Tools and Techniques for Omnichannel Marketing

Susanne Zander, Reply Practice Leader eCommerce Marketing

1

How to attract prospective customers to your business

Companies wishing to attract prospective customers, retain existing customers and successfully market their products and services must cater to different channels as seamlessly as possible while taking all channels into consideration. It is thus important to know the specifics of each channel and to employ the right tools and techniques.

For companies still pursuing a multichannel approach or already pursuing an omnichannel strategy, the key marketing question is whether the company is already sending a consistent message to its customers, regardless of the platforms and channels on which it observes them, or whether each channel has its own message and strategy.

Multichannel marketing uses a variety of platforms and channels to convey a message to customers and address them in a targeted manner. Companies are faced with the challenge of providing users with the right channel while at the same time attracting the attention of as many people as possible.

Omnichannel marketing focuses on individual customers and a consistent customer experience across all available channels. The goal here is sales, but the messages that customers receive via the various touchpoints of their customer journey, including when changing channels, are consistent and build on one another. Ideally, these messages complement customer journey information that creates a unique customer experience at the right time and on the right channel and ultimately motivates customers to make purchases. Omnichannel marketing thus also includes multichannel capabilities.

2

Omnichannel is becoming a prerequisite for the digital world

Customers currently investing in digitization cannot do without omnichannel marketing. Omnichannel marketing ensures a positive customer experience throughout the entire customer journey. This applies to all business areas and not just marketing. The implementation of a holistic omnichannel strategy follows a roadmap of individual initiatives that create and leverage the omnichannel capabilities bit by bit.

The diversity of terms on the market, the undifferentiated use of the terms multi- and omnichannel and the fast pace at which new terms and concepts attract attention represent a noteworthy dynamic currently creating uncertainty and confusion.

Companies wishing to rely on omnichannel will face more challenges in the future. In companies where omnichannel is already a part of corporate strategy, it often fails due to operationalization. Omnichannel marketing thus requires a set of prerequisites mostly relating to operational processes and systems that are exchanged or adapted.

Companies wishing to adopt an external omnichannel approach have to apply the same strategy internally. Departments, marketing and sales in particular, should coordinate closely, work together to develop messages and coordinate their timing. It is also valuable to evaluate the performance of individual initiatives and campaigns. Studying the actions and reactions of customers for additional optimization is also relevant.

Implementing omnichannel means centering thinking and acting on the customer. The goal is to establish a valuable customer relationship across the entire customer journey. Trust becomes an important differentiating factor on the market and another success factor of an omnichannel strategy. This also involves the trustworthy handling of customer data and transparency towards the customer.

3

The future will bring intelligent language assistants and machine learning

Omnichannel is closely linked to customer experience. This means that all technologies that positively impact the customer experience are relevant. Siri, Alexa and others, which were developed as customer self-service, are becoming more and more intelligent. With Amazon's Echo Look, this development is moving in the direction of Alexa becoming a "loyal friend." The question is whether this still represents marketing or commerce. This fusion will continue and new channels will emerge.

Machine learning/deep learning is also already being used to provide companies with relevant insights from their data. Social and geospatial data also flow into segment formation in order to achieve improved results in customer correspondence.

Companies must find fast and efficient ways to process and analyze if they want to keep pace with the exponential growth of complex data in both multi-channel and omni-channel environments. Data-driven strategies for advanced business analysis, operational intelligence and machine learning are essential of companies wish to maintain their positions.

4

The right tools and platforms

Four essential components for starting:

  • Execution
    A multi-channel marketing automation platform.

  • Play
    Digital, analog and physical appearances to play with contents.

  • Analytics and science
    A data management platform into which all data, including analytics and insights, flow.

  • KPI dashboards
    Real-time KPI dashboards tailored to the needs of the various stakeholders.