The Ultimate Match: Multi-Channel vs. Cross-Channel vs. Omni-Channel

THE ULTIMATE MATCH: MULTI-CHANNEL VS. CROSS-CHANNEL VS. OMNI-CHANNEL

Big Money Is Riding on Your Answer
Imagine you are on a gameshow. You are one question away from the million-dollar prize, when the host asks you, “Of the three channels of marketing: Multi, Cross and Omni, which two are alike?”

Sweat forms on your brow as your mind races. You’ve heard all three of these terms bandied about by marketing movers and shakers as if interchangeable, and now the host is suggesting one is different? Luckily, you can phone a friend.

Calling Sureshot for the Win

Sureshot: Hello?
You: Quick, which two marketing channels are alike?
Sureshot: Oh, that’s easy: Cross and Omni.
You: Are you sure?
Sureshot: Are we sure? Please, it’s in our name.
You: So what’s the difference?

Since You Asked
In the beginning, there was Multi-channel, and it was good. Multi-channel came about when marketers recognized there were several ways that customers wanted to connect with their brand, from phone and websites, to apps, social media, and more. However, it was a linear approach, and while data could be obtained from each of the channels, nothing worked together. In short, a Multi-channel approach to marketing is channel-focused, not customer-focused, and in our selfie-centered world, this creates problems.

Multi-Channel or Multi-Personality
The number one difference (and problem) between a Multi-channel approach and all others is that the customer’s experience is not seamless. Taking a Multi-channel approach is like willfully giving your brand Multiple Personality Disorder – customers’ experience a different version of your company based on the channel they use. Other issues include:

  • There is a subscriber base for each channel, so customers end up receiving duplicate information from multiple channels, inciting annoyance and increasing opt-out rates.
  • Customers see the brand as disconnected since the experience is not uniform across all channels.
  • Individual channels and customer data do not work together, so customer insights and behavior patterns are shallow at best.
  • Channels compete against one another via misaligned incentives, duplicate messages, etc.
  • Each channel has its own success measure and revenue goals; however, this information is faulty because it doesn’t take into account the impact channels have on one another.


Cross and Omni for the Win

Unlike Multi-channel, both Cross- and Omni-channel refer to an integrated approach to marketing. As interchangeable terms, they describe a form of marketing in which all channels work together to deliver  a seamless customer experience. Because these approaches evolved from Multi-channel as a sort of antidote for its problems, they provide smart solutions for Multi-channel’s manifold issues, including:

  • There is one subscriber base for all channels, so marketers can easily avoid sending annoying duplicate information, which decreases opt-out rates.
  • Customers see the brand as unified because they can switch between channels and have a consistent experience, which strengthens their trust, relationship and loyalty toward a brand.
  • Channels and customer data work together, and equip marketers with actionable customer insights and behavior patterns that increase sales.
  • Channels work together to enable marketers to achieve big picture success and revenue goals.
  • Marketers gain a holistic view of the customer experience across all channels, which enables them to improve targeting and understand how to better engage with customers.


The More You Know
Now that you are equipped with inside information about marketing’s million-dollar answers (Cross and Omni), you, too, can create a seamless customer experience and leverage data across all channels to strengthen customer relationships. And, if you find Cross and Omni to be a tad perplexing, always remember you can phone a friend at Sureshot, or text, or email, or…

Ben Collins
ben.collins@sureshot.io