thinking dog BLOG

Does it seem like we as marketers are always one step behind our audiences? People started Googling everything, so we figured out paid search. Then they started spending all their time on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, so we started focusing on social. Now our audiences are using all types of devices during the customer journey, so we have to figure out how to reach them through multiple channels with a cohesive and personal experience.

That’s essentially what omnichannel marketing is: providing a seamless customer experience, regardless of the channel or device. That means your messaging, design, and execution need to be in sync with your brick-and-mortar store, your mobile app and your Facebook retargeting ads. Do this, and you’ll be head and shoulders above the competition. Fail, and you will lose customers.

We all know we need to be doing it, and yet, very few of us are…successful so far. To get a better idea of what an omnichannel marketing strategy looks like and how it should be part of your business, here are some quotes from our favorite marketing influencers.

What is omnichannel marketing?

1. John Bowden, Senior VP of Customer Care at Time Warner Cable

Omni-channel, however, is viewing the experience through the eyes of your customer, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent.” (Source: Marketo)

The difference between omnichannel and multi-channel marketing can be a little fuzzy. John shows us that multi-channel is the operational view of how customers complete transactions with each channel, while omnichannel marketing is multi-channel marketing done right. It makes the entire customer process fluid and anticipates the needs of your customers.

2. Jacquelyn Wossilius, Director of Bowlmor AMF

“Omni-channel marketing opens the door for you to provide an interconnectedness among touch-points for your audience as they engage with your brand. You can display one mind and one voice at every point in which you are communicating with your consumer.” (Source: Blue Fountain Media)

Jacquelyn perfectly sums up omnichannel marketing with the phrase “one mind and one voice at every point.” Omnichannel isn’t just about channels; it’s about consistent branding, messaging, and design to give your audience a unique and engaging experience.

How does omnichannel marketing work?

3. Loren McDonald, Vice President Industry Relations, Silverpop, an IBM Company
@LorenMcDonald

“From an execution perspective, [omnichannel] means listening to and capturing data and behavior from a customer across all channels and then responding back through the channel, or channels, that best moves that individual customer on to the next step of the journey.” (Source: Marketing Sherpa)

Loren highlights just how important data is to omnichannel. We have to have the right tools in place to “listen” to our customers so we can understand their needs, preferences, unique customer journey, and how we can best respond and help them in that journey. Omnichannel data and attribution must account for all customer touchpoints, online and offline.

4. Jason Goldberg, SVP of Commerce at Razorfish
@retailgeek

“Every retailer needs an attribution model that encourages omni-channel behavior. All stakeholders from the C-suite to the stockroom need to agree on, buy into, and understand how to measure the performance criteria.” (Source: Media Post)

Jason explains one of the biggest barriers to omnichannel marketing is attribution. When you make it easy for people to shop online, in store, and both at once, it is incredibly tricky assigning credit. One of my favorite tips from Jason: distinguish attribution from accounting. One of the simplest ways for retailers to achieve omnichannel attribution is to give each channel credit for sales influenced. The credit you give may add up to more than the total sale, but this isn’t accounting, the point is to see what’s working.

5. Gregory Ng, VP at Digital PointSource
@GregoryNg

“Optimizing an entire consumer decision journey for multiple and mixed channels may be nearly impossible. Building relevant next actions for individual touchpoints, however, is much more manageable.” (Source: Monetate)

This approach is all about testing, which can help you pinpoint the best approach for each segment. Marketers just need to focus on small tasks that make it possible to create engaging experiences for the customer.

6. Aaron Agius, Hubspot contributor
@IAmAaronAgius

“Every company must develop its own unique omni-channel infrastructure, and you’ll need to work closely with several departments in your company to develop this strong strategy. While building your own program, look to the following stakeholders: Executives, IT, Marketing, Customer Service, Staff directly involved in the experience.” (Source: HubSpot)

For a successful omnichannel strategy, you need to look outside of the marketing room. Both teams and individual stakeholders need to be involved to make sure goals are met, and that you’re putting out the best campaigns possible.

7. Yoni Ben-Yehuda, Chief Marketing Officer at Blue Fountain Media

“Making the most of your campaign by utilizing omni-channel strategies allows you to take your creative ideas and deliver them to an audience. Through research and data analytics, you can target the right people rather than all of the people. Because at the end of the day, that specifically targeted group is the one you really want to influence.” (Source: Blue Fountain Media)

When we think about omnichannel marketing, we tend to think more about media channels as opposed to the creative. As we try to reach our customers with great media placement and content, we also need to emphasize the creative. Sometimes the right creative team with the right idea will make your brand stand out more than anything else.

8. Clare Price, VP of Research at Demand Metric

“Mobile engagements are driving omni-channel growth across online and offline shopping environments. Solution providers that are enabling brands to embrace the mobile platform and modernize interactions with in-store shoppers will be at the forefront of the omni-channel retail customer experience.” (Source: TouchCommerce)

There’s no doubt that omnichannel marketing is being fueled by mobile activity, which drive both online and offline engagement. Retailers have to think about using mobile to enhance and improve the in-store experience, and even use mobile to drive in-store visits or phone calls.

Omnichannel and the customer experience

9. Daniel Newman, President of Broadsuite
@DanielNewmanUV

Stop thinking of your customers in terms of “X” number of leads down the funnel. Treat them as real people and focus on personalizing each of their interactions and experiences with your brand.” (Source: Entrepreneur)

With all of our analytics, we’ve gotten used to thinking of our customers in terms of numbers, but we have to remember they are people. This thought process is effective in all types of marketing, not just omnichannel. We should always be thinking of the individual and how best to cater to their needs. It’s our responsibility to eliminate friction for our customers. While their shopping behavior can be unpredictable, our marketing tactics don’t have to be.

10. Michael Hinshaw, CEO McorpCX
@MichaelHinshaw

“An omnichannel approach puts the customer at the center of its strategy and is based on an “outside-in” view of the world. It recognizes that not only do customers continually switch channels, they often use channels simultaneously.

“On the other hand, many companies focus on driving maximum performance from each channel. This is more of a multichannel strategy, and it is often the result of an “inside-out” view of the world. These channels are typically managed in different silos and groups, with their own revenue goals and reporting structures.” (Source: CMO.com)

Michael makes it clear that marketers need to make a fundamental shift in their thinking, reporting, and organization structures in order to achieve a true omnichannel customer experience that puts the customer at the center.