Multichannel, Omnichannel and Customer centric marketing are strategies we have all become familiar with. Whatever the term, the ultimate objective of the modern marketer remains to communicate with their customer in a relevant way, via the most appropriate channel at the best possible time. However, given the abundance of consumer channels available we may ask ourselves whether a truly Omnichannel strategy is an achievable goal for the majority of B2C businesses in 2019?
There are some fundamental barriers that need to be navigated when considering a full scale Omnichannel approach.
Often marketing departments are siloed by channel. Each team having its own budget, targets, objectives and Agency relationships. Internal structures will therefore need to be changed if the customer is to be placed at the centre of all marketing activity.
Each channel will also collect and use different data sources, not only to help target customers but also to measure success. Bringing the data together so it can be analysed, selected, actioned and measured is essential and will require new technology, specific skill sets and a change to how orders are attributed to marketing spend.
If departmental structures need to change, specialist staff have to be recruited and investment is required for new tech then it’s more than likely that the heads of the organisation will need to give their final sign off, which can take time.
The final hurdle is compliance. If our marketer wishes to engage with customers across a veritable smorgasbord of channels then the correct consents have to be attained and ultimately it will be the customer who decides how they would like to be contacted.
It’s likely you already have a keen understanding of the hurdles you need to jump to deliver a truly Omnichannel experience for customers and your organisation. You will ultimately make your own judgement on whether it is possible for your business to deliver such a strategy in 2019. If you have doubts, fear not, as there are still plenty of opportunities to engage with your customers across different channels even if a fully integrated solution is out of reach this year.
Opportunity 1: Harness and utilise 1st party browsing data before anything else. No indication of buying intent is greater than when a user visits your website. This visitor is “in-market” right now and has made the effort to seek you out. Utilising tools and services that will allow you to react immediately to customer behaviour will support your marketing objectives.
Opportunity 2: Lean on your suppliers and their platforms to help. You may well work with an ESP, use a re-targeting solution, have Conversion Optimisation widgets onsite and have both a Digital and Social Media Agency. These relationships don’t have to work in silo. By sharing your multichannel aspirations, your suppliers can come together, in a cohesive way, to help you achieve your objectives. Remember to reward them for their efforts though as it will still be a lot cheaper and require a lot less resource than investing in an all-encompassing, Omnichannel enterprise solution.
Opportunity 3: Produce creative assets and use dynamic content that work across a variety of channels in order to deliver relevant messages to the customer. How often have you seen brands run a really cool Social media campaign that bares no relation to the Business-as-Usual weekly email that goes out promoting yet another “SALE”?
So, if 2019 is not the year to invest in and embark upon a fully integrated, all singing all dancing Omnichannel customer experience strategy, you can still optimise your marketing efforts by utilising first party data, getting your partners working together and creating some fantastic relevant, timely and co-ordinated communications.