December 21, 2017
4 minute read
The digitisation of everyday life has led to a multichannel revolution. From web to app, social media to traditional brick and mortar shops, consumers now have a range of options and technological touchpoints through which to satisfy their shopping needs. This media convergence is now driving marketers to use an omnichannel approach; in which campaigns are delivered across a multitude of media channels.
One of the key principles of a successful omnichannel strategy is being present and active on each different channel and at every possible consumer touchpoint, but there’s more to it than that. As the average consumer chops and changes from one channel to another before converting, the challenge is to make the whole customer experience as seamless, consistent and effective as possible.
Once again, the key to making this possible is data. We need to gather and integrate data into our marketing efforts in order to understand how our customers are using the different channels we offer – and to provide a smooth transition between them. As it stands, “despite the abundance of data available, 46% of marketers admit they wouldn’t be able to create an omnichannel campaign due to a lack of insight into the customer journey” (econsultancy.com).
There is a huge opportunity for businesses who succeed in leveraging data in this way; it’s widely predicted that marketers who can provide an omnichannel experience will hold a competitive advantage moving forward.
In previous blogs, we’ve looked at elements of omnichannel marketing in action, in terms of hyper-personalisation, the festival industry and in-store customisation. Now we’re focusing on some of the most, and least, effective ways to approach omnichannel marketing from a practical perspective, and why data is so important.
Firstly though, it’s important to clarify exactly what is meant by the term ‘omnichannel’. It’s become quite the marketing buzzword in recent years but despite some views to the contrary, omnichannel and multichannel marketing are not the same thing.
As we mentioned above, many organisations adopt a multichannel marketing approach; one that includes many types of communication, but still treats customers in each channel differently. An online customer is attended to in isolation to an in-store customer, and the consumer journey starts again from scratch if the same customer interacts via more than one channel.
Omnichannel, on the other hand, puts the customer at the heart of everything marketers do. This methodology expects customers to interact using more than just one or two means, on or offline, and recognises a customer who has already engaged via one channel when they go on to engage via another. It’s truly customer-centric, offering a seamless consumer journey to conversion for consumers no matter how and when they choose to engage, rather than trying to funnel them down one channel or another.
To illustrate this in more detail, here are three common mistakes marketers make when carrying out omnichannel marketing:
Consistency is one of the cornerstones of omnichannel marketing, so the opposite of this is always going to hinder your efforts. Discrepancies in branding – such as differing logos or taglines, marketing message – such as the wrong promotion appearing on one channel, or elements of personalisation – including not acknowledging a customer’s existing interactions, can all be very jarring and off-putting for consumers. Changeable brand identity in particular can be a concern and can even lead consumers to question the authenticity of some of your business’s marketing channels, particularly online.
This is likely to be a problem where marketers try to deliver omnichannel marketing across different, non-integrated systems, as sustaining uniformity becomes subject to human error.
Blanket messaging Although it may be consistent, simply replicating one unchanging message out across every channel is not omnichannel either. Having received the same promotion via email campaign, text message and on social media, consumers can feel like they’re being spammed, which will soon send them elsewhere.
Omnichannel requires a subtler handling of marketing messages, using data to take different customers’ communication channel preferences and consumer journey stages into account.
Last-touch attribution Knowing which channel a customer used just before making a purchase or signing up to a service can be a useful metric, but often doesn’t tell the whole story. When marketers give all the credit to this last-touch attribution, they can undervalue the previous touchpoints of the customer journey.
Many customers go through a complex, on and offline pathway before converting, which is what the omnichannel approach is based upon and attempts to facilitate.
Effective omnichannel marketing relies on these essential ingredients:
A centralised data hub The key to a consistent marketing output and an in-depth understanding of your customer base, true omnichannel marketing requires one central source of data. This is the only way to ensure that each of your channels works in sync with the others, based on the same, up-to-date profiles of your customers and their activity.
Most businesses have a number of systems in place to deliver their marketing campaigns, and datasets from each of these should feed into a single source that informs each one.
Testing and experimentation Omnichannel is an all-encompassing approach for marketing, affecting every means of communication a business uses to interact with its target market, in real-time where possible. As such, there’s no one-size-fits-all set of guidelines that will work for every organisation; finding the approach that works for you will require an amount of trial and error.
To be truly built around your customers and responsive to their changing needs and behaviour, your omnichannel campaigns should not be set in stone, but should be agile and adaptable enough to be quickly amended according to real-time data.
Automation The levels of data manipulation and multi-tasking an omnichannel campaign requires means it really isn’t possible without a certain degree of automation. With so many metrics changing almost constantly, much of the subsequent campaign fine-tuning can be set up to happen automatically, by algorithms capable of analysing your pooled datasets and continually optimising your marketing output.
The three components of omnichannel marketing mentioned above have one key thing in common; data. Omnichannel maintains consistency and personalisation in marketing messages across all channels, and data is the catalyst that makes this possible.
Simply having data though isn’t enough. Many businesses have masses of data, but not necessarily in the right format, the right place or in conjunction with the right tools to unlock its insight. A successful omnichannel approach means building a data infrastructure into your marketing that enables you to put the consumer first.
This is what we do at Quant. We can help you get your data to the point where it starts to add real value to your marketing campaigns, enabling you to offer your customers an omnichannel experience that can really set your business apart.
Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can create a data strategy that could bring your business into the omnichannel era.