Today’s technologically savvy customers are channel agnostics who inhabit a constantly expanding world of digital devices, touchpoints and channels. Though their behavior scrambles traditional concepts of the customer journey, one thing remains certain: their insistence on personalized experiences.
To succeed in Omnichannel, marketers need to roadmap the customer journey, develop a comprehensive customer view and learn to embrace new channels. With a holistic approach, omnichannel orchestration can leverage the most relevant channels and interactions to deliver a seamless experience that reflects the individual customer’s interests, habits, purchasing patterns and more.
Create a Roadmap
Omnichannel doesn’t mean “every channel at once.” In fact, flooding every user channel with high levels of potentially irrelevant messages can disengage and annoy audiences. It’s more about devoting efforts to channels that work for you and your customers. Technology has made it easier for marketers to identify a customer’s identity across all channels including online and offline. As more channels begin to emerge and consumers begin to explore them, brands must create a strategic marketing roadmap to follow.
The point of true omnichannel is to provide a meaningful experience at every stage of a seamless customer journey, not inundating the customer with generic messaging. From awareness to engagement to conversion and loyalty, marketers must understand their customers and show that they care. While this may sound simple, implementation challenges many. Brands must remain consistent and timely across the various channels and touch points their targeted audience frequents. In doing so, they can create meaningful conversations that keep the customer engaged, connected and intrigued.
An omnichannel roadmap that aligns directly with the consumer’s journey, allows brands to effectively deliver appropriate, timely responses at each consumer touch point. Additionally, brands can apply their findings to create custom-tailored messages to the individual’s preferred channel, interactions, intent and lifecycle stage.
Start with a Unified Customer View
Developing a comprehensive view of each customer is foundational to a successful omnichannel strategy. Brands have increasingly focused on using data to develop 360-degree views of their individual customers. An aspirational goal of completely understanding customers and their path to purchase, it’s easier said than done and can require a mountain of customer data from both the business itself and third parties.
A holistic customer view requires consolidation of customer data in a central location. Once that’s done, brands can analyze and gain valuable insights into their audiences’ behaviors. They can use the data to identify the channels a consumer frequents and the routes taken to complete a purchase. The profile helps brands determine where, when and how to engage with their customers in ways that are personal, meaningful and timely.
Embrace New Channels, One Step at a Time
As new technologies continue to emerge, brands need to monitor and strategically adopt channels, or revamp existing ones, to maintain a competitive edge. Marketers and brands beware: Effective omnichannel orchestration doesn’t imply a one-size-fits-all approach. No brand should orchestrate its channel mix in the same way as any other, and the timelines for doing so will look different. Channel adoption strategy should account for the diverse habits and preferences of the brand’s unique audience mix.
A prime example of a newly emerging channel is the digital voice assistant (DVA), which has become commonplace technology in households around the world. The majority of consumers currently seem to limit their use of DVAs to fairly simple requests like getting fact-based answers to specific questions, completing simple household tasks, making shopping lists and – for the more adventurous – actually making basic purchases.
The experiences and interactions DVAs bring to consumers and marketers have already changed the marketing industry. Amazon Prime members can order virtually anything the online retailer offers using Alexa. Marriott adopted Alexa to enable hotel guests to access numerous amenities like ordering room service, requesting more towels or asking the concierge for dining recommendations.
Customers have limited time, preferred methods of interaction and detectable habits. Marketers are now empowered to understand and enable these preferences on all channels. As they continue to leverage the opportunities that omnichannel offers and further embrace the technology that unlocks each channel’s insights, they can add a personal touch to the customer experience at all times. Forging a path toward omnichannel can be daunting. However, the value it creates will far outweigh the reinventions and innovations it demands.