Omnichannel marketing: myth or reality?

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Compared to single-channel approaches, omnichannel marketing has the potential to sustainably increase customer spending, improve shopping experiences, reduce time to market, enhance customer retention, and raise employee productivity.

This blog is written by Christian Bohm, Senior Management Consultant.

Omnichannel marketing is more than a myth; when well designed and implemented, it unleashes unforeseen value across organizations. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the disruption of consumer behavior, making omnichannel marketing a necessity and creating an opportunity to redefine customer engagement ambitions.

But what does successful omnichannel marketing look like?

Attempting to be everything everywhere for everybody will not work for the simple reason that complexities are continuously rising and that there are seemingly endless ways to connect with customers. However, to foster customer relevancy, companies need to focus on the right measures at the right time and develop the ability to provide their customers frictionless and personalized experiences when they travel across touchpoints, offline and online. Studies reveal that omnichannel marketing is still a priority on CMOs’ agendas. According to Gartner’s 2020 Marketing Agenda Poll, “Marketers’ top four priorities for the next 6-11 months include: how can we accelerate sales conversations? [71%], how can we differentiate value proposition? [68%], how can we get value out of personas/ journey mapping? [54%], and how can we orchestrate messaging across online and offline touchpoints [45%]?” (source: https://www.gartner.com/en/marketing/insights/articles/3-questions-cmos-must-answer-in-2020)

Only the customer matters

The world has shifted from a simple product-centric to a more complex relationship-centric economy where consumers are empowered, well-connected and informed, have shorter attention spans and non-linear purchase patterns. Conclusively, when viewed through the customers’ eyes, marketing must no longer be linear but must orchestrate all channels perfectly around the individual journeys. Compared to single-channel approaches, omnichannel marketing has the potential to sustainably increase customer spending, improve shopping experiences, reduce time to market, enhance customer retention, and raise employee productivity. Together with our clients, we experienced increases in conversion rates by 14%, mobile conversion rates by 113%, and the average order values by 40%. Also, it is no secret that people like personalized offerings and are often willing to pay more for a personalized product or service (source: https://www.capgemini.com/gb-en/2019/09/how-dna-based-personalisation-is-creating-value-in-consumer-products/). A study by the Harvard Business Review also revealed that the number of channels used by customers directly correlates to his/her value to the company. Hence, “(…) customers who used four+ channels spent 9% more in the store, on average, when compared to those who used just one channel” (source: Harvard Business Review, 2017).

Closing the information gap

As stated in Capgemini’s blog “Creating valuable insights in times of uncertainty,” many global operating retail brands are still underinformed about their customers. This phenomenon is not only valid for retail brands, but a common pattern throughout almost all industries. Developing a tailor-made omnichannel marketing strategy helps companies future-proof their internal structures, build necessary capabilities, and establish a robust IT infrastructure as facilitation to close the knowledge gap. Anything that neither contributes to the company’s customer intelligence or improves the cross-channel performance should be thoroughly questioned; the allocation of resources is crucial. Basic considerations of strong omnichannel marketing strategies are:

  • Establishing an always on, highly-connected yet simple ecosystem
  • Providing consent-driven personalization experiences across touchpoints
  • Implementing synergized connection between data, analytics, experience platforms, and touchpoints
  • Creating an environment where customers have fun associating themselves with the brand.

Leading consumer product brands are at the forefront of demonstrating how innovative omnichannel marketing is done. Sportswear manufacturer adidas launched its new “Glitch App” in the UK, breaking the pattern of football boot releases through an invite-only app and allowing shoppers to design their own individual football boots ready to be picked-up in-store (source: https://www.wpp.com/featured/work/possible-adidas-glitch). Cosmetic brand Sephora merges clients’ online and offline shopping experiences with their “Beauty Bag App,” allowing clients to access their favorite products whenever and wherever they need it (source: https://www.retaildive.com/ex/mobilecommercedaily/sephora-streamlines-shopping-experience-with-new-mobile-digital-effort).

Building blocks to getting your omnichannel strategy right

With four integral building blocks, your company can set the foundation for omnichannel marketing excellence and transformation towards true and consistent customer centricity. Here is a summary of our four integral building blocks:

  1. Contextualization and insights: Gain understanding of your different customer segments, including their needs and preferences. Define high-priority journeys that key personas go through when interacting with your brands. Identify signature moments to build deep, long-lasting relationships between your customers and your business.
  2. Omnichannel operations: Get your organization’s operating model and teams omnichannel-ready by breaking silos and adapting agile ways of working to harmonize departmental cooperation throughout the entire activation process. Evaluate and prioritize marketing and sales activities, optimize touchpoint impact, and establish a data-driven mindset.
  3. MarTech architecture: Develop a strategic approach towards marketing technology and define the technical infrastructure to sync across all channels by integrating state-of-the-art technology to improve all facets of marketing efforts.
  4. Data management: Unlock your full data potential by integrating consent management, data profiling, data source management, and big data analytics as part of the overall data management approach. Collect existing data and uncover and define new data sources. Document the data in all its facets and make it readily available. Unlock organizational data silos between countries, lines of business, and projects.

No time to waste

We are conscious about the fact that implementing a true end-to-end omnichannel marketing solution is a transformational tour de force affecting the development of organizational structures and capabilities, IT infrastructure, and a data-driven mindset. The good news is that not everything has to be done at once. By focusing on the big impact areas first and incrementally going through the remaining key stages of becoming truly omnichannel, a customized step by step transformation is feasible. Once started you will soon see the first tangible results in your customer relationships and improvements in terms of loyalty, sales, and brand awareness.

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