Your consumers sit at a merging point of multiple marketing channels and therefore, so should you. Most of today’s marketing masters already know that adapting content to include multiple channels is a necessity, but what some lose sight of, is the fact that – in order to acknowledge and fully own that merging point – marketers are taking on more than just a multi-channel approach. They are tackling the idea of being relevant and contextual to the consumer while maintaining omnipresence.
Isn’t that the same thing? Not exactly. In fact, recognizing the difference between the two might seem arbitrary, but the distinction is incredibly useful in creating a meaningful brand impression.
Multi-channel simply means you are using different vehicles for your messaging – regardless of cohesiveness, strategy or, most importantly, the customers’ needs and behaviors. Omnichannel also encompasses multiple vehicles but requires a much larger commitment to a cohesive brand presence along each part of the customer journey in context to emotional and functional need.
This means that marketers have to be Renaissance men and women, not only able to seamlessly adapt their image to these many different channels in a consistent manner but also ensure that it is relevant, contextual and progressive as customers move along in their respective journeys. Here are a few jumping off points to get you started:
- Start by understanding consumer behavior, emotional needs and functional needs. At the end of the day, it is all about understanding the behaviors that need to be changed, and then leveraging your content strategy seamlessly across channels to inspire that change; the right message to the right person, at the right time – agnostic of the channel, touch-point or device.
- Use data integration across channels for a Universal Consumer Profile. Make sure that data can be shared faultlessly across internal and external systems and across paid, owned and earned channels. Create a universal understanding of the customer via social, behavioral and shopping data to deliver a personalized and connected experience.
- Create an Integrated Experience Plan with roles and responsibilities for each channel. You can easily leverage data and insights to determine the optimum channel mix here. Keep the ones that compliment the different technologies you have in place, and lose the ones that don’t. Eliminate isolated, channel-specific additions completely – each channel should be able to effortlessly speak to the others using data as the glue.
- Make sure that your teams producing content for each channel are on the same page. While companies utilizing the multi-channel approach often employ a team for each channel, the omnichannel approach seeks to accomplish a more unified front, taking into consideration the fact that customers can jump from one channel to the next (from email to website to call center to social media to catalog, etc) in an instant. Adopting a team dynamic that allows you to represent your company and product as a singular, interconnected entity should be at the forefront of your mind.
- Remember your end goal: consumer engagement and lifetime value management. There is no doubt that the modern consumer can be influenced and inspired through a single-channel approach. After all, they are living and breathing in a digital world with the ability to make instant decisions wherever and whenever the impulse strikes. However, that multi-channel usage is almost futile without impeccable continuity between channels. Creating a consistent and contextual customer experience, and maintaining it in every area allows customers to have a relationship with your brand—one that they can depend on and build trust around.
Customers are browsing online, searching Google on their phones, reading reviews and sharing their own thoughts on forums and blogs across countless touch-points and channels. A marketing strategy dedicated to achieving, relevant omnichannel presence is the best way to produce a completely composed view of your company and its value.