By Gregg Turek, Digital Marketing Manager, Selligent Marketing Cloud
If you’re working in digital marketing, you hear it every day. “Consumers are distracted” or “Consumers are cutting the cord.” And of course, “Consumers are taking control of their media intake and turning to more on-demand channels.”
Whatever the marketing apocalypse of the day is, the final conclusion is that marketers need to be on the channels where consumers are and be consistent across those channels. After all, we’ve come a long way since marketers could plug into broad TV audiences, like back in 1993 when the Late Show with David Letterman reeled in 23 million viewers in a single episode.
Nowadays, consumers oscillate freely between channels and devices. They connect to their favorite content and brands on smartphones, tablets, TVs, watches, smart speakers, or video game systems; sometimes on several screens at the same time. The key to keeping up with these channel-agnostic consumers is omnichannel marketing, which may sound like old hat to marketers, but is actually more relevant than ever.
Why omnichannel marketing is so relevant today
You might know of ‘omnichannel’ as a common marketing buzzword. As far back as 2014, 90 percent of customers demanded consistent interactions with brands across channels and devices[i]. Maybe the buzz around omnichannel marketing has died down a bit. But that’s unfortunate, because brands still have a long way to go when it comes to delivering the kind of consistent – and also personalized – experiences consumers want today:
- Only 29 percent of today’s consumers receive a consistent experience across any channel[ii].
- Only 22 percent of retail customers are satisfied with the current level of personalization in their shopping experiences[iii].
- Only 7 percent of retailers currently offer a unified commerce experience, allowing a customer to ‘start the sale anywhere, finish the sale anywhere’[iv].
With that said, the inconsistencies are so severe, they have actually become pain points: 65 percent of customers are frustrated by inconsistent information or experiences across channels[v].
The bottom line is that consumers want messages and communication from their favorite brands in their preferred channel. And they want messaging to be consistent on other channels as well.
The time to get serious about omnichannel marketing is now
Adding to the complexity, every consumer has a unique preference when it comes to channels and devices. Some prefer to interact with brands via email, others on social. Quite a few like to receive updates and offers via text or push message.
That’s why a good starting point is building a strong omnichannel customer data foundation. Today’s sophisticated engagement platforms capture data from a broad range of channels and touchpoints – web, mobile, social, customer service, etc. – in universal consumer profiles.
Stored in customer data platforms (CDPs), these profiles are updated in real time and available to teams across the organization. That way, customers don’t have to identify themselves every time they contact customer service – which they hate doing – and brands maintain a full 360-degree view of each customer.
Use your tools for personalized omnichannel engagement
With your data structure in place, it’s time to connect the dots. Use your marketing platform’s omnichannel capabilities to reach every consumer on the preferred channel and device, as well as preferred time of day when messages are most likely to be read.
Delivering this kind of personal engagement at scale may sound daunting. But with the help of marketing-specific AI-engines, it’s just a matter of running relevant, actionable data. AI tools can now help marketers navigate the whole customer journey, influencing send-time optimization to choose the perfect moment (and channel) to engage.
AI-powered segmentation tools can automatically find the most responsive audience demographic for a specific campaign or initiative. Offer-related AI can create relevant product recommendations and offers for each customer. Connect these capabilities to smart automation and dynamic content, and you’re serving consistent experiences across channels.
Also keep in mind that omnichannel also includes analog channels like in-store retail, where many brands today are struggling to identify (online) customers and provide personalized assistance. Analog marketing as part of an omnichannel strategy is one place where marketers can distinguish themselves. For example, French children’s apparel brand TAPE À L’ŒIL (TOA) bridges the gap by equipping in-store personnel with customer profiles on tablet computers.
Whether it’s offline or online, today’s consumers demand consistent customer experiences from brands they love. The fact that only 29 percent of consumers are getting them is a major motivator to digital marketers. Those who can wow customers with omnichannel personalization and relevance today are going to be first in mind tomorrow.
Creating a true omnichannel connection with your consumers that love your brand can provide overwhelmingly rewarding benefits. Download the complimentary white paper, “Omnichannel Engagement: An Insight-Led Approach,” to start delivering experiences to your consumers across their preferred channels and on a whole new level.