Technology gives customers the freedom and power to research, purchase from, and communicate with brands. But in order to use technology effectively, marketing teams must deliver a seamless, superior experience.
Our earlier article explored how Omnichannel marketing is a strategic, multichannel approach that provides your customers with a unified brand experience across all customer touchpoints. It connects all the digital and in-person experiences that technology provides, in a cohesive, effortless way and propels customers to take action, no matter where they are or where they go. So whether a customer is interacting with you in a store, on a website, or on the phone, they feel like it’s one experience with your brand – not multiple, disjointed ones.
But Omnichannel marketing is no walk in the park. It takes a strategy to guide your goals, focus your efforts, and make it happen.
What to include in your omnichannel marketing strategy
Before we go further, it’s helpful to build on a simple definition of strategy. “A strategy is knowing today why and how you’re going to win tomorrow,” says Michael Shattuck, strategic operations consultant at Widen. Michael employs this definition when he works with customers to identify and implement systems and processes that work together to enable brands to flourish. It’s good to refer back to this often to ensure you’re working toward your desired omnichannel goal.
To begin defining your omnichannel marketing strategy, ask yourself:
- What is the purpose of your omnichannel marketing?
- Where are you focusing your efforts?
- Why will you win?
- What’s needed to win?
What will you achieve by creating a seamless, consistent customer experience? Dig deeper than the definition of omnichannel marketing. What does omnichannel marketing mean for your business? Get specific about what it will help you accomplish.
Let’s look at what this purpose might look like for different industries.
- Retail – A retailer may seek to improve sales on mobile phones. This gives the retailer a focus of helping customers see, learn about, and purchase products in a brick-and-mortar store, as well as on-the-go.
- Foodservice – A foodservice provider may seek to reduce the time between a customer deciding they want food and the time they get it. That objective may lead them to focus on where customers are spending time, like waiting in line and deciding what to order, and then reducing that time.
- Software – A software company may seek to increase customer retention by delivering fast, personalized service. That may lead to focus on understanding what questions those customers have and where they’re asking them.
With a purpose for your omnichannel marketing, you can now determine where to focus your efforts. These choices will help you understand why you’ll win and what you need to get there.
Start with defining your audience. We know everyone isn’t our audience, but winning the business and admiration of everyone can be tempting. To narrow your omnichannel audience down, think about those who will be impacted the most by a better multichannel experience with your brand. That audience should be the one who is going to help you meet your business objective as well. If you have several audiences, try identifying your primary audience and marking the rest as secondary.
Now with your audience defined, ask yourself: what are their preferences and expectations for your product or service? Where are they when they think of your brand?
In order to support this, you need to understand the minimum requirements for success on each channel. For example, if your audience wants you on Twitter, is it because they want you publishing fresh content daily or do they just need to know you’re available for customer support there?
You can then start to think about those opportunities to give your customers value past those minimum requirements or expectations. Maybe a customer’s in a hurry. What can you do so they no longer have to make a choice between picking up a coffee and being late to work? Can you use data from prior experiences with this customer to help them do both?
Now you need to understand what differentiates you and your omnichannel strategy. What value is your omnichannel marketing adding to the customer experience? What gives you an edge over your direct competitors?
Think about what your customers value and how you’re going to deliver on those desires and expectations. If your customers want to see peer reviews when making purchasing decisions, make those reviews accessible from wherever they are. If they value speed, remove or reduce steps on their purchase path. If they value quality, show it wherever they can see your product.
To ensure you’re staying true to the essence of your brand, use your brand archetype, values, and message to guide how you’re crafting these connected experiences.
Once you understand the purpose of your omnichannel marketing program, where you’re focusing your efforts, and how you’ll win, it’s time to identify what’s required for you to win.
This is where you can start mapping out the capabilities, processes, and tools required to make your omnichannel marketing strategy work. Some tools and processes to consider:
- Marketing automation platform – Automate marketing actions or tasks to deliver more personalized marketing content on your website, email, and social media channels.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) system – Manage all of your businesses relationships and interactions with current and potential customers.
- Digital asset management (DAM) system – Centralize and manage your digital assets from one hub so all teams are publishing on-brand and up-to-date assets like photographs, videos, brochures, and audio files.
- Integrations – Connect your tools so data is syncing between them, putting you in a better position to offer a cohesive customer experience.
- Customer journey mapping – Create a visual representation of your customers’ experience from initial contact through purchase and long-term engagement.
- Brand guidelines – Keep all of your teams aligned on what your brand stands for and how to represent it. Advocate standards for your visual style, tone of voice, and brand message ensure consistency in your omnichannel experience.
Whether you’re just getting started with omnichannel marketing or ready to optimize your current efforts, these four questions will provide the structure and guidance needed put your new strategy into action.