If you’re hunting bears, you should think like a bear. If you’re a linebacker you’ve got to think like a running back. And as trite as it may sound, to be successful in marketing, you truly must put on your ‘customer cap’ and periodically assume the role of the people you are attempting to entice with your marketing campaigns.
It’s the difference between merely throwing…uh…something…at a wall and seeing what sticks and devising an actual marketing strategy. When you approach marketing using the former tactic, sure, you may find some success, but it’s definitely not optimized. And believe me, your competitors are making sure that their strategies are optimized.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Not to be confused with multichannel marketing, omnichannel marketing is predicated on the idea that you should provide customers with the same message across platforms, regardless of where they choose to interact with your company online. This strategy is used to promote familiarity and loyalty – and it’s all the rage.
A real omnichannel marketing campaign is about ensuring your message is consistent no matter where it’s being consumed by your audience.
For example, with a multichannel marketing strategy, you may be promoting a new product on Instagram and announcing an unrelated special event via email the same day.
With an omnichannel strategy, you’d either promote the special event or the new product, but not both to the same audience in the same day. This will alienate your audience.
The reason omnichannel marketing works is because it’s how people actually interact with one another in real life. You’re choosing to continue on a conversation with them rather than just bringing up random topics and seeing what sticks.
Think like Cool Bike Guy
Think of omnichannel marketing within this context.
Do you know that warm feeling you get when someone unexpectedly remembers you? I don’t mean when someone merely recognizes your face or even remembers your name. I’m referring to a situation in which someone with whom you’ve had a seemingly arbitrary interaction remembers a very specific aspect of your personality.
Q: Hey – where’s your cool bike, Cool Bike Guy?
Q: Last time you were here, didn’t you have that really cool bike? With the chromed-out disk brakes?
A: Oh yeah – that was me!
It makes you feel like you’ve captivated a stranger. You get this fleeting, inexplicable feeling that maybe you aren’t so small after all.
And most notably, you automatically like that person. You’ll walk away from the interaction saying to yourself, I really liked that person – they were nice.
They’ve outwardly proclaimed that you’re more than just some random person in a crowd – you’re Cool Bike Guy! Now, any time you see this person, you’re going to talk to them. At the very least, you’re going to entertain a conversation with them for a few minutes since you now have a commonality to discuss.
Now apply this thought process to your customer (who will assume the role of Cool Bike Guy) and your brand (the person who remembered Cool Bike Guy).
We are all Cool Bike Guy
Everyone wants to feel important. This includes your customers and prospects. And they definitely don’t appreciate being treated like a number who’s just being talked at.
This is what makes an omnichannel marketing strategy work. Think about if the person who approached Cool Bike Guy just started going on and on about windsurfing – a subject that, for hypothetical purposes, our fictional hero knows nothing about.
Cool bike guy would be completely confused and think this stranger is weird. Why did she just walk up and start talking at me about windsurfing?
This is essentially how you’re interacting with prospects when your message inexplicably changes from platform to platform. You’re not recognizing the humanity of your customers – you’re kind of just walking up to them and talking at them.
They think to themselves, hmmm, I think I talked to those people about pants a few months back – but I’m not interested in mustache wax. This company is kind of annoying. I looked at their pants online and now they’re trying to sell me eyeglasses on Instagram, Mustache wax via Facebook, and they want me to sign up to receive emails from them? No thanks.
An omnichannel marketing campaign recognizes your customers’ personhood, which is the most important, inalienable trait that everyone has.
So, stop talking at your prospects and hoping something just sticks. Instead, find out what they want to talk about and give them the option of continuing the conversation where they choose.