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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