Most Marketers today understand (or kind of understand) the difference between these two separate strategies. But what does it truly mean for your customers? That is what delineates the theories from one another – customer experience.

What is multi-channel marketing?

SourceLink - multichannel

Multi-channel marketing refers to marketing that is distributed across multiple channels. The messages are not always the same, and each channel works independently of one another with separate objectives.

The multi-channel approach lacks integration, which can create a confusing experience for customers. However, this method is still effective and certainly gains more traction than a single channel campaign or outreach. Customers like the ability to engage with a brand via multiple channels. When they are ready to engage on that particular channel, you have to be there and ready.

What is omni-channel marketing?

Omni-channel marketing requires a focus on the overall customer experience. Not only are you delivering a message across multiple channels, but you are delivering the same message and integrating all of them along the way.SourceLink - omnichannel

The goal is also consistent in driving the customer to take action. For example, the last time you researched a product online. Did you notice that within minutes after you’ve abandoned the website, you begin to see that product on the sidebars? Sometimes, if you’ve engaged with that brand before or abandoned your information in the cart, you will start to see emails from that company offering you discounts to finish the purchase. The company noticed you were an interested buyer and didn’t want to let you get away. By sending you multi-channel communications about the same product, and then intriguing you with offers, they are enticing you to continue down the customer journey and into the purchase decision mode.

The omni-channel approach is not simple and requires a well-coordinated system to deliver the seamless customer experience. However, when done right this strategy is bound to yield great results.

Multi-channel and omni-channel marketing, which is best?

The challenge today is you have to be a smart marketer. Your messaging has to resonate across multiple channels, staying consistent to the goal of moving your customer along the journey. You have to be there and available when the consumer is ready to take action, wherever the consumer is – web, mobile, email, phone, tablet, etc. It’s difficult to know when and where your customers or potential customers want to hear from you. And therein, lies the challenge of being a modern-day marketer! But if you are consistent with offers and messaging, and communicate with your customer on the channel they prefer, you are 90% of the way there. Keep in mind how you search and purchase products and follow the journey for your customer to be sure their experience with your brand is consistent and positive.

Happy Marketing!


Written by: Cathy Heckman – SourceLink’s Corporate Marketing Director. Reach out to Cathy at