As mentioned in my discussion of 2022’s top five social media trends and their implications for Influencer Marketing, omniplatform or omnichannel integration  is a necessity for next year’s marketing strategies. By definition, it poses both multi-faceted and far-reaching opportunities and multi-faceted, horizontal challenges, both for brands and the various agencies that put their activations into action. So, what is omnichannel integration, what does it have to do Influencer Marketing, and how does it impact your whole marketing strategy? Let’s dive in.

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

The best definition of omnichannel marketing requires you to get in the head of the persona to whom you’re marketing. Per InfluencerMarketingHub.com, “the modern consumer is omnichannel,” interacting with many channels every day. For example, a potential consumer may start the day by scrolling Facebook as they eat breakfast then check texts and emails on their phone on their way to work. Once there, they’ll likely check their email and Instagram many times throughout the day. On their way home, they may stop for groceries and then listen to a podcast or play music on Spotify. And chances are, before they go to bed, they’ll watch at least one YouTube video, binge a Netflix series, or read a virtual newspaper or listen to a book. 

Omnichannel integration takes into account all of these possible touchpoints for gaining consumer awareness. What this means for marketers is the opportunity to meet consumers where they are at. For example, brands can run paid social media campaigns with retargeting, taking into consideration potential customers’ demographic information and their website searches. This ensures just the right potential buyers see their ads. Brands also can get in front of their target market by sponsoring podcasts, YouTube videos, subscription-based streaming services like Amazon, Hulu, or HBO Max. Couple all of this outreach with in-store marketing and email/text outreach and you’ve got the perfect omnichannel marketing plan. 

For brands who want to drive huge ROI using omnichannel marketing strategies, the key is to create a seamless experience across all of those touchpoints for their personas. 

How Does Omnichannel Marketing Differ From Multi-Channel Marketing?

Since they sound so similar, you may be asking yourself: “What is the difference between omnichannel and multi-platform marketing?” Omnichannel marketing is giving consumers the opportunity to discover, research, and buy products across devices and channels whereas multi-channel marketing is providing them with similar content across your brand’s channels. Here’s how the two show up in marketing:

With an omnichannel marketing campaign,  a brand would provide complementary content across devices and channels, with influencer marketing being one of those channels. That content would ideally be customized to their search history or what’s in their cart. So, for example, if a user “favorites” or likes a product on a brand’s mobile app, they’ll be able to see their liked products all together on their desktop as well, maybe even see reviews, etc. A brand could notify them via email if the product goes on sale. And when they go into the store to actually see the product and perhaps try it on, they would easily be able to see its location in the store. 

For a multi-channel marketing campaign, on the other hand, a brand might simply provide the same or similar content across all of their social channels. The primary difference is that in omnichannel marketing, brands integrate experiences and content across channels and don’t simply clone content. In multi-channel marketing, brands focus on a few channels and disregard the larger journey.

The differences may seem slight, but to both the brand and to the potential consumer, they are significant enough to drive greater conversion, which means ROI for the brand and satisfaction for the customer.

Ideally, omnichannel also means strategic integration of communications across those channels so that the left hand—your social media team, say— knows what the right hand—your email marketing team, maybe—is doing. Best practices suggest guiding potential customers seamlessly through the awareness, consideration, and decision stages with progressively more targeted content. In other words, it’s not posting the same content across all of your brand’s or client’s social media channels, as with multi-channel marketing. It’s all about coordination.

A graphic of what multi-channel marketing means, with different icons representing in-store, email, phone, social, and internet channels pointing to and back from an image of a young man

How Can You Couple Omnichannel Marketing With Influencer Marketing to Maximize Your Marketing Plans?

Want to really drive a huge ROI? Add both omnichannel marketing and Influencer Marketing to your marketing plans. The two combined pose a double whammy when Influencer Marketing is considered one of the channels in an omnichannel approach, a channel driving awareness and guiding consumers to more ways to investigate and decide.

To successfully combine omnichannel marketing and Influencer Marketing, consider Influencer Marketing as just one of many channels. When you regard influencers as their own platform, you treat them as another way for consumers to interact with your brand, making them yet another touchpoint. The difference between influencers as their own channel and the other platforms (say Facebook, Pinterest, or TikTok) is that influencers are both a platform in and of themselves and have the ability to interact with the other channels for added benefit. For example, Sally the influencer may have her own blog and a substantial Instagram following. She can write reviews, share personal experiences, and gift her fans discount codes or giveaways all on her own using her platforms.

Additionally, Sally can interact with your brand’s channels, thus further influencing her followers. She can do this, for example, by taking over your brand’s Instagram channel for the day or week, doing paid Facebook advertising from her account to both her followers and your target demographic, and showing up in a YouTube ad targeted to your ideal consumers. Those are just a few examples of how Sally the influencer benefits a brand when she promotes them across her curated channels and when she has access and drives her followers to the brand’s platforms.

What Brands Are Getting the Omnichannel Marketing and Influencer Marketing Combo Right?

Consider the example of Sephora, a multinational retail of personal care and beauty products. They have an app that connects users’ online purchases to in-store visits. Users can check out the latest products on the app, and even scan products while they are shopping in physical stores to check reviews and ratings.

Source: Multichannel Merchant

In addition, their My Beauty Bag program helps loyal customers manage their “loved” products and purchase history from any mobile device. Members of the brand’s rewards program can view and track their purchases and rewards on mobile or computer. They can add items to their shopping list, view their buying history, save items for future purchases, and easily reorder items. When they’re in-store, they can access their shopping list to complement their experience. They may also have email automations set up to remind users of the contents of their cart, and could even promote sales on products users have in their carts in their social media experiences.

Imagine powerful beauty and fashion influencers demonstrating how they use Sephora’s app and experience their stores to create jaw-dropping looks. This example points to two critical elements of a successful omnichannel/Influencer Marketing campaign:

  1. Complementary content is integrated across at least two of a brand’s channels, preferably three or four, one of those being influencers, considered as a whole. This requires coordination between email, social media, and product marketing teams.
  2. Consumers are given options and are met where they are. For example, Target, another brand successfully executing omnichannel marketing, partnered with Pinterest to give its consumers more options. Using Pinterest Lens, the channel’s new ecommerce feature, users can take photos of any product they like anywhere, and the app analyzes the picture and gives suggestions of similar products that are available for purchase on Target.com or at its stores. [source]

How Can Your Brand Maximize ROI as It Implements Omnichannel Marketing With Influencer Marketing?

Say you’re ready to move forward with the large task of integrating your promotions and campaigns across channels. You have even found the exact right group of influencers to promote the omnichannel experience to their audiences. As with any Influencer Marketing campaign, maximizing ROI means coordinating everything and everyone so that the campaign runs efficiently with no duplication. Providing all teams with clear goals and KPIs, and following up with them at key project benchmarks, is key to making sure your campaigns stay on track, within budget, and to the precise scope.

Make sure you create clear, compelling activations and communicate them to influencers in easily accessible ways. For example, craft a simple Influencer Contract that includes the key asks, the clear brand message points, writing prompts if needed, and specific deadlines and deliverables. Then, keep everything housed in one place (email, landing page, online hub) and communicate as little as possible (most communication should be housed in the contract and provided up front). Having short, simple, online instructions influencers can refer back to but not get overwhelmed by is critical to getting quality content the first time.

What Are the Challenges to Implementing Omnichannel Marketing Campaigns and How Can You Overcome Them?

When you are talking either omnichannel marketing or multi-channel marketing, organization is key. This might prove difficult if you’re a brand that has myriad agencies representing each piece of your marketing pie (e.g., social [organic and paid[, email, traditional advertising, point-of-sale, etc.), or are one of those agencies tasked with only one of those pieces.

Having the right communication tools and frequent meetings so that all players can talk to each other should help. Resources that keep interdepartmental teams or multiple agencies working for one brand on the same page include basic communication tools like Teams or Slack. And, implementation tools with review options such as visual social media editorial calendars—those within social media scheduling tools (such as HubSpot, SocialBee, Later, etc.) or those outside of them (free tools include AirTable or Google Sheets). Empowering each team and acknowledging their best efforts among teams should help you avoid any tendency they might have to mark their territory, so to speak.

Wrapping It All Up

Successful omnichannel marketing is no small feat, as is integrating Influencer Marketing into that experience. But, analyzing the whole customer journey, challenging your teams or agencies to come up with content that complements each others’, empowering your teams or agencies, and picking the right influencers will take you a long way on your new omnichannel marketing journey.

Additional Resources

Looking for more marketing trends? We’ve got you covered with these hot topics:

Sources

6 Ways to Do Facebook Influencer Marketing That You Haven't Thought of Before
Trend Watch: What You Really Need to Know About Live-Streaming in Influencer Marketing

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