- Businesses that have a strong omnichannel marketing strategy attain 89% greater customer retention rates compared to those that don’t.
- The frequency of completed purchases is 250% higher for businesses that employ omnichannel marketing strategies vs. single channel.
- The average value of completed purchases is 13% higher per order for omnichannel vs. single channel.
- Businesses with extremely strong omnichannel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies without.
But it’s not as simple as running campaigns on different channels. The average consumer uses six touch points per purchase, and 90% expect all interactions to be consistent regardless of channel. It requires the right tools, organization of data and processes to do omnichannel marketing well. It also takes analyzing how your channels interact in conjunction with your buying cycle so you can use each to inform the other and optimize based on your learnings.
Let’s look at seven of the most popular channels and how they can each play a role in your omnichannel marketing strategy. (Spoiler alert: not all are digital!)
Mobile is the linchpin of successful omnichannel marketing
Eighty-five percent of Americans now own a smartphone, and 15% are “smartphone-only” internet users with no home Internet. Fifty-eight percent spend more than three hours on their phone each day. This means mobile presents a huge opportunity to influence the customer journey as part of an omnichannel marketing strategy. When you consider that consumers also use their mobile devices to consume social media content and check email, which we’ll get into more below, mobile becomes even more critical. Two-thirds of Americans say they sleep with their phone, presenting a unique opportunity to even reach users when they are going to bed, if they wake up at night or first thing in the morning.
Mobile marketing is more than just static display ads. The use of mobile video advertising gets your message across, especially in the early awareness stage of a campaign, and can be more engaging, precisely targeted and cost-effective compared to other formats. More than three-quarters of US adults spend up to two hours watching short-form digital video content each day, largely on mobile devices. Consider factors like sound off, video length, screen size and aspect ratio when designing mobile video ads. There are also several mobile video ad formats, such as in-stream, interstitial and in-app, to explore based on your campaign type and goals.
Social increasingly captures consumer attention and intent
In 2020, the pandemic forced almost all social interactions to go online, truly highlighting the “social” in social media. In 2022, there were a whopping 302 million U.S. social media users. The advent of social commerce has helped cut down the length of the purchase cycle on this channel, ramping up advertiser investment. Now, a social media user can effectively move from awareness to purchase in a matter of minutes simply by watching a livestream product demo or video.
Insights from Pew Research show the breakdown of social media use by demographics. Women are more likely than men to use platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but the opposite is true for Twitter. Facebook’s highest penetration is among those ages 30-49, while Instagram’s and Twitter’s are Gen Z and young Millennials. These, in addition to past engagement with marketing channels, are factors to consider when crafting social media strategy and messaging.
What’s more, consumers spent over a quarter of mobile app time on social media in 2021, meaning there is an opportunity to reach users via both channels at the same time. So, for instance, if a customer shows interest in moving to digital adoption on mobile, you can follow up with messaging on social media to nurture them through the buyer journey. The key is to track their response across these channels and continually update your content and creative to nurture them through the funnel.
Email becomes an old channel with new applications
Email is among the top marketing channels for every industry due to its fast setup/execution, ability to increase campaign volume, and cost-effectiveness. That’s why it made a comeback in the pandemic as ad spend in other channels fluctuated due to brand safety concerns around COVID-19. With 80% of the US population using email, it’s easy to reach a large majority of your audience and also segment them into appropriate buckets. Therefore, email is a channel that should be used throughout the buyer journey, allowing you to send a variety of offers that map to each funnel stage.
Marketers, however, must consider both a mobile and desktop format. Ninety-eight percent of US consumers toggle between devices at least once a day, including when accessing email. In addition, 59% of Millennials primarily use their smartphone to check email, and 67% of Generation Z scans their inbox on mobile. To reach these different customer segments, utilize a platform that provides drag-and-drop templates for ease of use, and automate campaign sends using built-in predictive capabilities mapped to customer response.
Display and Retargeting
Despite the rise of other digital media channels, display advertising and retargeting remain marketing mainstays. Also known as banner ads, display ads appear on websites, in apps, and on social media channels. One of the best applications of display advertising is retargeting, which is when you target a user who has already visited your website with ads on other parts of the internet. Research shows that retargeting works much better than untargeted display ads: retargeted ads see 10X clickthrough rates on average than display ads.
Marketers are increasingly buying display advertising programmatically—meaning a machine automates the serving of ads in real-time. Insider Intelligence predicts that over 90% of all digital display ad dollars will transact programmatically in 2022. Programmatic media is one area marketers are increasingly outsourcing due to the knowledge and experience it requires and the proliferation of ad platforms through which to serve ads. In fact, of marketers surveyed by Merkle in February 2020, 45% say they currently outsource this skillset. If you’re thinking of doing the same, the most important characteristic to look for in your partner is transparency. You should know at every turn how your ad dollars are being spent and the ROI they are producing.
Paid and Organic Search
Over 90% of online experiences start with a search engine. Two-thirds of marketers feel SEO is an effective strategy for hitting their marketing goals, and there’s good reason why. Organic search traffic is a whopping 1,000% higher than organic social media, and 75% of shoppers like paid search ads because they make it easier to find the information they need.
Paid and organic search is a marketing tactic that requires deep expertise and access to SEO tools that can uncover the best keyword opportunities to pursue for your brand. If paid and organic search aren’t skill sets you have internally, it pays to outsource. The above Merkle research shows that 45% of marketers outsource search while just under 44% outsource SEO. Look for partners who can lend a hand with strategy, reporting, and ongoing optimization, and can also connect your paid and organic strategy to your overall display advertising and retargeting program.
SMS is an incredibly personal, mass-reach, and timebound advertising medium, with an average open rate of 98%+ and texts read within three seconds of receipt. It’s also an incredibly useful channel for omnichannel marketing.
While SMS engagement rates can be up to eight times higher than email, the two are great channels to consider using together. If you’re driving a short-lived promotional offer, for instance, you can text a link to a longer email with the details to increase the chance of a user reading your message. Really, any high-urgency transactional or marketing message can be sent via SMS. What’s important to keep in mind is that your tone, messaging, and creative should be consistent across SMS and other channels with which you use. For instance, if a customer is part of a welcome email program, any SMS communications should map to their prior relationship with and experience of your brand.
SMS is governed by a number of regulations that can make compliance tricky. There are also many boxes to tick to ensure message delivery, such as character and daily send limits and keywords. Work with a trusted partner and your own in-house legal/data-privacy team to ensure your SMS strategy and communications are up to snuff.
Direct mail is making a comeback and producing an average ROI 23% higher than digital channels. With offline and online channels increasingly being used together to reach consumers, direct mail can provide a great companion to email and other digital media. Research has found that leveraging the power of email, direct mail, and digital services together has a proven 30%+ lift in results. (Source: InfoTrends) You can also follow up direct mail campaigns with other digital touchpoints like social media posts and QR codes.
But to do direct mail well, you first need accurate, reliable data to produce your contact list, and to then target and segment it, using data-driven personalization. You might also need to append your own customer data to round out your customer profiles and achieve the highest response rates and ROI.
The tools of the omnichannel trade
Omnichannel marketing simply can’t be done well if you use multiple disparate systems with siloed data. A single platform that integrates with your other systems and unites all your data will help you better understand not only your customers, but also which channels are working best and when to optimize them.
Pulling all the levers necessary to properly execute omnichannel marketing can take a lot of work to do in-house. Seek out a partner with digital media expertise that can help you plan, manage, and optimize marketing based on individualized campaign needs and objectives. The right partner can also help you stay ahead of digital media trends and emerging channels that can help you better engage with both customers and prospects. Consider outsourcing this area of your business to free up time for core competencies that will drive competitive advantage and growth.