On July 24, I par­tic­i­pated in CMSWire’s Tweet Jam “The Omnichan­nel Chal­lenge.” Here’s a recap.

Our hour-long con­ver­sa­tion began with the essen­tial question:


My response begins with

I also believe we need to start think­ing beyond omnichannel—perhaps beyond chan­nels all together. As my col­league Michael Klein wrote, “Con­sumers do not think, live, or shop in channels.”

Also, omnichan­nel expe­ri­ences aren’t some­thing we should think applies to cer­tain seg­ments alone. Every­one deserves and expects omnichan­nel experiences:

So, where did the demand for omnichan­nel come from anyway?

Like all great mar­ket­ing, it starts with the customer:

As mar­keters, we must be where the cus­tomer is to pro­vide these rel­e­vant expe­ri­ences. Of course, in our dynamic world, this can be eas­ier said than done. For instance, cus­tomers’ expe­ri­ences are fueled by a com­bi­na­tion of tech­nol­ogy and culture.

Clearly, omnichan­nel experiences—although incred­i­bly important—can some­times present chal­lenges to marketers.

In fact, many com­pa­nies either do not have enough data or their data is siloed.

Let’s say a con­sumer is sched­uled to receive an email mar­ket­ing cam­paign with an offer for Prod­uct A. But before that email sends, she buys Prod­uct A. Mar­keters need to make sure the offer evolves, react­ing to the lat­est data. Then the con­sumer always gets the best propo­si­tion on the right channel.

I didn’t get a chance to post my third bar­rier to seam­less, con­sis­tent omnichan­nel expe­ri­ences: proof of ROI through report­ing. We all want to know how our mar­ket­ing is per­form­ing. Adding new chan­nels adds new report­ing met­rics. Mar­keters often get dis­cour­aged by report­ing that isn’t robust enough for their spe­cific use cases (i.e., they are not track­ing enough/the right met­rics) or murky about how to tie the met­rics back to ROI.

Yet, as mar­keters, we need to think of omnichan­nel not as a chal­lenge, but as an opportunity.

A strong omnichan­nel strat­egy is just that—strategy. You shouldn’t add new chan­nels to your mar­ket­ing mix just because they’re new. Every marketer’s omnichan­nel strat­egy should be unique and selective.

And so onto the final question:

The answer? Closer than you may think.

After all this, three major themes stood out to me in this dis­cus­sion of omnichan­nel expe­ri­ences. The first is data. With­out data we can’t begin to build truly omnichan­nel cam­paigns. The sec­ond is orga­ni­za­tion. It takes more than one per­son to build omnichan­nel expe­ri­ences. It’s cru­cial to have strong sup­port from an orga­ni­za­tional team. Last is cul­ture. Some­times we get so caught up in tech­nol­ogy that we for­get that cul­ture should drive our busi­ness deci­sions. Remem­ber these themes as you embark on build­ing omnichan­nel experiences.

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