time for each.