Marketing mix management in the omnichannel environment
Speaking of “omnichannel environment” becomes a necessity since we have become “omnichannel consumers“. Our purchasing behavior has changed so that companies must react adapting to this new reality: users permanently connected by smartphones, tablets and computers to all kinds of apps, the internet, social networks, etc., both for leisure and to contact the companies and brands. We take into account the opinions of other users, we look for discounts, offers, comparisons, etc.
The concept of “omnichannel” responds to the need to integrate the various communication channels existing in the market so that the contents published in them are interrelated and potential customers can explore multiple ways of interacting with the brand.
But that’s not … multichannel?
This could be the definition of “multichannel” environment, but they are not the same. The omnichannel strategy seeks that the client feels treated as an individual, recognizing that the client approaches the brands in and through different ways, for which it is necessary to act in such a way that the person feels that the brand communicates with him/her in an individualized way, while the multichannel strategy is more focused on maximizing the performance of each channel.
The omnichannel experience requires the use of multiple channels, but to be truly omnichannel, in addition to the web being well designed and structured, to create a good strategy for mobile marketing and social networks, they must work well together and have a design and shared goals, to provide a truly integrated experience.
The omnichannel concept affects the way of managing the marketing mix and the responsibility of this management. If before it was easy to distinguish between sales channels (a web with ecommerce, a physical store), communication channels (an emailing, a newsletter), contact channels (after sales service telephone), now the limits between the channels are diluted, because the informative or contact part and the part of the sale come together: an app can allow us to check the balance of the bank and at the same time contract a service or product.
An iternal challenge
Given this new perspective, companies can not maintain a structure where each department is “owner” of its strategies, but the information must flow easily among them to design strategies that combine communication objectives, sales, delivery logistics , loyalty, etc. Channels can no longer be managed from a departmental perspective (Commercial, Marketing, IT, Service …) but in an integrated way that puts customers in the center.
The client, now, is the king
On the other hand, consumers now really have absolute availability of means and channels to choose where, how and when to buy, changing brands very easily. In addition, we can search for products online and go to the store to buy them, or see them in stores and then connect to mobile or tablet to compare prices and buy them through one of these channels, or even return to the store to try and buy them, or not.
We have become accustomed to immediacy, and we chose the channel that suits us, expecting immediate answers, depending on our comfort and each time with a lower fidelity to the brand if it does not meet our expectations. Consequently, the more channels a company uses, the easier it is for the client to remain faithful, since it will be easier for him/her to access and acquire the products/services of that brand.
Omni-channel, but not in the same way
There are many channels and means at our disposal, but the mix we make of them will not be the same for all companies. The first thing is to review our marketing and communication objectives and define the channel strategy.
- We must analyze our website and see from which devices it is accessed
- Analyze which pages and contents are most visited, especially by our clients
- Analyze other possible channels of use of these clients (social networks, customer service telephone, etc.). This is relevant because the intensity of use of a channel varies depending on its purpose (inform, buy, attract, etc.)
- Segment our clients according to the channels they use and dedicate more investment in those where we are interested in certain “target groups”
- And taking into account all of the above, design and implement the channel strategy
The method is standard, but after the development of all these phases, each company will define its own mix of channels and establish the objectives to achieve (more sales, customer loyalty, more visibility and brand recognition, …) always accompanied by differentiation and its own style.
Worth the effort?
- The omnichannel strategy allows us to establish closer and personal relationships with clients: if we are where they are, they will see that we know them and we are interested in their needs.
- At the same time, we gain immediacy to reach the customer more quickly and directly: the user can contact us at any time and from any device, and from our side, we can react almost in real time.
- And, very important, it allows companies to position their brand image in all channels and consolidate it.