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Omnichannel marketing
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While 86% of marketers agree that the benefits of an omnichannel approach to customer experience outweigh the challenges of implementing such an approach, only 16% of businesses say that they are meeting needs for consumer experience via omnichannel, according to a December 2014 SAP multi-country survey.

On a recent webinar, two of our founding partners, Corey Koberg and John Hossack, discussed ways to work towards enabling omnichannel to provide the personalized experience that consumers expect. John and Corey outlined four key components that can lead organizations closer to achieving an omnichannel approach, and presented several real-life examples of omnichannel marketing in action.

We had several great questions from our audience at the end of the webinar, and we thought it would be worth sharing the entire Q&A below.

Q: How do you go about defining audiences and segments?

A: Once you have a good understanding of the various channels you will need to determine your key audiences. We suggest starting with your existing business segments. These are the audiences that everyone in the organization will understand. If you use an airline example, consider their frequent flier programs and the different tiers – platinum, gold, etc. It also includes new customers who are not part of the program. Someone who has never flown the airline before will require a different experience – likely more guidance and incentives to begin flying.  Your loyal members will desire the most efficient process or ways to maximize their point earning and redemption.

Once you move beyond those obvious segments, it’s time to consider a data-driven segmentation.  This is where analytics can really help out. For example a cluster analysis can help you quickly identify audiences that you may not have know existed based on their profile or behavior.

Q: How should we pick which channels to concentrate on first?

A: There are a few different approaches that you can take.  You might want to start with the channel(s) where you have the most spend.  If you are trying to demonstrate some quick wins and demonstrate the value of omnichannel, then channels where you are have the most budget allocated will move the needle more.

Another option is to utilize the channels where you have the most data available. Some of your channels will provide a much richer view of your customers and support integration with other channels.  A perfect example of this is being able to take advantage of remarketing through Paid Display based on a customer’s activities on your website. You can identify specific audiences that are likely to respond to those types of activations.

If you have an established CRM or email program then utilizing the rich data you have been collecting to identify audiences and offers not only within that email program but can also be extended across other channels.

Q: What is the key identifier used when a customer purchases something in a store vs. online? Are you talking about a credit card number or do you ask for an email address when they check out in a store?

A: This is part of understanding the current state of what data is available within each channel and where are the gaps. The creative part comes from determining how to fill in those gaps – either through technology or an operational process.

For example the Square service has a seamless approach to checkout. The first time you checkout you are asked to provide your email so you can have the receipt sent to you. On the back-end your Credit Card is now linked to your email address. Now every time you use Square an email receipt is sent to you without having to ask you again for your email address, regardless of the merchant.

Being able to identify customers is the one of the original reasons loyalty programs were developed. They provide incentives for customers to provide their profile and preference information.

Brands also concentrate on information that doesn’t change – email, phone numbers, and postal address. The key is to provide a good value exchange in order to get the data required to identify the customer. For example providing an email receipt is a great way to capture a customer’s email address.

There are also 3rd party data providers that can help you match purchases made in your bricks and mortars environment to your customers digital footprint.

Q: What’s a DMP?

A: A Data Management Platform (DMP) is technology that is very central to organizations considering Omnichannel. Its main function is to collect the various 1st and 3rd party data to identify individual profiles and audience segments. Then those profiles can be made available for activation across paid and owned channels.  You can see its central place in the data architecture at 26:08 of the webinar recording.

If you are interested in more information about this technology then you should check out our on-demand webinar on DMPs and read our DMP solution sheet too.

Q: In the Starbucks example (at 7:45 of the recording), you have a consistent owner of the brand in all channels. This is ideal. But how do you implement an omnichannel approach when you are distributing through retail channel that you do not manage?

A: Consumer packaged goods brands are a good example of utilizing the channels that are available to them. While they may not have a large set of 1st party data they can leverage their social channels and paid media. They also are able to leverage partners to fill in the gaps – this is the idea of the 2nd party data mentioned earlier. The same principles apply – consistent messaging and offers across every channel – even if you can’t control your retail channel.  You will want to explore loyalty programs and other methods we discussed to drive more data collection.

Q: Would brainstorming the key touchpoints or interactions we currently have with our audiences be a good place to start a customer journey map?

A: Yes absolutely.  As we said, start with what you have. What we have learned, especially on the digital side, is that touchpoints are always evolving and new ones are always appearing. New social channels, internet of things, virtual reality, and more to come. You will be much further ahead if you can work through an end-to-end journey with audiences you have already defined across channels you are familiar with.

Watch the webinar on-demand.


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