The Difference Between Cross-Channel, Multi-Channel, and Omni-Channel Marketing

By: Andrew Glover
June 7, 2019
Categories: ,

Marketing has changed a lot over the years. Society is extremely reliant on computers and mobile devices, which serve as our primary means of communication. The constant connection has evolved marketing tools and approaches, as well. There are better-interconnected networks and multiple channels to communicate with members. These changes have helped create three specific marketing approaches: cross-channel, multi-channel, and omni-channel marketing.

Here’s what they mean and how they can be used for your marketing goals.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multi-channel marketing became available when the internet became part of everyday use. This form of marketing allows members to use different channels to communicate with organizations. But the channels in this type of marketing are disconnected and separate. For instance, a member can contact an organization by computer, in-person, or over the phone, but each channel is a separate form of communication. Each channel works independently from one another, and there’s no cross-talk between the channels.

As an example, imagine a member who is browsing your organization’s merchandise. They find the product they would like to purchase on your website. But instead of buying the item on the website, they log in to your mobile application later to buy. But the mobile application doesn’t have the member’s search history from the website. The website and the mobile app don’t communicate with one another, so the member needs to search through the products all over again to find what they wanted to purchase.

Cross-Channel Marketing

Cross-channel and multi-channel marketing are somewhat similar. Their fundamental difference is that the channels are connected with cross-channel marketing. That means the different channels share information between them. This allows the member’s experience to be more seamless.

Let’s say the member receives an online survey after purchasing your merchandise from the mobile application. After completing the survey, they receive a coupon to use for the additional merchandise. The member can choose to use the coupon at an event in a physical location or make another purchase on your website or app. Cross-channel marketing allows the member the flexibility of how they want to use their coupon while ensuring the coupon isn’t used multiple times in-person or online.

Omni-Channel Marketing

Omni-channel marketing is the most advanced form of marketing when compared to cross-channel and multi-channel marketing. Omni-channel uses multiple channels that communicate back and forth seamlessly. The communication is often at the same time, which created a smooth experience for the member across all channels. The goal of this type of marketing is to break the barrier between the online and offline world.

Many organizations now use omni-channel marketing. One way to use omni-channel is by offering a service or product at your physical location, allowing the member to test it out in person, and then allowing them to complete a purchase at home, online, instead of at your physical location. This type of integration allows the member experience to be effortless, low stress, and helpful to both the organization and the member.

Embracing the Channels

Whether your organization chooses to use multi-channel, cross-channel, or omni-channel marketing, the most essential aspect is that you are making sure your members have an excellent experience. Ensuring the members’ experience is easy and intuitive will allow them to have trust in your organization and continue to support your cause.

The Channels and Direct Mail

Each channel can be achieved through a direct mail campaign. If you want to keep your channels separate, you can choose to send mail pieces to members that can only be utilized over one channel instead of many with multi-channel marketing. If you want to merge your channel communications, you will want to choose cross-channel marketing, which will allow you to send items that will enable members to use products and services across digital and physical platforms. Or if you would like to have a little bit of everything, you can send direct mail marketing materials with an omni-channel marketing strategy. Choosing omni-channel will allow you to integrate every type of channel in a seamless and connected way. Just remember to focus on what you think will work best for your member experience.

Valtim and Direct Mail with Different Channels

You can take a measured approach to your marketing, or opt to use every channel available. Let Valtim help you determine which channel will work best for your members. We will help you develop a marketing plan and implement your desired strategy.

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