5 January 2021

Omni vs Multi vs Cross-channel messaging: What are the differences?


Written by

Nigel Seah

Digital Marketing Executive


Name one difference between omnichannel, multichannel, and cross-channel communication. Quickly.

If you can’t do it and have used any two of these terms synonymously before, you’re not alone. It’s easy to see why there’s confusion and many other people make the same mistake. 

But fret not, we’re here to clear all doubts once and for all. We’ll examine what each one means and compare the core differences.

Let’s delve right into it!

What is multi-channel messaging?

Multi-channel communication involves multiple communication channels. Notably, the channels are disconnected and communication is not seamless.

Multi-channel communication involves multiple communication channels. Notably, the channels are disconnected and communication is not seamless.

Let’s look at an example. Imagine you are a lead who just downloaded a piece of gated content from a SaaS company’s blog. And the company uses a multi-channel communication tool. This means that it communicates with its prospects, leads, and customers across a variety of channels such as Whatsapp messenger and emails.

After downloading the document, you receive an email from the company greeting you and tells you that they hope you find the content useful. Great.

As you read the document, you find out more about how their software works and how it can help address your business needs. You decide to approach them by responding to their email to schedule a call.

Later, instead of using the very same email thread to start a new conversation with the company, you send the company a Whatsapp message to inquire about some details regarding the upcoming call.

The rep on managing the Whatsapp channel will need more time to get back to you. They probably aren’t even aware of the scheduled call. This is because the different channels aren’t connected

What is cross-channel messaging?

Cross-channel communication and interaction is one where one channel can lead directly to communication on another.

Cross-channel messaging takes things to the next level. Basically, instead of having all your channels disconnected from one another, communication and interaction on one channel can lead directly to communication on another.

Let’s re-use the previous example to explaining this. You download a piece of content and receive an email response from the company. That very same email includes a WhatsApp link for the recipient to reach out to the company and carry on the conversation from there.

As you can see, the conversations are connected

That being said, the one managing the WhatsApp account may not know who contacted them. They may still need to be provided with contextual information to continue the conversation. 

What is omnichannel messaging?

Omnichannel messaging allows businesses to communicate seamlessly with their prospects, leads, or customers across various channels.

Simply put, omnichannel messaging allows businesses to communicate seamlessly with their prospects, leads, or customers across various channels. Emphasis on ‘seamlessly’. What does this mean?

Let’s use the same example one last time. We skip to the part where you receive the email from the company. Instead of responding to their email or scheduling a call, you decided to send them a message via Facebook Messenger. This is where the ‘seamless’ part comes in.

An omnichannel messaging tool is able to identify the sender of the Facebook message as the same person who downloaded the content and received the email. In other words, the Facebook message is recognized as a continuation of the conversation from the initial point of contact between the lead and the business.

In essence, conversations are never lost and get picked up from the last interaction.

Key differences between the three types of messaging

Simply put, omnichannel messaging allows businesses to communicate seamlessly with their prospects, leads, or customers across various channels. Emphasis on ‘seamlessly’. What does this mean?

Let’s use the same example one last time. We skip to the part where you receive the email from the company. Instead of responding to their email or scheduling a call, you decided to send them a message via Facebook Messenger. This is where the ‘seamless’ part comes in.

An omnichannel messaging tool is able to identify the sender of the Facebook message as the same person who downloaded the content and received the email. In other words, the Facebook message is recognized as a continuation of the conversation from the initial point of contact between the lead and the business.

In essence, conversations are never lost and get picked up from the last interaction.

Conclusion

We hope we have helped you gain a better understanding of the differences between the three types of messaging. 

If you would like to find out more about how omnichannel messaging can help your business improve communication with your customers, schedule a call with us today!