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In the 1950’s, “surround sound” took the audio industry by storm; everyone was ready to really feel the music of soundtracks. No longer confined to the standard three sound channels in movie theaters—speakers in front of the audience to the left, center, and right—sound engineers and movie makers began experimenting with audio channels placed around and behind the audience.  That same visceral impact that left audiences stunned, and hooked, is happening today with the emergence of omni-channel marketing.

Just as surround sound changed the cinematic experience forever, omni-channel marketing is changing the way that people consume and interact with media.  Now lets explore exactly how it works.

Omni Channels Working in Concert

Not to be confused with multi-channel marketing, omni-channel marketing does more than just maximize upon various channels. Whereas multi-channel marketing asks, “How can we maximize our message on each channel?”, omni-channel marketing asks, “How can we synthesize our audience’s experience across channels?”

For the audience, it’s the difference between turning up the volume on simple front-facing speakers, versus standing in the center of an intricate, state-of-the art surround sound system.

With omni-channel marketing, messaging is synced across an individual consumer’s devices and media sources, creating a seamless experience. The consumer is at the center of these channels, with intelligently designed content available to them at every turn. The audience here is not simply receiving loud messaging from whatever medium happens to be right in front of them; they are receiving relevant, informed messaging tailored to their experience with the brand thus far.

Centering the Audience

Omni-channel marketing, like surround sound, focuses heavily on the audience experience to shape a campaign’s design and direction. Rather than considering all tools available and building from there, businesses using omni-channel marketing focus on the audience perspective, seeing various channels as adjustable inputs on a soundboard that can be finely tuned to hit each consumer’s “sweet spot”.

Just as the speakers in a complex surround sound system work together, some going quiet while others grow louder to create an immersive sound experience, so too does omni-channel marketing engage the audience. Logged out of the desktop and picked up the mobile phone to continue browsing? Your business’ marketing should follow the consumer there, and pick up where they left off.

Starting a Revolution

Once surround sound took off, there was no going back. Theaters and concerts are now expected to utilize dramatic surround sound technology to remain competitive in their industries. Audiences at shows without it notice the lack of impact, and their impression of the venues is affected. As omni-channel marketing gains steam, it promises to demand the same of business marketing.

In our increasingly user-centered world, where mobile apps and customer portals increasingly put the power in consumers’ hands, it is essential to meet the expectation of a streamlined experience across channels, even before a consumer has become a customer. When this expectation isn’t met, it leaves a negative impression.

As businesses increasingly vie for consumer attention, it’s important to stay on top of the competition. Tailored omni-channel marketing assures potential customers have smooth, streamlined experiences from brand introduction to conversion.

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