Omnichannel vs. Multichannel
It is clear that there is a new phrase and idea being used in the marketing and advertising world. Granted, it is not a new concept, but it seems to be taking quite a tight hold on some of the conversations recently.
"Omnichannel marketing" is what I'm referencing. Recently, I sat down with a few industry professionals, and we had a very spirited conversation about omnichannel marketing and if it was really different than multichannel marketing.
There are differences. The Internet has many opinions and definitions, but here are the most commonly understood definitions:
- Omnichannel is the marketing of multichannel strategies but is concentrated more on a seamless approach to the consumer experience through all available channels, i.e., mobile Internet devices, computers, brick-and-mortar, television, radio, direct mail, catalog and so on.
- Multichannel is the ability to interact with potential customers (and current customers) on various platforms. In this sense, a channel might be a retail store; a website; a mail-order catalog; or direct personal communications by letter, email or text message.
In bouncing around the Internet and doing a little research on this topic, I found a quote (that includes another quote) from the Marketo Blog. It's a fantastic post, but I want you to read with caution on where you are and whether you are ready for omnichannel marketing. The post is "The Definition of Omni-Channel Marketing - Plus 7 Tips."
In this post the author writes:
The term "omni-channel" may be a marketing buzzword, but it refers to a significant shift: Marketers now need to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. Consumers can now engage with a company in a physical store, on an online website or mobile app, through a catalog, or through social media. They can access products and services by calling a company on the phone, by using an app on their mobile smartphone, or with a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer. Each piece of the consumer's experience should be consistent and complementary.
So what does that seamless, omni-channel experience actually look like? In the words of John Bowden, Senior VP of Customer Care at Time Warner Cable:
"Multi-channel is an operational view — how you allow the customer to complete transactions in each channel. Omni-channel, however, is viewing the experience through the eyes of your customer, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent. Omni-channel anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution. Making these complex 'hand-offs' between channels must be fluid for the customer. Simply put, omni-channel is multi-channel done right!"
While I think it is confusing to say that "omnichannel is multichannel done right," I get the point. Isn't omnichannel marketing what we've been talking about relative to the donor/constituent experience? Even so, my real question is where should we be focused right now in the nonprofit industry? Here's what I believe:
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.