Last updated: Omnichannel customer engagement: 4 inescapable truths

Omnichannel customer engagement: 4 inescapable truths


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Considering omnichannel marketing for your business? The Omnichannel Difference 2024 report is essential reading for every company embarking on this complex but rewarding customer engagement strategy.

The comprehensive study from Forrester Consulting, commissioned by SAP Emarsys, sheds light on the current state of omnichannel customer engagement, revealing the untapped potential and the intricate challenges businesses face in creating a seamless experience for their customers.

Here, we examine the report’s most compelling findings:

  1. The true potential of omnichannel marketing remains untapped
  2. Friction persists in the buyer journey
  3. Omnichannel customer engagement requires collaboration between marketing + IT
  4. AI-enhanced data drives superior omnichannel engagement

Creating a single view of the customer is ranked “high priority” or “critically important” by 94% of brands. So how do marketers create a stand-out strategy? Get the answers in the Omnichannel Difference 2024 Report.

Beyond channel selection: Finding omnichannel opportunities

Omnichannel marketing is a vast area, with endless opportunities to engage customers with personalized, relevant content on their preferred channels. However, significant opportunities for brands investing in omnichannel customer engagement remain untapped.

The Omnichannel Difference report found that respondents prioritized marketing channels based on three key factors:

  • Channel reach and impact: 68% of respondents emphasize the importance of selecting channels based on their reach and impact.
  • Target audience’s preferred channels: An overwhelming 81% of marketers prioritize channels based on the preferences of their target audience. This consumer-first approach ensures that marketing messages are delivered where they’re most likely to be seen and acted upon, enhancing customer experiences and engagement levels.
  • Active campaign objectives: About 66% of those surveyed prioritize channels that align with their active campaign objectives. This alignment ensures that each channel’s unique strengths are leveraged to meet specific campaign goals, from awareness to conversion, tailoring the approach to the campaign’s needs.

To bridge the gap between its current usage and full potential, brands need a more nuanced understanding of omnichannel marketing. This involves not just selecting channels based on reach and impact, but also on what best fits their customers’ journeys.

Too much friction in the buyer journey

In order to succeed in today’s competitive market, brands need to make each customer’s journey to purchase and repurchase a seamless experience. In practice, however, this is easier said than done.

Unless your tech stack is dialed in, siloed data and channels can hold you back from delivering the personalized experiences your customers demand. This creates a disjointed customer journey that creates harmful friction in the buying process.

As the study found, technological limitations frequently throttle the potential of businesses engaging in omnichannel customer engagement:

Pre-purchase – the first hurdle:

  • 57% of surveyed businesses face issues with website and chatbot tools, underlining the importance of real-time, personalized customer engagement.

Purchase – optimizing the first point of conversion:

  • 40% struggle to offer relevant product recommendations.
  • 32% have difficulty optimizing pricing based on browsing patterns.

Post-purchase – cementing repeat sales and loyalty:

  • 41% find sending timely renewal reminders tough.
  • 27% grapple with creating effective loyalty programs or referral systems.

Modern customer engagement platforms connect your marketing channels, consolidate your data, and enable personalized customer experiences to drive omnichannel excellence.

Break down silos for omnichannel marketing success

Ignoring the occasional meetings with sales and merchandising, traditional marketing can typically be handled effectively within your core team. However, omnichannel marketing transcends these boundaries, requiring a more collaborative approach. A core tenet of this is an active partnership between marketing and IT.

With omnichannel customer engagement, IT and marketing shouldn’t just cross paths – in order to get the best results, they need to be integrated and act as one.

Research from the study highlights this:

  • 46% faced organizational and data marketing silos, creating gaps in communication and data sharing that lead to disjointed customer experiences.
  • 45% saw limited understanding of data privacy regulations, a landscape that needs to be navigated delicately in order for marketing to remain compliant.
  • 44% lacked data analysis skills, and 40% had insufficient understanding of AI and machine learning on their teams – both of these can hinder the development of effective omnichannel strategies.

In order for any omnichannel marketing strategy to flourish, your marketing team needs to be able to leverage data and technology efficiently. The foundation of this lies in a strategic shift towards a partnership with IT.

AI, data, and omnichannel customer engagement

AI can serve as a powerful ally in your quest for effective omnichannel engagement. AI’s power lies in its ability to consolidate and activate customer, sales and product data at scale. So it’s no surprise that businesses are starting to invest in AI to help them put their data to work.

According to the report:

  • 73% of survey respondents have invested in advanced data management platforms that integrate disparate data sources, highlighting the value businesses place in a unified data approach.
  • 60% established a single view of the customer through data consolidation from various touchpoints.
  • 44% created efficiencies between marketing and IT to ingest and activate data.

These insights in The Omnichannel Difference report underscore the importance of integrating and activating data at scale for effective omnichannel engagement.

The friction is REAL when it comes to the modern buyer’s journey. 
Fortunately, there’s an omnichannel solution. Download the report NOW.

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