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Difference between Multichannel Marketing and Omnichannel Marketing in B2B

The terms omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing have become buzzwords these days. They might sound like similar concepts, i.e., getting your services across using multiple channels. But that is not the entire truth. Both are conceptually and strategically different.

Both approaches have their merits, and there is no ideal way to declare one’s supremacy over the other. It all boils down to how effective and scalable the marketing mix strategies are, and which one works best for your business. This article will explore exactly that. Read on to find out about both the marketing approaches and why the single-channel approach will take you nowhere.

Omnichannel marketing and multichannel marketing are crucial for B2B Brands

It is an understatement to say that COVID-19 transformed our lives tremendously. The B2B market has also seen disruption. Their attitude and actions toward digital communication have changed drastically. Here are a few reasons why B2B brands need to look beyond a single-channel marketing strategy to succeed.

1. Rapid growth in the number of channels

B2B brands use ten or more channels at present. Customers turn to multiple channels, such as webinars, social media, peer recommendations, etc., to conduct their research. Therefore, being present on most of these channels is crucial.

2. Buyers prefer to use multiple channels

The B2B realm has observed an overall increase in engagement. On top of that, buyers prefer to use a mix of traditional sales, direct communication, self-service, etc., as they move through the buying stages. More channels give them the flexibility to scroll through the content and the services.

3. The omnichannel marketing impact is rising

This approach is truly working. McKinsey’s early research stated that 65% of the customers viewed omnichannel as being on par with older methods. In February 2021, 85% of the buyers agreed to the same statement.

The key differences between omnichannel and multichannel marketing

Let’s begin with understanding what each approach stands for and how they benefit businesses.

B2B multichannel marketing

This marketing strategy consists of several channels, including social media, phone calls, physical stores, etc. Every channel works separately and is independent of the other. Furthermore, each channel has individual goals and strategies. The lack of connectedness and integration among channels might create impersonal customer experiences. Omnichannel marketing resolves this issue.

B2B omnichannel marketing 

Buyer-focused and not channel-focused. This is the driving principle for omnichannel marketing approach. All channels are linked through one interface and work towards achieving a single goal, i.e., customer satisfaction. It enables brands to deliver a consistent and personalized experience across all channels and devices. The primary goal of this marketing is to make the buyer experience seamless. It stands for consistent engagement regardless of how the customer interacts with you.

Which one is better? Omnichannel or multichannel marketing

It depends on a lot of factors; both the channel mix have their own merits and demerits:

  • Multichannel marketing is the most straightforward and cost-effective way. It enables a more personalized approach. Both share a similar goal, i.e., to make the buyer take the desired action.
  • Multichannel usually requires one primary message and CTA (call-to-action). Omnichannel marketing requires different CTAs and messages catered to different perspectives. It needs more resources, time and effort.

Merits of multichannel marketing

Multichannel marketing is ideal for an audience base that is not looking for diverse messages or buying options. A prominent benefit of this channel is that you can compare results across platforms and focus your efforts on channels that receive the highest engagement. You will know exactly where to divert your valuable resources.

Merits of omnichannel marketing

If your business needs to deliver personalized experiences across all channels and touchpoints, pick an omnichannel marketing strategy. It can make you stand out from the pile of competitors and let you interact one-on-one with your audience base. It enables brands to put their target audience at the center of everything and offer varied content, options and incentives for users to convert.

Pick your channel mix strategy

You need to understand the channel mix that works best for your marketing approach. Study your target audience carefully. Find out where you can communicate your message to them in the best manner. Do you want a personalized experience or the same CTAs across multiple touchpoints? Think about what they need and pick a strategy accordingly.