Consumer behavior is evolving alongside the rapid technology development that we have been facing in the recent years. What it means for brands is that interacting with the audience has never been so complex and demanding in terms of marketing communications strategies that companies need to work on and constantly improve.
The number of touchpoints alongside the customer journey has significantly increased and a phenomenon of users interacting with brands on multiple channels simultaneously has evolved. Therefore, the experience points overlap, bringing about more than one perception of a brand at a single point in time. Customers search for product discounts online – but they do it being in a physical store and comparing two offerings on the spot, observing brand image in both settings and unconsciously assessing the ease of interacting with it regardless the channel.
What is Omnichannel Marketing
The best way to understand what shift we are talking about here is to look at the stats. 204% - this is the increase in the number of consumer touchpoints with brands in ad tech in the last couple of years. Users no longer interact with brands through one medium at a time, but they are exposed to simultaneous messaging coming from different sources. Why? Their habits have changed, and they tend to smoothly switch from one channel to another without making it a decision, meaning that they expect the brand to follow these shifts and stay up to date with the messaging.
For example, during the evening commute from the office back home, a user starts shopping on their smartphone and adds several items to the shopping cart. However, he needs to get off the bus and closes the phone. After the dinner, he decides to go back to the store – but uses a laptop to do so. Yes, you’re right. Products are expected to appear in the cart regardless it’s a different device – and be presented in a similar way. Similarly, users happen to see an attractive item on one of the social media channels – for example as a retargeted ad and the last thing they have time and interest to do is to struggle to find it elsewhere online and make a purchase. Instead, they subconsciously anticipate that the company has already designed the experience and made it possible for them to make a purchase through a given platform that they happen to use at the moment.
Consumer behavior patterns described above create a need for brands to utilize omnichannel strategy in their marketing communications. According to the definition, omnichannel marketing is an approach in which brands provide seamless customer experiences regardless which touchpoint(s) a customer is at in a certain point in time.
The goal is to let customers shift from offline to online channels, as well as from one online platform to another without any barriers and being able to have an uninterrupted experience with a brand.
What does Omnichannel have to do with brand consistency
As customers shift across numerous channels, companies need to understand that these are no longer separate media. Instead, they are an interconnected network which requires all the messaging to be highly consistent – and this is impossible without a consistent brand image. Companies can achieve that by putting themselves in customers’ shoes and observing the process from their perspective – following all the possible touchpoints and assessing how the brand messaging can be perceived at each of them, as well as making sure that no processes can be interrupted by channel shifts. User effort should be minimized and unified experience benefits – maximized. As customers are reached from every direction simultaneously, any inconsistencies gain on importance. Being that obvious, they become customer pain points and negatively influence the opinion people have on a given brand.
Therefore, companies need to design their interactions with customers in a way that the values that they stand for and the brand image that they shape is presented in the same way, no matter where a customer is at – is it the physical store, Facebook page, or the online store. Brand consistency positively influences its trustfulness and dependability and can lead to increased user engagement and, ultimately, more purchases.
Being aware of the shifts in modern consumer behavior, it is simply not beneficial for companies to lose on customers’ loyalty by ignoring the challenges brought about by the technology development.
Implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy is not an easy task, but with a proper understanding of the topic you can elevate the quality of experience your customers have with the brand and significantly improve your brand performance.
We are soon launching a new e-Book “All you need to know about Omnichannel Marketing with a 90-day kickstart plan” which offers a holistic understanding of the topic. It introduces the notion of omnichannel marketing, presents the differences between multichannel and omnichannel – the two terms that are used interchangeably, and educates the reader on main reasons for applying the latter. It includes a complete 90-day kickstarter plan for companies to implement omnichannel in their day-to-day business.
Subscribe to the dipp blog today and receive our e-Book to forget about customer pain points in brand communication once for good.
Interested in the topic of brand consistency? Check out our article discussing the challenge of keeping consistency alongside a user's interaction with a brand throughout an online campaign - from viewing a digital ad to collecting perceptions about a following landing page, and converting to a customer.