There are people who remember where they were when the Apple iPhone 13 was announced in 2021. That’s not a statement about the quality of Apple’s products, nor is it really a comment about the power of the company’s branding. It’s a simple fact.
The important thing to take note of in the statement is the “where” part. Because Apple managed to reach their users around the world, across a multitude of devices, to share the announcement of their new product pretty much simultaneously. And that is why many remember where they were. The news came to them rather than the other way around.
That’s the power of omnichannel communication at work.
But let’s back up. This article is about why you should be using omnichannel communications for your business’s interactions with your customers. As such, we think it’s important to clear up some misconceptions at the ground level first.
Multichannel Communication Isn’t Necessarily Omnichannel Communication
Most modern businesses are making use of multichannel communications these days. What that means is they’re sending out marketing materials and, well, communicating and interacting with their customers and potential customers across a variety of channels.
For example, let’s say we run a small potato chip company. We have a website, we have our product being sold at physical locations, and we have an email list which we use to send out regular updates, news articles for potato chip enthusiasts, and discount offers.
Those are three separate channels that we’re using: Website, physical retail, and email. There are a lot more channels we could be using as well, such as social media, YouTube, Google Ads, etc., but let’s stick with those three right now.
This is called multichannel, as it involves a variety of channels that we’re using to sell our product and interact with customers.
Omnichannel, however, is when we use all of those multiple channels to communicate the same message. It’s a strategy for utilizing a multichannel setup that unifies messaging across channels.
This is an important distinction to make, because a lot of companies out there are under the impression that using multichannel communication is the same thing as using omnichannel communication, and their brands are suffering for it.