Back in the day, omni-channel marketing was really easy. It was a simpler time when people didn’t have “nomophobia” (google it), and the number of channels marketers had to interact with consumers on was limited. But today’s screen-addicted, always scrolling, peer review-obeying consumers have pushed advertising and marketing into a digital explosion of touch-points. The fall-out of that digital explosion is what’s now known as “omni-channel marketing” or, in other words, being quite literally everywhere your consumers is.
Do a Google image search for “omni-channel” and you’re guaranteed to find pages of graphics all depicting a buyer in the center encircled by every channel that a marketer can possibly reach that buyer in. Obviously showing up on every channel is going to create awareness, but it’s not likely going to be the reason a consumer makes a purchase. According to MyBuys’ Personalization Consumer Survey, coordinating messages across channels increases the performance of those channels and the experience of the customer. But sadly, Experian reports that only a small fraction of brands are executing omni-channel communications informed by a single view of the customer.
The vision of being consistently relevant in real-time is what customers want and expect, but to execute on that vision can feel overwhelming, just looking at the ever-growing web of possible touch-points for a customer and how to connect them. Here are three ways to avoid feeling overwhelmed, and instead, just get started!
1) Evolve your customer lifecycle into individual customer journeys
Traditional customer lifecycles will account for the steps it takes to get a customer to a specific goal, and the stages they’ll likely move through such as first-time buyer, loyalist, or lapsed user. However, consumers might not fall squarely into those mapped stages and activities. Every consumer decides her own journey, and it’s your responsibility to listen and respond with the right message, at the right time, and in the right place (or places)—practicing omni-channel marketing will provide the most relevant experience to each consumer because it’s based on when, where, and how they choose to interact with you, therefore putting the consumer at the center of your marketing.
2) Structure your marketing organization around the customer journey
Many marketing organizations are not structured to be able to listen and quickly respond to individual consumers. Instead, marketing functions often operate in separate silos with people dedicated to specific marketing channels, like mobile, paid advertising, or email. But this is not how customers should see your brand—as separate touch-points. By organizing teams around the consumer, you can listen and respond across all channels in a way that is more congruent with the actual customer experience. That way, the conversation remains fluid as your customer moves throughout their journey.
3) Learn from your consumers, start small, and get coordinated
We live in a world where consumers know data is being gathered about them and that they’re always leaving behind a digital footprint. With that knowledge comes the consumer expectation that brands inherently “know” who they are and how they like to be engaged. Use the knowledge you have about your consumers to create messages that consider both the channel and the activity of the consumer across all touch-points. You can get started by tying two channels together—for example, email and website—and practicing the seamless, personalized response that’s required to provide your ideal customer experience.
For example, a consumer visits your website, adds an item to their cart, but then leaves to read customer reviews on Facebook. If your website and social channels are tied together, you can serve up a remarketing ad, showing the item left in their cart and prompting them to complete the purchase. Once they click the ad and are back on your website they might create an account but not finalize the purchase. If you have your email channel tied to your website and social channels, you can use that data to send an email with an offer to drive them back to your website to complete the transaction.
Remember, to your consumer, there is no omni-channel, there is no multi-channel, there is no mobile-first, there is no silver bullet media spend to get them to buy. Consumers don’t care about your channel strategy; they only care about receiving a coordinated, contextual experience from you—they care about feeling known. Read more about how you can give consumers what they want in our new ebook “Give Your Consumers The Omni-Channel Experience.”