It used be that marketers talked in terms of multi-channel marketing. Then, to some extent, it was cross-channel marketing. Now, it seems, omni-channel marketing may be assuming the mantle of CMO Buzzwords That Matter.
The evolution in terminology makes sense, to some extent. Multi-channel marketing speaks to the need to interact and transact based on customer channel preferences. But it says nothing about the need to break down and integrate the channel-specific silos in order to deliver seamless customer experiences and also create more profitable customer relationships. Cross-channel marketing conjures up images of customers being able to move from one channel to another, like cars switching lanes along the highway. But it suggests nothing about the number of channels.
Omni-channel says it all. Sort of.
In a nutshell, omni-channel marketing means knowing which channel or combination of channels will be most efficient and effective in eliciting a favorable response. It means being able to centrally manage the design, execution and measurement of marketing campaigns across a multitude of both offline and online channels.
And, of course, it means enabling customer engagement with the company in a way that is channel-agnostic. Indeed, in a quiet moment of introspection, a company might ask itself: What is the object of my devotion? Am I devoted to my channel or to my customer? At times, it seems, marketers are beholden to their channels but agnostic when it comes to their customers.
According to Gleanster research, almost half (47%) of companies continue to rely on channel-specific technologies to manage campaigns that straddle two or more channels. At the same time, Top Performers are more than twice as likely as Everyone Else (69% compared to 34%) to leverage a single technology to support their campaign management activities. Almost half (49%) of all organizations that don’t currently use an integrated solution state that they plan to adopt one within the next 12 months.
Integrated omni-channel platforms generally combine the benefits of multiple best-of-breed components. These components include not only channel-specific technologies, but also self-service business intelligence and data visualization tools for analysis and performance reporting. The platforms provide a single sign-on and the components are designed to work together seamlessly.
Gleanster’s benchmark report Omni-channel Marketing, authored by Gleanster research analyst Lynn Whylly Russo, will publish next month. The report will reveal how Top Performers are successfully creating multiple points of presence, fully integrated to deliver a seamless customer experience.