Doing omnichannel marketing right is about strategy. With these five tips, well-planned omnichannel marketing will make every marketer on your team a CMO.

Everyone talks about omnichannel marketing, but few marketers are really doing it right. According to current research, 91 percent of retailers and brands have an omnichannel strategy – or plans to adopt one.

But when rating the quality of the omnichannel experiences they are delivering, 48 percent of marketers rated their efforts ‘average,’ 14 percent ‘poor,’ and 6 percent ‘very poor.’ Only 25 percent evaluated themselves as ‘good’.

The reason these self-reported ratings are so low is probably because most brands lack a cohesive omnichannel strategy. Poor strategy can manifest in two key ways:

  1. Marketing teams are siloed, and not set up to work with other departments/parts of business, and/or
  2. Marketing teams aren’t truly omnichannel - they’re focused on one or two primarily.

Generally speaking, many of today’s marketers aren’t doing well across their channels because they're looking at each channel as a separate option, and consider marketing communications in a silo separate from departments such as customer service. But this approach is more on the lines of ‘multi-channel’ than omnichannel.

When omnichannel marketing is done well, you’ll see that marketing teams tend to treat their channels like instruments in an orchestra. Each can play solo and carry on alone if needed, but generally they are designed to come together harmoniously to deliver a coherent experience.

Omnichannel Strategy Makes All the Difference

The key to delivering a harmonious omnichannel experience is strategy. Well-planned, strategic omnichannel marketing makes everyone on your marketing team a CMO, or the orchestra conductor in our analogy. Your marketing cloud platform and tech stack have empowered you with the software, technology, and tools to make it happen. 

Now you need to use these instruments and execute on them. Here are five tips for taking a strategic approach to your omnichannel marketing:

  1. Utilize your customer’s data and behaviors. How are customers choosing to engage with your brand? What is their path across channels in specific use cases? Are they having a consistent experience in key areas like product discovery, troubleshooting, and customer service? 
    This step requires breaking down data silos in your organization and optimizing your data architecture towards seamless capture across online and offline touchpoints. Customer data platforms (CDPs) have been created for the distinct purpose of sharing real-time intelligence across the entire organization (also read our blog story on CDPs). 
  2. Plan journeys and campaigns from the customer’s perspective. Visualize your journeys and campaigns from an omnichannel perspective, from the beginning of ideation to completion. What does the customer need at what stage of the journey, and what channel is best suited to deliver it?
    Use your data-based insights from step 1 to create integrated experiences and deliver the right message at the right time and on the right device.
  3. Provide consistency based on context. Omnichannel marketing is all about keeping the customer experience consistent. That means maintaining a singular brand voice and corporate identity across all channels, but remaining flexible to adapt to individual customer needs so you’re always providing value in your communication.
    Recognizing context can be tricky, especially at scale, but that’s why marketing-specific AI engines can transform your data points into targeted engagement, down to the perfect send time and personalized content for each customer (read our story on how AI delivers relevance at scale).
  4. Think beyond engagement. Let’s say you’ve been doing engagement for years and you’re an expert. Focus on delivering consistent experiences instead, even when the customer is taking the initiative to interact. Does your inbound marketing offer answers where customers expect to find them? Is your content location-optimized and mobile-optimized?
    And with voice searches projected to account for 30 percent of web searches by 2020 (ComScore), is your brand first in line when consumers engage via voice assistants (read our primer on voice-based marketing)?
  5. Optimize omnichannel experiences for minimal effort. As consumer data flows into your centralized data repositories, use AI-engines designed to crunch data and behavior properly so your omnichannel journeys are always self-improving and self-optimizing. 

Get Serious About Omnichannel Strategy

When asked about the reason for delivering less-than-optimal omnichannel engagement, 45 percent of brands and retailers named lack of ‘the right omnichannel technology’ as the main reason. 

But great strategy sometimes requires investment. Looking ahead, the brands delivering seamless CX across channels with ease will be the ones with seamlessly aligned strategic resources on the backend. If you’re one of those brands, it’s time to get serious about omnichannel strategy.  

Read our free white paper, Consumer-First Omnichannel Marketing Defined, to understand how to implement engagement strategies based on integrity and empathy. Ensure that every communication is meaningful, relevant, and delivered to your customers seamlessly on their preferred channels, at precisely the right time.

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