“Why Omnichannel?”Is Not the Question. “When Omnichannel?” Is

In an ideal world, the illusive seamless customer journey would actually exist, and it would live up to the old saying that “all roads lead to Rome.” Today, of course, those “roads” are the many and varied digital and traditional “channels” that consumers use to gather information, interact with brands, and transact business using a wide array of resources, screens, and devices.

It’s also true that the paths and processes of brand engagement, interactions,and transactions are neither sequential nor specified: They are omnichannel and fluid.The challenge for today’s savvy marketers, therefore, is making sure that all channels actually lead to and connect seamlessly with their brands.

If all that sounds a bit non-specific, consider the case of Patrick, a weekend shopper at an urban mall. As a mall retailer, you could sit by and let Patrick continue his mundane shopping routine week in and week out. Or, you could take charge and create a whole new omnichannel shopping experience for him every time he comes near your store. Here’s how that might work.

Even before Patrick reaches the mall on a busy Saturday afternoon, you could give him a pleasant surprise by texting directions to the most convenient, free parking slot. As he enters the mall, you could guide his path with promotions pushed exclusively to him on his mobile featuring products from recent web browsing experiences. As his shopping spree winds down, you could send a text offering to book a table for an early dinner at his favorite nearby restaurant, delight him by making sure he’s welcomed by name, and even having his favorite drink ready to toast the end of a perfect day.

Would Patrick be thrilled by his totally personalized, real-time shopping experience? Would he already be looking forward to the next one? The answer is a resounding yes many times over.

Patrick’s weekend shopping trip demonstrates how a marketing approach that takes advantage of all available channels scans to create entirely new and totally rewarding brand experiences for the individual customer defined by:

  • Seamless journeys across devices and channels
  • Continuing conversations
  • Contextualized communications
  • Conversions quantifiable at the segment-of-one level

Most marketers already see the potential of such omnichannel experiences for differentiating their brand from the crowd, engaging audiences in mutually beneficial interactions, and most importantly, giving customers a reason to remain loyal to the brand. But can you as a marketer actually drive the transformation to a truly seamless omnichannel customer journey? Yes, if you have the will, there is a way.

With the omnichannel marketing automation solution options available, its only a matter of time and creatively focused effort before consumers can enjoy the individual experiences they seek. To deliver those experiences, however, marketers must understand that effective omnichannel marketing is a multidimensional amalgamation of art and science that requires bit of introspection in advance, including answering such questions as:

  • How do we map new customer journeys?
  • How do we keep our brand experiences fresh?
  • How can we personalize engagements at the segment-of-one level?
  • How do we accomplish all that in real time?
  • What KPIs do we track, and how do we measure ROI across every journey?

In this series of short articles on delivering the omnichannel marketing experience, we will explore these questions and discover how the answers could change the competitive landscape for your brand forever.

 

About the author  ⁄ Jessie Paul

Jessie Paul

Jessie Paul is the Founder and CEO of Paul Writer, a firm she founded in early 2010 to raise the bar for marketing in India. Previously, as Chief Marketing Officer of Wipro’s IT business and as Global Brand Manager at Infosys, Jessie has been recognized for her contribution towards putting the Indian IT industry on the global map. With over 18 years in services marketing, including a stint with Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Jessie is considered an expert in brand globalization and has been named one of the most influential business women in the Indian IT industry.

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