How to Evolve From Multichannel to Omnichannel Marketing

Mar 3, 2015

How to Evolve From Multichannel to Omnichannel Marketing copy
Consumers want everything, everywhere and in real time, including loyalty benefits – this is the experience that today’s consumer demands, but rarely receives. An omnichannel approach can deliver on this expectation by providing a seamless marketing experience across as many relevant mediums as possible, engaging consumers with the right message at the right time on the right channel or device. The core focus is on the customer experience, which ideally results in more loyal customers.

If your brand culture is already one of delivering the best experience to its customers, then moving to an omnichannel marketing approach might be easier for your organization. This approach requires a great deal of forethought and collaboration within an organization, so the transition from multichannel to omnichannel loyalty isn’t going to happen immediately. If you’re ready to make the move to omnichannel, start by fine tuning the following five areas.

  1.  Create an omnichannel vision and strategy.
    The first step in evolving from multichannel to omnichannel is to evaluate potential outcomes and gaps in your current strategy. Gather company input to determine how an omnichannel approach can align with your business goals. Pay close attention to feedback from frontline employees (store associates) and support (customer service) to identify missed opportunities in your current customer interactions.Keep in mind there is no “one size fits all” strategy, so plan on starting with a subset of your customers (potentially your loyalty program members) to test and learn, then expand the strategy once you’ve ironed out the kinks.

    Key Takeaway: Form an initial strategy using your customer data and your staff’s expertise, then test and tweak using a small sampling of customers before a full launch.

  1. Evolve the customer experience.
    Your customers want you to keep up with them at the rate that they move from device to device and across channels. Ask yourself, “What experience will make my customers more loyal? What will make them want to tell their friends about this experience?” A retailer, for example, will want to evaluate the customer experience across touch points and the overall journey from brick-and-mortar and at the POS to the online user experience and ecommerce transaction to mobile payments potentially via a mobile app experience.Keeping with the same retailer example, your customers potentially want additional perks like free shipping, access to reviews and free or flexible returns. Knowing this, it’s important to monitor social networks and other forms of public expression (like blogs) and customer feedback to discover more ways to foster brand advocates.

    Key Takeaway: Develop a thorough understanding of what excites and engages your customers to help you design the right omnichannel experience and engagement strategy.

  1. Integrate across channels and touch points.
    The biggest challenge many marketers face is integration across touch points and channels. In many cases, there’s simply not enough knowledge or resources to do this in house.The key is to partner with a company (be it a CRM or loyalty provider) that offers a flexible technology infrastructure that will allow you to integrate seamlessly across mobile devices, web sites, POS systems, call centers, and with your existing or third party database and/or data warehouse. This can transform how you manage and utilize CRM data to then execute marketing campaigns and resulting decisioning, optimizing, mapping, analyzing and reporting.

    Key Takeaway: Partner with a third party for the expertise and technology/resources needed to assist with executing an omnichannel strategy.

  1. Listen for behaviors and incremental wins to drive strategy moving forward.
    Omnichannel marketing seeks to move customer engagement much higher on the marketer’s priority list, and this notion will undoubtedly grow as a direct response to consumer needs, wants, desires and purchasing habits.Whether you are integrated in real-time or batch, marketers can use data to listen for actions and drive experiences through personalized communication with loyal customers based on their preferences as well as campaign and program objectives.

    Key Takeaway: Choose the appropriate channels to communicate based on customer types, past behavior and other relevant data.

  1. Use technology to enable the process and empower marketers to listen and respond to customer actions.
    Rather than being seen as siloed marketing channels, each with their own goals, product expectations and data tracking, omnichannel outreach integrates all marketing, including loyalty. The end goal is creating truly seamless customer experiences that are highly relevant across channels and devices while incorporating innovative new technologies to drive the experience, such as iBeacon.Marketers are seeking innovative technologies that have converged to deliver a holistic offering that enhances the customer experience. Technology convergence has matured as many marketers across industries are learning to do more with less. We’re now seeing companies handle end-to-end marketing campaigns that address customers’ communication preferences, combining internal and external offers in ways that benefit both marketers and consumers.

    Key Takeaway: Optimize all channels so that they can operate as one to engage tech-savvy consumers at the right time using the most relevant content to provide an uncluttered, efficient experience.

Given the fact that omnichannel shoppers can spend up to 3.5 times that of a single channel shopper, it’s no surprise moving from multichannel to omnichannel has become a priority for many loyalty marketers. But switching to omnichannel can’t, and shouldn’t, happen overnight. Anticipate a gradual evolution using the considerations above as a jumping off point. Focus on incremental wins that will lead to bigger change or strategic focus over time. Leverage data to determine the impact and keep a pulse on success and failures to correct your course and drive insights that will have lasting impact.