Considering that 86% of consumers regularly hop across two or more channels — be it a website, a mobile app, social media, or a physical store — successful brands deliver a seamless cross-channel experience.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has established omnichannel interactions as the predominant path for B2B sales, as buyers prefer a cross-channel mix. As such, 83% of organizations recognize omnichannel marketing as crucial for their business and more effective than traditional methods.
Making customers the center of your brand’s every action with omnichannel marketing helps to build trust and relationships with existing and prospective buyers, and is key to engagement.
If done right, an omnichannel approach also helps you retain your audience’s attention in a competitive landscape. However, 55% of companies lag behind as they don’t have any cross-channel strategy in place.
So, where should you start as a marketer? We look at the definition, benefits, and best practices below.
Omnichannel marketing is wrongly used interchangeably with multichannel marketing. In both cases, a brand’s presence is spread across multiple online and offline channels. But unlike the latter, omnichannel marketing prioritizes the customer over the brand.
Omnichannel marketing prioritizes the customer over the brand.
The key aspect of an omnichannel strategy is customer centricity. Customers should be able to access your products and services over the phone, via mobile apps, or from their desktop. Your job as a brand is to synchronize these channels and implement the right engagement and communication strategies. You must anticipate customers’ needs to ultimately ensure an integrated, smooth experience as they move through each stage of their lifecycle.
B2B customers use an average of 10 channels in 2021. Given their channel-hopping purchase behavior, omnichannel implementation is an unavoidable step for brands to yield optimal results, including raising engagement and reducing churn. In fact, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to a customer retention rate of 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.
Ensuring a positive omnichannel experience is even more crucial after the pandemic, with 85% of B2B businesses expecting hybrid sales to become the most common sales role. Sellers this year will interact with customers via video, phone, and apps, and only 15% of meetings will be held in person.
You can employ a customer-centric omnichannel approach regardless of your campaign objectives in the following ways:
Brand loyalty is waning after the pandemic, with 81% of B2B customers saying they will actively look for another supplier if their main needs are not met. To avoid this, you must serve the customers, which starts with understanding their mindset.
Observe your customers carefully. What is their purchasing behavior? What touchpoints and channels do they use? Which challenges do they face while shopping? How do they interact with your brand across each channel?
Regularly review and test your customer’s buying journey. Find ways to optimize the process based on their pain points. That way, you’ll be able to provide a solution and connect customers with your products at the right time, ensuring a seamless, tailored experience.
The first ideal step for an omnichannel marketing strategy is to develop buyer personas and segment your campaigns accordingly.
You should further enrich your persona profiles with data as you go along. Using a marketing automation tool and sophisticated rich data from your campaigns, you can segment your audience based on common behavior patterns. Inversely, you could use this data to build buyer personas from scratch.
Omnichannel marketing is all about personalization, so leverage data-based insights to create tailored customer journeys. The more well-defined your customer segmentation, the more effective your omnichannel marketing strategy will be.
Successful customer-centric brands understand that not all customers are equal. They analyze campaign data to identify the hierarchy of highest and lowest value customers – and tailor communications accordingly. Their engagement strategy looks different between loyal customers and prospects.
A big part of personalization is content, which you can use to attract or reactivate customers by personalizing it for each channel, use case, and behavior. Let’s say that a prospective customer hasn’t yet purchased an item via your website. In that case, you may be able to send a triggered email, using the right messaging and tone of voice, providing further information on how the product can be used by scientists in their research.
When targeting a scientific or academic buyer audience using ResearchGate, you can re-market audiences with sequential ads and combine that with a lead campaign on-platform or driving traffic to your site and capture purchase interest. This consistent omnichannel experience drives engagement, loyalty, and sales.
Marketers use an average of 21 marketing platforms to reach customers. But not all of them may be relevant to your brand, so it’s important to pick the right channels to target your efforts. To do so, see where your customers prefer to spend their time learning about your products and services; then, actively engage with them on these channels.
Given that successful omnichannel marketing campaign optimization is data-driven, be sure to track cross-channel data correctly. Leveraging a marketing automation tool helps you measure campaign data effectively, saving you time in operational tasks.
As we’ve covered, today’s consumers are much more discerning and ready to switch suppliers if they don’t feel supported. So, you must keep an “always-on” approach to marketing.
For instance, 65% of scientists on ResearchGate find educational content useful for learning about improvements and trends in their area of research. For an effective customer-centric omnichannel strategy, try leveraging the power of display advertising combined with content marketing campaigns. This can look like combining a sponsored post with a contextual ad for your product or publishing gated content that focuses to generate leads from each download, followed by an email with product recommendations later.
Find ways of giving your audience what they need over several touchpoints. Ultimately, consistent promotion of your business will help ensure omnichannel success, which should lead to growth in brand and product awareness, and fewer missed prospect engagement opportunities.
Applying these best practices to your omnichannel marketing strategy can have many benefits, such as:
A successful omnichannel marketing strategy based on customer-centricity allows brands to meet target audiences where they are, with the right message at the right time. As a result, brands are able to convert new customers and reinforce loyalty amongst existing ones — helping to nurture lifetime value and to boost profits.
If you want to learn how ResearchGate Marketing Solutions can help you reach prospective customers as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy, contact our customer success team for a consultation.