The omni-channel world has been identified as one of the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) 7 Big Problems in Marketing. At the AMA Austin September luncheon, legendary Austin entrepreneur and eRelevance CEO and Co-founder Bob Fabbio led a thought-provoking discussion on this newest marketing catchphrase.
Here’s a summary of three key points from the presentation, as well as one suggested action any marketer can take now to begin implementing an omni-channel marketing approach for a brand or organization.
The Difference between Multi- and Omni-channel Marketing
A multi-channel approach simply adopts more than one channel (e.g., email and social) to engage customers. It’s an essential start, but omni-channel, when done right, takes the necessary next step. It ensures seamless engagement—with a consistent message and experience—across all channels.
Importantly, omni-channel marketing focuses on the buyer. That means when brands engage with buyers, they are doing so based on what they know about them through buyer-initiated actions (i.e., their preferred channels and content, as well as interests and buying patterns). To optimize an omni-channel strategy, integrated tracking of buyer behaviors is optimal (i.e., dashboard aggregators across all channels).
The Power of the Conversational Channel
A conversational channel is key to deliver on the promise of effective omni-channel marketing because automated conversations (usually through ChatBot technology) provide the ability to understand buyer preferences, then apply the data for more effective campaigns across channels and devices.
These automated conversations go far beyond traditional marketing metrics that approximate buyers’ interests and desires. Buyer intelligence gleaned from conversational channels eliminates guesswork. Marketers know what the buyer cares about and can develop messaging and campaigns that resonate and drive action. As a result, conversational channels outperform all other digital channels.
Omni-channel Challenges Unique to Small- to Medium-Size Businesses
For small- to medium-size businesses, the challenges in implementing omni-channel marketing are significant, including:
- A lack of internal marketing resources with appropriate expertise
- The high cost of sophisticated marketing software necessary to more easily and efficiently manage omni-channel campaigns
- Existing investment in legacy systems largely focused on less-effective, email-only campaigns, which do not leverage the power of omni-channel
One Action a Marketer Can Take Now to Begin Implementing an Omni-channel Approach
Investigate ways to adopt a conversational channel into campaigns, usually through automated ChatBots, which create interactions that feel like personal, uninterrupted, real conversations and deliver a wealth of essential data. Conversations build the relationships necessary for effective omni-channel campaigns, and relationships ultimately drive revenue.