Omnichannel Marketing: 5 Ways to Start Connecting Your ChannelsPosted on February 26th, 2021 by Cameron Schulz
If it wasn’t made clear by the nearly 20 mentions over the last three blogs—including one entirely dedicated to the topic—omnichannel marketing is all about connection. As a marketing strategy, that shouldn’t come as a surprise, but what may have been new to some is that omnichannel marketing isn’t just about making connections with customers. It’s about making connections for customers. So, what does that mean? Well, as we discussed in a previous blog, an omnichannel marketing approach seeks to create connections between channels to allow buyers and customers to fluidly transition back and forth between their preferred channels for a better overall brand experience.
If you’ve been following along with the blog over the last couple of weeks, you’ve learned the when, what, and why of the omnichannel marketing trend in 2021, so there’s only one logical question to ask next: how do you connect the channels in your strategy?
5 Ways to Create a Connection Between Your Marketing Channels:
1. Consumer First Focus:
If there’s anything mentioned more that connection throughout the existing omnichannel blogs, it’s putting the customer first. You’re connecting these channels together for the customer. Why wouldn’t you put them first? Everyone knows you should have buyer personas and segmentation and so on and so forth. But to truly focus on the consumer first when creating connections between channels you’ll have to look further.
Utilize your current data and insights to identify which channels your consumers show preference for. Once you’ve determined top channels you should be engaging, dig deeper. Find the data that indicates what types of interactions your consumers desire to experience through those channels. Now, look at how and where they switch gears—change channels—and what could be a source of friction or frustration at that transition point. Once you’ve uncovered those sources, you can set about finding resolutions and clearing the way for your customers to continue their journey.
2. Consistent Brand Messaging
Whether you’re a small business with few channels or a conglomerate with channels and subchannels abound, consistent brand messaging is key to not only brand recognition, but to creating an uninterrupted transition from one marketing channel to the next. Inconsistency creates doubt and mistrust, neither of which are going to encourage your consumers to continue their journey.
Evaluate existing content—both digital and physical—to determine if your brand is represented consistently across all channels, revising as needed. If you haven’t already, establish brand guidelines that clearly communicate the details of each component used to present your brand. When your consumers receive a piece of direct mail that guides them to your website, it should contain the same logo, color scheme, basic messaging, etc. that will be present on the site. That cohesiveness removes any doubt as to whether they’re on the right page and encourages them to continue their exploration.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI gathers data and insight to learn from the digital behaviors of your consumers in real-time and anticipate their next steps. Therefore, AI will be an indispensable tool for developing connections between your channels and delivering a seamless, and personalized, buying experience. Without the personalization provided by AI, you’d never be able to account for the limitless combinations of customer interactions across channels, and you’d be unable to foresee and accommodate critical channel connections.
If you’re not already utilizing machine learning, now is the time to do it. Be sure to implement an AI tool that has the specifications to support omnichannel marketing, such as full customer view, cross-channel tracking, recommendation, and optimization features. Once you’ve introduced AI, it’s important not to eliminate the human touches that consumers still desire. Your AI tools and your human workforce will have to work together to achieve optimal and efficient execution across all channels and throughout the buying experience.
4. Integrated Technology
Integrating and consolidating your tech stack provides many benefits . Specific to creating connections among channels, it provides increased data transparency and increased communications among channels that are operated in separate departments such as sales and customer service. Essentially, integration of technology creates a concrete digital connection among your imperative channels.
Examine your tech stack to identify opportunities for integration or a single vendor that offers a superior package solution that could replace several of your individual systems. If you choose to seek an expansion of a relationship with an existing vendor, be sure that their competing solution measures up (or, better yet, exceeds) the function, capability, and quality of the prior solution. Creating a digital collaborative space will allow you to harness collective knowledge of your audience gathered from various perspectives and support those insights with data to provide that coveted ‘360 view’ of the customer and their journey.
5. Department Alignment
As we discussed in, Omnichannel Marketing: Why Connected Channels Bare Better Experiences, department alignment is instrumental in collecting not only the most consumer data and insight, but the best consumer data and insight. Although the previous recommendation will facilitate digital collaboration, department leaders will need to spearhead the movement for physical collaboration to truly align each department to the same focus—a single view of the consumer and their journey.
Establish regular meetings among the departments to evaluate the data and discuss the interactions of each of the most eminent prospects. Are they new to the funnel? Have they interacted with anyone? Who and how did they interact? Are they an existing customer showing interest in an additional product? These are the types of questions you can discuss to ensure that wherever prospects (or clients) are in their journey with your brand, their next step into a new channel will be personalized based on their previous behavior and easy to complete.
Your Omnichannel Strategy: Get Connected
Bridging the gaps between your channels will provide the foundation from which you will continue to build and execute your omnichannel strategy. Once you’ve established connections, you’ll begin collecting better data and insights that will feed further optimization of the brand experience. Your teams will learn to evaluate the entirety of the journey to identify weaknesses and work together to find solutions. Your sales cycles will experience consistent increases in effectiveness and speed. Most importantly, your consumers will receive what they need, when they need it, and how they need it at every touchpoint while effortlessly transitioning from channel to channel, making their way through their own unique and highly personalized buying journey.