An omnichannel marketing strategy can be intimidating – the implied connotation may seem like something far bigger than what your brand is willing or able to commit. Any organization-wide initiative will feature challenges, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the time and resource investment.
Don’t get hung-up on what digital marketing and industry analysts are calling the practice. Instead, consider omnichannel marketing in the simplest of terms: it’s essential to the ultimate goal of building meaningful, long-term relationships with your customers.
What is omnichannel marketing?
Omnichannel marketing is the strategy and practice through which a brand interacts with its consumers, both off and online.
Omnichannel strives to maintain cohesive messaging through the delivery of targeted, engaging content from a tightly integrated, technology-based environment to every channel – including but not limited to:
- Traditional media outlets
- Dedicated applications
With this in mind, your brand probably already has most of the resources it needs to get started.
Top 3 things you need to know about omnichannel marketing
Take an outside-in approach.
To begin, make sure you have an excellent understanding of your target audience – this is paramount to successful implementation. The goal is to increase brand awareness, as well as web and foot traffic and loyalty, which in turn will generate leads and revenue.
Your tactics should focus on creating value for your consumers in the off and online channels in which they’re most likely to interact. Not sure where to start? Consider surveying your current customers; asking questions via any two-way channel will demonstrate your brand’s commitment to improving the total buying experience, as well as provide you with useful insights from which you can base your omnichannel marketing strategy.
Other helpful ways to gather data include focus groups, onsite client interviews, and social media engagement measurement. Once you’ve identified where the majority of interactions are taking place, as well as how satisfied those consumers are with the customer care your brand aims to provide, review your organization’s structure and communication processes. It’s likely your consumers have dealt with the sales, customer service, content, and social media teams.
If these teams aren’t cross-functional and don’t share common goals, you run the risk of undermining your branding initiatives. If the position doesn’t already exist within your organization, consider seeking or nominating a director of customer experience and building cross functional teams under this leadership.This person should have a deep understanding of marketing strategies across multiple channels, as well as a penchant for leveraging technology, the backbone of your brand’s digital marketing efforts. At a minimum, you’ll want to align management for each channel to ensure collaboration and sharing across functions.
Technology is on your side.
Using content to market to consumers isn’t new. Copy, slogans, catch-phrases, and jingles have been used to capture the attention and imagination of audiences to sell products and services long before social and digital marketing for e-commerce.
Properly implemented and tightly integrated technology platforms and solutions assist companies to do just that.If you’re already using solutions like an e-commerce system, content management, customer experience management system, data analytics tool, or customer relationship manager, you’ll first need to make certain that each is being used to its fullest potential, and secondly that each of these systems can freely pass data to the other.
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Much like your content, sales, and social teams, these systems each have a very specific purpose, but also need to work in complete unison. Is all of the content generated within your organization stored in a central repository?
Can it easily be repurposed for use in any off or online channel, and is it cohesive? Content governance and taxonomy, or the guidelines your brand places around which channel delivers what version of messaging, how often, and by whom it’s approved will make for a higher rate of efficiency, and therefore conversion.
After a purchase is made, how is the data on that consumer being captured and stored? The ability to measure the effectiveness of your brand’s message will allow you to repeat your successes or correct missteps.
With regard to the technology platforms your organization is using to market and sell to your customers, are they tightly integrated? Where possible, you’ll want to remove IT bottlenecks to ensure that from an initial interaction to after a purchase has been made, the consumer is being communicated to at the proper time, via the correct channel.
Data, including campaign statistics and customer histories, should be easily accessible to any team, and simple to understand. Moreover, a content management system, or perhaps an enterprise content repository, which allows your organization’s colleagues to search via simple keywords for pieces of collateral, will streamline the creation and delivery processes.
Refine and repeat.
Successful omnichannel marketing depends heavily on the content your brand creates, the channels through which it’s delivered, and the careful measurement of how well each campaign performed.
Continually refining your brand’s strategies, tactics, and technologies to account for emerging markets, retaining loyalty in traditional sales channels, and carefully but flexibly managing internal processes will allow your brand to compete in an omnichannel sales world today, and whatever the industry decides to call it tomorrow.