Stacy Schwartz quoted in EContent differentiating omnichannel from multichannel marketing

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Monday, March 2, 2015
New Brunswick, NJ


Perhaps the only thing that changes more rapidly than technology in today's amped-up digital environment is the terminology used to describe that technology and its impact on consumers--and marketers. One recent example is the advent of the term "omnichannel" marketing, which many struggle to differentiate from another relatively recent term--"multichannel" marketing.

It's the challenge of omnichannel marketing, and it looks more similar to a spiderweb than a racetrack. "The difference between multichannel and omnichannel really comes down to a company's approach to digital channels," says Stacy Schwartz, a digital marketing expert, consultant, and adjunct professor at Rutgers Business School. "Companies that focus on maximizing the performance of each channel-physical, phone, web, mobile-have a multichannel strategy. They likely structure their organization into ‘swim lanes' focused on each channel, each with their own reporting structure and revenue goals." The result, she says, is competition-which sometimes "serves the greater good and other times generates friction and misaligned incentives."

That's where an omnichannel approach comes in. "An omnichannel approach puts the customer, not corporate silos, at the center of its strategy," Schwartz says. "It acknowledges that mobile and social have enabled customers to not only quickly switch between channels, but actually use channels simultaneously. For example, checking out product reviews on their mobile phone while evaluating a product on a physical retail store shelf."

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TAGS: Digital Marketing Executive Education Marketing Mini-MBA Omnichannel Stacy Schwartz