Omnichannel vs Multichannel: What is the Difference and Why Does It Matter?

Two new-age definitions that immediately come to mind in today’s marketing landscape are multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing. Even though both focus on the use of multiple channels to reach customers they are very distinct.

What’s Multichannel and Omnichannel Marketing?

Multichannel marketing (i.e., “many” channels), refers to the ability to interact with potential customers on various communication platforms. Whereas, Omnichannel(meaning “all” channels) refers to the multichannel sales approach that provides a customer centric integrated experience in marketing. 

The Key Differences: Omnichannel Marketing vs. Multichannel Marketing:

Omnichannel marketing focuses on delivering  a consistent, customer oriented and personalized experience across all channels and devices. The guiding principle of omnichannel marketing is that it’s customer-based, not channel-based. The main goal is to make the customer experience – smooth and warm, and that means consistent engagement no matter where or how a customer is interacting with you.

Multichannel marketing refers to the ability to interact with prospective customers through various channels, including text, email, voice, social media and websites. Each channel operates independently from the other marketing channels, and each abides by their own outlined strategy and goals.

multi channel

Channel vs. Customer

Multichannel marketing is about targeting the widest net to get the most customer engagements. Companies utilizing the multichannel strategy are adopting two or more channels to engage their consumers, most popular are text, email, voice and social media.

Conversely, the omnichannel approach inter-relates every channel to engage with customers as a holistic whole, to ensure they are having a wonderful overall experience with the brand throughout each and every channel. The focus is on building a stronger relationship between consumers and the brand.

In fact, companies with well-defined omnichannel customer experience strategies in place achieve a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate on average, compared to organizations without omnichannel programs in place.

Conclusion:

The bottom line is that omnichannel and multichannel marketing are two unique strategies that both aim to reach potential customers by leveraging multiple channels. Marketers must make the shift to best suited marketing efforts in order to increase customer retention and in turn, ROI.