Omnichannel strategy has been gathering pace (and column inches) as one of the most frequently-discussed topics among marketing executives over the past couple of years. And while most understand that it's all about brands striving to create a seamless user experience across multiple channels, the path to achieving this goal remains murky.
Earlier this year, a survey by software provider Neustar found that 30% of companies believe omnichannel marketing is ‘critical’ to their business and 40% deemed it ‘important’, while just 14% said it isn't a priority. However, while many brands are adopting a positive multichannel approach, deploying campaigns across websites, mobile apps, social media and traditional media, how many of these can claim to offer a truly omnichannel experience?
What differentiates a multichannel offering from an omnichannel one is the depth of integration. As HubSpot explains: "You can have amazing mobile marketing, engaging social media campaigns, and a well-designed website. But if they don’t work together, it’s not omnichannel."
An omnichannel approach accounts for each platform and device a customer will use to interact with the company. That knowledge is then used to deliver an integrated experience. Companies using this technique align their messaging, goals, objectives, and design across each channel and device.
Examining best practice
The British Airways 2013 Magic of Flying campaign is an excellent example of a genuinely omnichannel effort, seamlessly combining outdoor and digital elements. The campaign used interactive billboards to respond to planes flying overhead, and quietly encouraged audiences to look upwards using the hashtag #lookup, before displaying the plane's destination. The hashtag was used to drive people to a branded website, generating over 75,000 unique visits and 1 million YouTube views.
Disney’s customer journey is another prime example of best practice, fully integrating the digital and real-world customer experience. Visitors can plan their trip via the My Disney Experience app, then book restaurant reservations and access attraction wait times and showtimes on the app once at the resort. The Magic Band device adds a wearable dimension to the experience: these waterproof wristbands for visitors act as a hotel room key, park admission pass, payment tool and FastPass+ check-in validator.
Despite the clear benefits of an omnichannel marketing strategy, embedding this approach in business thinking is easier said than done. A 2014 survey from the CMO Club found that 85% of CMOs are struggling to implement omnichannel strategies due to lack of access to data, or inadequate tools and technology. In addition, 84.6% said they are either not measuring their crosschannel marketing performance at all, or are doing so using anecdotal or subjective criteria.
The key concern cited by CMOs was that customer data and customer interaction data is unavailable or spread across many different "data silos". Without this vital information, it's impossible for businesses to develop a coherent omnichannel strategy that incorporates all touch points and serves customers' needs effectively. The first step towards building an omnichannel strategy, therefore, is to find a software solution that aggregates all data sources into one accessible dashboard, providing a holistic view of the customer journey. Find out how censhare can help your business take that step with integrated data solutions .