Commentary

The Omnichannel Dilimma: Unify Your Marketing Strategy

Major brands and retailers -- OfficeDepot, Rite Aid, Bed, Bath & Beyond, along with endless others -- are pushing offers to customers like no other time in history. These retail giants attract existing and new customers through email, mobile, Facebook, print, third-party coupons, and offer aggregators. These offer “machines” often have internal marketing teams working independently -- and ultimately, each offer presents its own personality, its own character, its own deal, and sometimes its own branding. It can become quite confusing for customers, and tough for marketers to manage.

Shoppers are not the same as they were even five years ago -- because of mobile and social media, we all receive and consume information very differently. This is great news for brands and consumers alike, giving people all kinds of freedom and choice to shop in the physical world and online.

Brands want to unify strategies -- and even more, they want to understand if (and how) they are effective. The marketing groups that create each disparate program can be as large as small companies, running major offers programs that are responsible for driving extraordinary amounts of revenue. These retailer and brand marketers want to give consumers a similar buying experience in-store as well as across the myriad of devices and channels.  

With the complex and elegant software that exists today, and cloud services abound, it might be overwhelming to pull these pieces together and remain profitable. But in today’s world of efficient technology, there is no need to struggle with an approach that is not unified. A single-platform approach across all media will help solve the omnichannel dilemma and provide unified solutions to the issues marketers experience when communicating directly to customers, and a platform approach will solve deeper problems, such as data analysis for efficiency and security. Here are a few things to consider when implementing a unified-channel approach:

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1.   Create a cohesive offer strategy across multiple channels: Unified email, Web, Facebook, print

2.   Understand how offers can work together to reach new customers and increase sales (also understand what doesn't work so offers can be killed)

3.   Track and measure each campaign -- independently and in tandem with other offers -- to better understand how they are working together to increase revenue

4.   Create gamification strategies to enhance the effectiveness of a blended strategy

5.   Utilize your Big Data to make sense of 20 points+ of data on every offer engagement, a concept that isn’t always easy to tackle

6.   Remain secure across all channels, making sure one customer can't take advantage of the same offer multiple times

These unification strategies can be accomplished if marketers take a platform approach, utilizing software that is available today. The key to success is an approach that takes the omnichannel into consideration. Most retailers and brands look at each channel as its own entity. However, as we all know through our own personal experiences, we all meander through our day using our computer, mobile, tablet, and even paper to organize our daily lives.

As shoppers continue to consume information across all channels, and as devices become even more integrated with focused services (specific and focused services with health care monitoring devices, or intelligent automobile services, for example), marketers will continue to become smarter and more efficient when they have similar communications and offers across a myriad of channels.

 

1 comment about "The Omnichannel Dilimma: Unify Your Marketing Strategy".
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  1. Eric Conn from Leverege, March 22, 2013 at 3:06 p.m.

    Couldn't agree with you more TJ. Although we haven't been using the term "omnichannel" (although I like it;), we've been delivering cross-channel digital campaigns and evergreen products (social, web, mobile, interactive TV) for major brands and publishers. We've found that the operational efficiencies and increased scale are attractive to many of the brands we speak to.

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