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Laying the Groundwork for Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel Marketing. Cross-device consideration. Multi Channel advertising. In the constantly evolving world of marketing, advertising and marketing technology, who can even keep up with the buzzwords? While it may sound confusing, omnichannel marketing is simple… at least in definition. It is the act of building campaign and sales initiatives that consider all of your online properties and offline efforts, with each device in mind (mobile, desktop, tablet, etc). And while that may sound simple enough, it’s tougher to execute than it may seem.

Consider this scenario:

ExampleCo is looking to build leads for their lines of professional services. They have allocated a reasonable ad budget for this push. They have a fairly robust email contact database and what they consider to be a fairly up-to-date website. Additionally, they’ve had success with direct mail and billboards in the past, so they consider these advertising options as well.

What They Did:

They decide their best course of action is to leverage their strong marketing channels in order to convert some of their contacts and fans into leads.

1.  They begin by planning a series of emails that will be sent to their targeted “business” segment in their newsletter database, inviting them to download their latest white paper that is embedded on a landing page. They set up an event in analytics to track every time someone downloads the PDF of this white paper.

2.  They develop a series of television and radio spots that encourage local business owners to visit them on the web and subscribe to their newsletter for information on how they can help grow their business. They then hope to add these newsletter sign ups to their database and send them the emails outlined in section one.

Where They Went Wrong:

Sounds pretty comprehensive, right? Unfortunately, if true omnichannel implementation is not occurring, there are dozens of points where the campaign may underperform or completely fall flat.

Their emails are being delivered to a targeted contact list. They’re receiving impressive open rates, above average industry click through rates, but very few conversions are being tracked. The problem? Like most companies, the majority of their email recipients are checking their inboxes on a mobile device. While ExampleCo feels like their site is up to date, it’s not mobile responsive, so their PDF download is buried beneath a wall of text when viewed on an iPhone. Additionally, the few downloads that they have received have been from anonymous users. A core component of lead generation is the follow up, but because ExampleCo failed to put their content behind a form, there are few next steps for the campaign without captured information that can be utilized to connect with their consumers. While their traditional broadcast plan may indeed drive interest, ExampleCo did not take the steps to ensure that their effectiveness can be tracked.

While they have seen an increase in calls to their main line, they did not implement dedicated call tracking numbers to their spots. Because of this, they cannot be sure where these calls are originating from or if their broadcast efforts are driving this traffic.

Additionally, their spots drive traffic to their generic homepage instead of a vanity URL that leads to a tracking URL. Many of these users are arriving via mobile device, so they may be encountering the same frustrations as the newsletter users who have attempted to take action on the site. Finally, they have seen an increase of newsletter sign ups, but since they’re not sure where they’re coming from, they cannot truly add them to their “business” contact segments without some kind of direct follow up to identify them after the fact.

A True Omnichannel Marketing Approach

Both of these efforts are examples of well-intentioned campaigns that simply fall short due to logistical missteps and user experience oversights. The result? Lots of wasted ad budget and some frustrated potential customers.

But by adopting an omnichannel, customer-first strategy, ExampleCo can provide consumers with a seamless experience, regardless of the media or channel that drove them to their site or online resources to begin with. By utilizing not only multiple devices, but also best practices for each when it comes to putting their message front and center, an omnichannel approach can help refine messaging into a hyper-targeted campaign that is, for all intents and purposes, perfectly made for ExampleCo’s targeted demographics.

What truly distinguishes an omnichannel initiative from the traditional multichannel customer experience is integration. It’s the ability to deliver what the customer wants, when and where they want it in a way that is driven by real-world data and effective research. And an Omnichannel approach can go beyond digital into the real world, too. With the right insights, customer service representatives can, in a physical store, immediately reference a customer’s previous purchases and preferences just as easily as the representative on the phone or the enabled online chatbot can. Or, the customer using a desktop computer can browse a company’s website, save items in a cart, purchase the items on a different device and then opt to pick up their purchase at a physical store location, rather than having it shipped. Both of these examples utilize research based around how a customer interacts with a brand in order to bring them an experience not just fit for their demographic, but is also unique to their buying patterns, trends and preferred peripherals. This helps promote positive buying experiences and improves the user journey immensely, which can help turn first-time buyers into effective brand ambassadors much faster than traditional means, with the added benefit of generating effective leads with long-term potential.

And the benefits to an omnichannel approach don’t just benefit customers. According to an Aberdeen Group study of over 300 companies, those with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to just 33% for companies with weaker strategies. And if that’s not proof enough, a well-conceived and implemented omnichannel strategy has proven to increase annual revenues more than 9.5% year-over-year.

What’s Next?

Although we are just scratching the surface of this subject, one of the best actions a marketer can take to move their business in the direction of an effective omnichannel strategy is to first perform a self evaluation of their digital ecosystem. Performing regular assessments can shine a light on the strengths (and weaknesses) of your marketing channels and help to pinpoint where you should focus your efforts to become truly omnipresent to your targeted demographics.

Ready to take the next step in your business’s growth? We’re making it easy to get started with our quick assessment tool: BBR’s Marketing Integration Scorecard. Simply fill out the spreadsheet as honestly and accurately as possible, and you’ll receive a simplified snapshot of your brand’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to digital and traditional channels.

And as always, BBR is here to help you with your omnichannel strategy, from start to sustained customer value.