What do Starbucks, Disney, and Sephora all have in common? They are all popular global brands! However, the comparison extends beyond that. These companies are masters of omnichannel content marketing. Let us understand what that means and why it is relevant.
What is Omni-channel Marketing?
Imagine a shopper standing in the queue at the payment desk of a shoe store. What if they suddenly remember that they also need stockings? They could simply open an app and buy stockings online while completing their purchase in the physical store. What if they come across a pair of shoes on the app at a better price? Or perhaps a discount? Would they go through with their original purchase?
Now, imagine a scannable QR code that directs shoppers to look for more products online. The customer transitions seamlessly to the online store within moments. This integration of channels, portals, and devices is what omni-channel marketing is all about.
The Starbucks reward app is a prime example of omni-channel marketing. Customers get a free rewards card at Starbucks and add more money to this card on the phone, app, website, or physical store. Any transactions on the card get updated in real-time across all channels. If you’re in line at Starbucks, you can ask the cashier to add balance to your card and pay them in cash, or you can add it yourself, and it reflects on their device!
Why is Omni-channel Marketing Relevant?
Shopping today follows a drastically different route from just going to a shop with a specific product in mind, looking for the best fit, and buying it. Customers use multiple shopping channels, sometimes simultaneously.
According to a 2020 report by Salesforce, 40% of customers will not do business with a company if they can’t use their preferred channels. For instance, if a brand requires the customer to download an app to make a purchase, they are likely to move on to another brand that offers the same products directly on their website.
Customer experience is the sum total of the interactions that a consumer has with a brand or a business. Omni-channel marketing is an approach to digital marketing that focuses on a customer’s experience. The focus is to make the transitions between the website, the app, and even a physical store smooth for the customer and create a seamless experience across channels.
Is it Different From Multichannel Marketing?
Let us suppose that a brand has a website as well as an app. Shoppers can choose which platform they want. Isn’t that enough? Not according to omni-channel marketing. Here are some scenarios that can get you thinking in the right direction:
● If I add a product to my cart on the website, will it reflect it in my cart on the app?
● If a product is not available, can I get an SMS notification when it is back in stock?
● If I call customer care with a request, will I get an email update of the conversation?
Multichannel marketing is a company’s presence on different channels that gives the consumer a range of options to choose from. Omni-channel marketing goes a step beyond that and creates a holistic experience. Customers can shift across channels without affecting or disrupting their shopping experience.
The Role of Content in Omni-channel Marketing
It is vital that the customer experience with a brand is unified across all channels. But how is this related to content marketing?
In the content strategy, the platforms represent the different devices and touchpoints that a customer can use to connect with your brand, for instance, the website, mobile app, or various social media platforms.
On the other hand, channels are the actual means of communication between the brand and its consumer – i.e., the chatbots, messages, marketing emails, calls to action, advertising, search engine queries, etc.
The content produced and conveyed across multiple platforms and channels needs to be holistic. An omni-channel content strategy uses this knowledge to create content that can be utilised effortlessly across channels.
In this way, the marketing is streamlined and does not add to the business’s effort. The messaging, tone, voice, image, and content design remain uniform and transferable across platforms and channels. For this, a company needs to break down and structure its content to be easily repurposed for other channels.
The omni-channel content strategy requires brands to change the way they look at and create content. This may seem like a huge expectation, but the returns are worth the effort. So, how should content be to fit omni-channel content marketing? Businesses should create content that is:
While it is a great way to reduce redundant effort, an omni-channel content strategy should not lead to a business cutting corners on the quality of content. Creating repetitive and highly generalised content is a strict no-no. A brand should create a distinctly unique identity carried across channels.
What is Structured Content in an Omni-channel Content Strategy?
A CMS or Content Management System allows businesses to create, publish, and manage content effectively. In the CMS, content can be separated into individual elements. For instance, the headline, byline, metadata, keyword tags, and snippet are the individual components of a typical blog post.
Structured content entails that these elements or chucks can be repurposed and used in different places using the CMS. The snippet from the blog post can be directly reused for a social media post. The call to action text from the webpage is repurposed as an email message.
Structured content treats content as data that can be picked out and used for different end goals. The meaning and purpose of the content are more important than the format, which can be flexible. Writers create chunks of content that can be assembled and presented together as larger items however and wherever needed. This saves the brand time and energy coming up with individualised content for every channel.
Structured content is ‘future-friendly.’ The resources are more important than the presentations or format. This is useful as the format or devices may change in the future, but the core content can be reused.
Creating an omni-channel content strategy is the way to ensure a cohesive customer experience through structured content creation that allows personalisation and cross-channel distribution. CMS or Content Management Systems are now creating the scope for omni-channel content strategies, as businesses worldwide have realised the importance of a customer-centric content strategy.
Flexible, reusable content is more valuable than formatted content. Presentations and devices may fluctuate, but the content will always stay. A clear brand image and voice helps a business maintain consistency across channels and hook the customer in.