A lot of attention is being paid to the shopper journey and understanding how customers decide what, when and where they will make their next purchase. We all know how critical it is for customers to think of your business first when they decide they need or want a product — but keeping their attention becomes increasingly more difficult throughout the shopping journey.
Before we jump into optichannel marketing in a practical application, let’s quickly revisit what optichannel marketing is. You are most likely familiar with omnichannel and even multichannel marketing, but optichannel entered the mix a few years ago when data began to tell the story of how and where customers engaged with our advertising. We quickly learned that we didn’t need to be in every channel with the same consistent message. By changing the message and content based on the channel and the signals that tell us where a customer is in their purchase journey, we immediately saw conversions and brand awareness increase. Our advertising yields a higher return on investment when we are hyper focused on the most effective media channels with the right message aimed at engaging our best customers.
This is optichannel marketing.
It may seem complicated to execute and manage an optichannel marketing strategy, but the power of data combined with automation makes it easier than you think.
Let’s follow along with a customer in the early stages of their purchase journey to see how the right optichannel marketing strategy can increase your chances of earning a lifelong and loyal customer.
Marketing starts long before your customer has decided they need or want a product. The journey starts with a consistent reminder to customers that you are in their community and ready to serve them when they decide they are in the market for your products.
How does an optichannel strategy here? This is primarily going to include display advertising, social media, television, OTT, print and potentially email marketing. When marketing to customers that have not yet decided they need your products it’s important to think about what could make you top-of-mind when they move to the next phase. It could be a memorable slogan or ad campaign, beautiful imagery or consistently showing that you offer the brands of products they are most familiar with.
Break this down even further by targeting specific demographics of consumers. Younger and more tech savvy customers will remember ads that speak to the ease of connected home and wi-fi enabled appliances. Your Baby Boomers will remember ads that remind them that you have been serving their community for many years or that they deserve an upgrade.
The content and consistency of your awareness advertising strategy is essential to engaging potential customers. They are inundated with ads everywhere they turn. Duress purchases can happen at any time, and you can’t predict when that customer will need to act quickly and move to the next phase their journey. Remember, 60% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they recognize. Boost your chances early!
Consideration and Active Evaluation
At some point your customer decides that they are interested in your products. They are looking more broadly at brands and categories to give themself an idea of what options they should consider. They look through several pages of sofas on your site or at several styles of refrigerators.
How does your optichannel strategy adapt here? This is where you step in as the expert. You immediately begin to serve ads around the must-have features consumers should consider in these categories and/or the brands you trust most. You send an email that outlines what to consider when selecting specific categories with links to the products you recommend. On social media you highlight your expert salespeople. Using chat, your agent personalizes the message to ask if they can help them select the best product or answer any questions about the category pages they visited.
Moving into active evaluation, our optichannel strategy is now full steam ahead. Customers are navigating to very specific product pages and spending time looking at product and store reviews. They are narrowing their selection using product filters and deciding which products meet their specific needs.
They see our ads in Google Shopping and on Facebook and Instagram. We highlight and call out those products that are in stock for quick delivery. We send an email about featured products in the categories they are interested in and include finance offers and current rebates they could take advantage. We serve them product specific remarketing ads in case they forgot to bookmark that product on our site and need to get back to it quickly. Our display ads call out special financing and rebate offers, and we create a sense of urgency by reminding them that stock is limited and offers are timed. On YouTube they see a 6 second in-stream ad that mentions the latest offers and a call to action.
Website features such as inventory integration, financing at checkout, multiple payment options and delivery availability are key conversion drivers for customers in this stage of the journey as well. Convenience features keep customers engaged through to the next phase.
Your customers have stayed connected with you to this point and now they are ready to make a purchase. Here, our strategy turns to making sure they know they will have a frictionless and convenient shopping experience with your business. Our content and messaging transitions to quick delivery times, professional and expert delivery team, and customer quotes about their experience shopping with us. We send an email with information about your VIP appointments. They can schedule time with of one your expert salespeople. A link to your appointment page with available dates is accessible right from the email. Whether they decide to buy online or in store, they are confident they will have an enjoyable shopping experience.
Optichannel vs. Omnichannel
Now, let’s compare the customer experience we just walked through to the more traditional omnichannel strategy.
With omnichannel, we design a set of ads that highlight our latest sale or promotion and show the same ad set and messaging on Google, Facebook, Instagram, OTT and all other media channels. Will a customer that is not in the market for our products notice our Google Shopping ad? Not likely. Is professional delivery important to a customer that has not yet narrowed down their product selection? Probably not.
We too often underestimate the power of delivering the right message to a customer at exactly the right time. Technology provides us the tools to do this today and it consistently evolves to provide even more accuracy and new channels to deliver that message.
You can move to an optichannel marketing strategy by focusing on key brands and categories to begin building content for. Next, you will identify behaviors that require specific messaging and content. Strategically incorporating your co-op dollars into the key areas where brand messaging will resonate with potential customers and identifying important evergreen content will allow you to make the most of your marketing budget.
If you haven’t started your optichannel marketing strategy yet, I hope you will take some time to look at where you can optimize your marketing plans for 2022.
Jen Danko is the Vice President of technology for Site on Time, a Nationwide Marketing Group company