Finally, How to Bring Online and Offline Together

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One digital strategist explains how to make customers' digital and physical experiences one enjoyable journey.

The days of individual marketing channels and disconnected customer experiences are fading away. “If you're looking at just that single channel or that single conversion method, sometimes you're missing the big picture,” said Sean Shoffstall, Teradata's VP of innovation and strategy, at the company's 2015 PARTNERS Conference and Expo in Anaheim. “A lot of marketers are so in the weeds that they can't see how all of the data is working together.”

Shoffstall says that the key to creating seamless omnichannel experiences—journeys that are uninterrupted and relevant—is data. In fact, he says that marketers should use all available data as they make decisions on how and when to interact with customers. “We want to get to the individual insights hidden in the data; that's the way to get to omnichannel marketing,” he said. “We want to have enough data to make good decisions, but not get so granular and one-to-one that it paralyzes [the marketer].”

He says that data reveals where customers are, what's important to them, and how or when they want to interact. “Everything we do today is driven around some sort of data point,” Shoffstall said. “Even if we do batch-and-blast marketing, we're using the past to craft a message today.”

But although data is imperative in the creation of omnnichannel experiences, many marketers are drowning in the technology used to collect, organize, and then act on that customer data.

“Marketing tech is an ever-changing landscape. Not only do [marketers] have to keep up with the changes of our customers' wants and demands; we also have to be technologists,” Shoffstall said. “And one of the hardest things for marketers nowadays is that we get inundated with technology, so we forget how important content is. We have to curate our content.”

He insists that content—rooted in customer data—is one of the most effective ways to create an omnichannel experience and an enjoyable customer journey. Shoffstall said that between choosing the right tools and collecting the right data, good content often goes overlooked.

“The biggest challenge marketers have today still is content,” Shoffstall said. “You'd be amazed how much content that you already have, but it's about learning how to use it. Often your customers are making content for you, and you don't even know it. User-generated content is there.”

Omnichannel marketing, he noted, is customer-centric marketing. And it's a marketing strategy that leads to more engaged, connected consumers who are primed to buy from a particular brand.

Shoffstall said there's one main guideline to follow in data-driven marketing: “It's no longer just pushing our messaging all of the time; it's listening to the customers. And that requires data and analytics.”

And data, analytics, and insights are what enable marketers to bridge the consumers' offline and online experiences.


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