One of the key questions I get asked on a regular basis is 'why does it matter' with regards to identifying a customer as an individual rather than within a specific channel or system. Now beyond compliance issues that are obvious the real driver is around better customer engagement, but I've struggled to come up with a really concise picture on what this really means.
Well over at Capgemini Consulting they've a nice view on what the real impact of multi-channel is... Omnichannel. What this means is that actually its not about multiple channels each with their own approach and interaction its about enabling the individual to interact across all channels in a consistent manner and above all treating them as a single individual.
On the left we've got lots of different experiences, on the right we've got one and just different interaction models. Now a key challenge in this going to be identifying the individual across those channels, so linking their Facebook and Twitter accounts to their web account and store experience. Something we've done quite a bit of at Capgemini around Mastering Social Media, Retail and Campaign Management. The core of this new world is treating your customer like an individual, identifying them like an individual and engaging with them as an individual.
Omnichannel is certainly the way forwards and its under pinned by a strong approach to customer management that can only be delivered via MDM.