How OmniChannel Marketing is Like An Onion


“OmniChannel marketing” has been popping up in my Twitter feed lately, and I was curious to know more about this buzzword, so I’ve dug a little deeper and here’s what I’ve learned. The simplest way I’ve heard it described basically says its about taking multi-channel marketing to the next level. So, it’s no longer just about being present across multiple channels, it’s about having a strategy for being on the right channels, with the right messaging and making the interaction between those channels seamless. A great example of an omni-channel user experience would be Netflix. You can start watching a series on your TV at home in the morning, pick up right where you left off on your mobile device during your commute and curl up in bed with your tablet to finish it before bed. Now, take that same idea and imagine it applied to your marketing strategy.

Since I find it difficult to remove food from any equation, I started thinking that an omni-channel marketing strategy could be compared to a good, fat onion. Here’s what I mean.

1) OmniChannel messaging is layered: Layering your messaging is where multi-channel marketing begins. It’s about ensuring you are present across multiple platforms. For example, let’s say you have a retail store. You might connect with your customers using physical flyers and subway ads, add to that some promoted Facebook posts and regular tweet-chats directly with your customers and round that out with some ads on a popular local radio station. It’s important to be present in multiple places, to continue gently prompting someone with your message. I have a colleague who phrases it well in saying that you won’t necessarily know which message ultimately compels someone to act – sometimes it’s the third or fourth time you hear about something that it really sticks.

2) Each message is unique: Much like each individual onion is unique, your messaging needs to be customized for each platform. Though your voice should be consistent, the way you frame your message will be slightly different to adapt to each format.

3) Each layer is connected: So now your message exists in multiple layers and your communications are targeted for each one. Now it’s important to ensure those layers are connected so that the experience for your audience is as seamless as possible. A simple example could be including hashtags on your printed materials to enable someone who picks up your brochure to join the conversation online.

“We are creating increasingly complex layers of digital connection between our companies and our customers. Mastering these layers (and integrating traditional advertising) through a uniform and consistent communication strategy represents the OmniChannel challenge.” – {grow} blog via @markwschaefer (10 things you need to know NOW about OmniChannel marketing)

Like an onion, your OmniChannel strategy is the base of your approach; it’s the start of the roux that will make your interactions with your audience robust and give them depth. If you peeled back the layers of your marketing strategy, would you find a layered, customized and seamless campaign? What are some other analogies you’ve heard about omni-channel marketing?



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