Omnichannel has been top-of-mind for marketers since the advent of digital media, and it’s hard to argue with the progress businesses have made in omnichannel marketing over the last decade or so.
Indeed, the industry has come a long way from extolling the benefits of omnichannel to today’s world, where businesses not only understand the benefits of omnichannel marketing, but are increasingly facing pressure from customers and partners to be omnichannel as a standard.
“Today, omnichannel marketing across all addressable channels and inventory, coupled with identity resolution and machine-powered optimization are table stakes for all media buyers and as a result, enriches the consumer experience,” says Dan Rosenberg, chief strategy officer at MediaMath. Not only does omnichannel execution allow you to manage the frequency of ads… but by adopting a more audience-based approach, marketers will be able to consolidate as many addressable channels as possible to enable one-to-one storytelling and messaging, no matter where a customer is connected.”
There are a few key areas of contention that continue to challenge omnichannel marketing as a concept, and marketers will likely grapple with these for the next few years.
Managing the customer journey
The customer journey is extremely difficult to track these days. It’s harder than ever for marketers to distil the customer journey down into the neat funnels that were once standard to the marketing process. Still, marketers are going to have to figure out how to engage customers across disparate channels as best they can.
“Managing consumer data across channels is a challenge with teams that are historically silo’ed and not incentivized to share data. Marketers need to understand the 360-degree customer journey, so that a marketer can address a given consumer’s concern in the moment,” Rosenberg says.
As is the case for practically all digital media, privacy and data ownership will continue to be big concerns for brands doing omnichannel marketing, particularly because of the multiple channels and touchpoints involved.
“As part of privacy, marketers should be good stewards of consumer data, and not advertising too aggressively or invasively with the use of frequency caps. Using frequency caps across channels curb the number of times a consumer sees advertisements from a given marketer on any device,” Rosenberg says.
Similar to privacy, marketers doing omnichannel have a vested interest in the advertising industry’s battles with fraud.
“Fraud has been a longstanding issue within advertising where marketers are realizing that fraud is susceptible across all channels including fake bot data, fake social media profiles and not just an ad tech,” Rosenberg says.
There’s little in the way of best practice here, as these are issues that affect all of marketing, not just omnichannel, and the progression of technology advances and exacerbates problems like privacy and tracking the customer journey.
In the end though, omnichannel is well worth the effort.