The four steps to master omnichannel marketing

We live in an era of messaging destruction that led to the age of indifference. Marketers worldwide were enthusiastic when they realized how easily they could reach their customers with their digital messages, but suddenly they understood that anyone else could also reach the same audience with the same easiness. We are bombarding consumers on a daily basis with a bunch of promotions through all available channels, traditional and all kinds of digital, but now they are paying very limited attention.

Moreover, modern consumers became very knowledgeable and extremely powered with all the latest digital technology in the palm of their hands. Now they demand that it is THEM who decides when, where, why and how they will interact with any Brand. They are following unpredicted paths for their interaction, meaning they start their purchasing journey from any channel and they move from one channel to the other, until final completion.

This journey is based on their profile and preferences, the time of day/week or the location they are, or even simply they rely on their mood at the time.

To give you an example, a consumer becomes aware of a product through TV, searches more info via web, posts a question in FB asking for friends’ opinion. Then  consumer compares in Brand’s virtual store with other similar products, orders via Brands’ mobile app. Consumer receives a confirmation SMS that order is placed, then receives an email that order is available, tries to pick it to physical store but it is closed for the day. So the consumer modifies order in the smart screen placed in store’s window to pick it via courier. Finally tweets the overall experience right before is being questioned by the company on a customer experience survey via email or mobile notification.

So today, companies and brands are not just the products or support services they are providing; Brands are the overall experience that their customer is receiving. And this experience should be unique, consistent, individualized. Should be agnostic of channels that provide fragmented experience, must be “channel-less”, seamless from any touchpoint. This exactly is the definition of “Omnichannel Marketing”, the absolute ability of Brands to provide superior and seamless experience regardless of device or channel.

It seems like a threat for companies that need to differentiate and stay in the surface of an ocean of destructing messages that prevent consumers from focusing to their own products. It is not, it is simply a great opportunity to provide the experience that the customers want, and before they even realize that they want it. If they fully do it today, they will be ahead of competition, in one year they will be in parity, in three years they will be dinosaurs heading to extinction.

It takes just four steps and a great decision: to truly on-board on this era.

First step is – like every first step – the most difficult and decisive: To take a harsh decision and really transform the company in order to be aligned with this omnichannel approach. No inter-departmental silos, no departmental targets. Sales = Marketing = IT = Contact Center = Logistics =CRM =…   Data and communication must enjoy a free flow within a fully aligned company, and be prepared, sometimes structural organization changes are needed.

The second step is to really invest on Business Intelligence. Surveys prove that the largest marketing investment in 2016 will be in the field of Content Marketing or Data Marketing. All customers’ insight and all gathered data should be integrated and exploited. Thankfully our age leaves a lot of digital footprint, so we have more data than what we can consume, and the funny thing is that we must consume it all. We need to consolidate all demographic and behavioral context, to analyze consumers’ behavior and to learn their preferences. We may even attempt some analysis to calculate unrecognized needs and desires that even consumers themselves don’t know yet that they have.

The third step is to fully automate the campaign management system and integrate it with all available platforms (CRM, ERP, Social etc.). Handling all this data is not easy and here comes the moment that all messages produced towards customers (promos, offers, notifications, alerts, teasers) should follow a very sophisticated contact strategy and obey specific scenarios based not only on customer’s lifecycle phase but also on their personalized preferences & profile. All messages should be 100% relevant to them, providing meaningful experience and should definitely be individualized, because micro-segmenting is good but not enough anymore.

The fourth and final step is the actual execution of this omnichannel marketing strategy. We need to have the means to send the right message to the right individual at the right time while he/she is at the right location. Seems simple, it is not. All channels need to be integrated amongst them and also with CRM so to provide the seamless experience based on each individual situation.

Now we all wonder: why all this trouble? Is it really necessary? Most importantly: does it pay back? The good news is that YES, it pays back. Not only Brands differentiate from competition but there are many surveys promising that they too will outperform competitors and their previous sales records.  Just mentioning three of them, many more available.

  • Deloitte report for E-bay, 2014: “The Omnichannel opportunity”, where it is proved that “Omnichannel customers spend 93% more than customer shopping only Online, and 208% more than customers shopping only in physical stores”.
  • The state of Marketing 2013, IBM’s Global survey of Marketers: Companies applying Omnichannel approach have 1,8 times higher 3-years revenue growth, 3,4 times higher 3-years net income growth and 2,4 times higher 3-years stock price growth, compared to companies that do not deal with omnichannel.
  • Aberdeen research in 2013: “Omni-channel: Empowered Customers Demand a Seamless Experience” proves that “Companies offering Omnichannel customer experience are greatly outperforming companies that don’t, in the fields of Retention (6,5 vs. 3.4 YoY growth), Average profit margin (6,1 vs. 1,0 YoY growth) and Customer lifetime value (3,4 vs. -0,7).”

So concluding, it is worth it, it is needed and it is a heck of a differentiating factor for driving emotional attachment and long-lasting engagement with Brands and products/services thus creating a profitable customer lifecycle. 

Not sure yet? Need more proof? Please contact us to learn what we can do to help your business reach its full potential and how to undertake the full strategy, i.e. steps 2, 3 & 4 – the decision though is still your own first step to take, so prepare yourself for a leap to the new era.

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