With back-to-school campaigns underway and holiday planning in full swing, brands are scrambling to implement agile and effective omnichannel strategies.
Omni mirrors customer behavior. Every person has a unique approach to finding and choosing brands. Each person regularly shifts from one channel to the next in researching products, services and deals. The channel sequence, timing, devices and duration of research are wildly idiosyncratic. According to Mobile Payments Today, 98 percent of Americans switch between devices in the same day using an average of six touch points before making a buying decision. All this activity yields more valuable prospects. Omnichannel shoppers, according to Google, have a 30 percent higher lifetime value than solo channel shoppers.
Consumers expect favorite brands to know them and seamlessly address them in any channel they choose, serving up personally relevant, useful and valuable messages. Shoppers expect consistent interactions across channels. Two-thirds expect to receive real-time customer service support regardless of channel.
Omnichannel is a marketing state of mind. Everyone shares the aspiration to have a complete, robust and constantly updated understanding of every customer and prospect. One-to-One marketing is still the technically elusive and privacy challenged Holy Grail. Creating a so-called “Golden Record” is nearly impossible in most large-scale organizations. Marketers are kids with their noses pressed up against the candy store window. They know what they want. But they are frustrated and hamstrung by legacy systems, silos, and the realities of data collection, storage, hacks and growing concerns about customer privacy and potential regulation.
Omnichannel is a time and space monitor. Virtually everyone has a mobile phone and most Americans have smartphones. Seventy-five percent of mobile users check their device first thing each morning and the average American checks his or her device many times a day.
A detailed understanding of mobile customer psychology and customer journeys – emotional, rational and through time and space -- is now critical for any form of meaningful consumer engagement. The research about device use, cross-device use and sequential device use is in its infancy. Everyone expects that patterns are emerging. Few have identified them. Using these patterns to discern and clarify inflection points, openings in the conversation and multi-channel messaging strategies, even directionally, is crucial for successful branded interactions.
Omnichannel is an IT challenge and a frustration. Enterprises are collecting mountains of data in many different channels using many different systems or platforms. The challenge is normalizing the data by confirming each individual identity and then finding a way to join together disparate tables of data that signal segments, preferences or infer individual needs or wants. In many cases, legacy systems, data silos, internal politics and budget constraints reduce processing capabilities. Many large enterprises need to “lift and shift” data sets to an external platform to work around self-imposed limitations.
Omnichannel is imperative for customer intimacy and loyalty. Sam Walton insisted that you have to meet and be available to customers whenever and wherever they express interest. Now marketers and technology professionals have to construct or piece together data, systems and processes to deliver this promise to ADD audiences that expect to be known, to be instantly gratified and to be addressed individually across the multiple channels that matter to them.
An effective omnichannel strategy, is rooted in the customer journey, assembles as much compliant data as possible and tactical plans and schedules message content and frequency against discrete consumer segments. That’s why Amazon runs thousands of distinct campaigns. The key to winning and effectively competing is developing an omnichannel mindset and exercising enough command and control to marshal and deploy marketing resources effectively.
Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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