Welcome to Omnichannel Week

Multichannel marketing is nothing new, of course.

Ever since brands and agencies started aligning campaigns across magazines, billboards, and radio, we’ve lived in a multichannel world. The last ten years, of course, have seen channels proliferate at an extraordinary rate: Whoever thought that a kind of pre-Tinder for Harvard students would, by 2017, be one of the most important marketing and advertising channels in history, with over one billion daily active users?

But omnichannel is a step beyond multichannel. And paradoxically, there are two ways of looking at the phenomenon. From one perspective, omnichannel marketing is literally about making use of every conduit (one-way and two-way) which can connect a brand to its audience — with the important caveat that not all channels are equally relevant to all brands.

But we’re increasingly hearing from marketers that omnichannel marketing merely looks forward to the next step on this amazing journey, which is marketing without regard for channels. Channel-agnostic marketing means having strategies — a data strategy, an audience strategy, a campaign strategy — which are ready to execute across any channel, platform, and device.

When I spoke with Acxiom’s customers last month about the vendor’s “omnichannel integration” solution, what I heard about was the need to be able to “plug and play the data” regardless of whether the channel is old or new, digital or physical. One important aspect of omnichannel we’ll be looking at this week is the re-investment in physical, real-world channels, now that it’s increasingly possible to align them with digital.

So Omnichannel Week on DMN might well be a case of ave atque vale — hail and farewell. Hail to the innovative technologies which finally allow brands to apply a single view of the customer in every channel under the sun. And farewell to the very concept of channel marketing.

Follow along, and see if you agree.

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