With Omninchannel vs. Optichannel, Data is the Difference

Written by Jen Danko

June 11, 2021

Digital media channels have forever changed how we market to consumers. In fact, they continue to evolve daily as we unpack and analyze the data behind our marketing strategies.

The shift from traditional media to digital media channels established the need for a multi-channel marketing strategy. As those media opportunities grew, we shifted to omnichannel because the best strategy was to be everywhere, all the time and with the same consistent message. More is always better, right?

Enter data…

The rapid engagement of digital marketing both by businesses and consumers has given us more insight into consumer behavior and at a faster rate than has ever been available before — and it’s not slowing down. In fact, the pandemic has accelerated this move to a digital-first mentality faster than anyone could have predicted.

When real time data and analytics began to drive our marketing strategies, we realized that trying to be everywhere for every customer wasn’t creating the best experience or the highest return on investment. Data has allowed us to identify the most effective channels to reach customers, with engaging and relevant content.

Optichannel marketing evolved from omnichannel, and we now know that it’s no longer necessary to be in all channels. Instead, we focus on highly effective channels based on data signals. In addition to an enhanced consumer experience, our advertising investment produces a greater return with a focus on the channels that our customers are the most engaged with.

To understand how we can implement an optichannel marketing strategy, we have to first understand how each of the media channels are used by consumers today and by which consumers. For example, text messaging is a great communication tool for short urgent messages. The open rate for texts is over 98%, while email averages 20% open rates. With this information, we think about the type of content that we would send a customer via text. Demand is high for all of our categories and inventory is low. This could be a great channel to notify a customer of a recent shipment of products they were inquiring about. Text could also be a great tool to alert customers of short flash sales, ending promotional periods and other  time-sensitive notifications.

Social media marketing has proven to be extremely effective, especially during the last year while social distancing kept us apart. According to Think With Google, searches for “support local businesses” grew globally more than 2,000x year-over-year. Social media platforms are a great channel to remind consumers that you are part of their community. To create an optimal customer experience, it’s important to know the age demographic that utilizes each platform and create a custom message that resonates with each one.

End to end, the optichannel experience could look something like this: We start by sending out an email about or current promotion. Our customer clicks on the ad and then clicks on one of the products in the ad. When they leave our site, they are served with an ad on Facebook for the exact product they viewed. Next, we serve them a Google shopping ad for that product as well as similar products. Then we serve a display ad that showcases the product in a lifestyle image. Finally, we send a follow up text message with a limited availability notice to create a sense of urgency around the product they were interested in. When they return to the site, we use chat messages customized with information from their browsing history to initiate a conversation.

The key to a successful optichannel marketing strategy is the availability of first party data. We work diligently to aggregate consumer behavior data across all digital channels to refine content and messaging. The more readily available this data becomes, the more accurate and effective our strategy is.

As you plan your marketing for the remainder of this year, I hope you will look for more opportunities to implement an optichannel strategy, and I would love to hear the impact it has on your results.

This article was first published in the June 2021 issue of Retail Observer.


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