Omnichannel Marketing: The Solution as Diverse as Consumers’ Habits

Tom AlexanderThis is a guest post from Tom Alexander, founder and CEO of PK4 Media, an omnichannel media company located in El Segundo, Calif. He can be reached on LinkedInTwitter, and Google+.

Omnichannel marketing presents consumers with one clear, unified message across all platforms. Whether your client’s target consumer is on her phone, her laptop, or her couch with the TV in front of her, an omnichannel campaign will reach her. The idea is that each platform provides lift to the others, increasing user engagement, brand awareness and, of course, sales.

But this type of marketing, while seemingly commonsense, is not so widely used. Agencies are often structured to focus messages on individual platforms.

The idea that any one consumer engages with only one platform is unrealistic — leaning on that concept won’t push clients’ marketing strategies to their full potential. Consumers often bounce between devices and look up products online before setting foot in a store. Omnichannel marketing helps brands connect with consumers more closely.

At the same time, this method tests which channels provide the greatest return. With these insights, agencies can optimize the channels that consumers are engaging with most and adjust other channels to benefit those with the greatest ROI. It’s a dual victory.

But building this strategy from scratch isn’t easy. The complexity of creating one message that resonates across multiple platforms and implementing an attribution model to track engagement across those platforms sometimes prevents brands from looking forward to omnichannel marketing’s benefits.

That doesn’t place success out of reach, however. The agencies that are successful follow these six steps when creating and implementing their cross-platform strategies:

1. Dive Deep Into Your Client’s Image

The most important part is keeping your client’s overall brand in mind when setting the strategy for an omnichannel campaign. If your client’s ideal consumers recalled just one aspect of a campaign, what should they remember? What emotions or new information should the audience leave with? This should be the easy part as you create a single message unified across platforms — you just need to identify that message.

2. Identify the Target Market

Determining the consumers your client wants to reach is an important step in any campaign’s creation, but it’s even more essential in omnichannel marketing. In addition to knowing the client’s general demographic, psychographic and geographic data, you also need to know consumers’ behavioral tendencies and how they engage with each platform.

3. Know What You’re Looking For

Before creating any content, marketers must set objectives for the campaign. Does the brand want to generate more engagements, video completion rates, click-through rates or conversions? The objectives will determine which channels would be most relevant for the omnichannel campaign.

4. Understand Each Channel For What It Is

While the message may span multiple channels, the creativity often cannot. Once you’ve determined the objectives and channels, flesh out the creative force behind each channel. Each platform has its own specific set of creative needs to be successful—what works for television won’t always work for mobile—so it’s important to give specialized attention to each.

5. Integrate with Partners

Data management is arguably the toughest part of mastering omnichannel. You want to track and analyze your client’s data in such a way that you can guide the audience through the sales funnel. If your team is short on time or resources for data tracking, look for a partner who can track and analyze the data from every channel, ideally through one core platform. For those who find omnichannel management overwhelming, this makes keeping your client’s campaign on track much simpler.

6. Keep Your Data Tags in Order

Last but not least, make sure the data tracking is functioning the way it should be. The campaign’s data tags, which let you keep track of information like how much time users spend on a channel or where they’re located, must be in working order for you to get an accurate read on how your campaign is faring. Agencies should test each of the campaign’s data tags before the campaign goes live.

A solid omnichannel strategy won’t come on a silver platter, but it’s worth the effort it requires. After all, consumers don’t engage with brands in a vacuum—and your client’s marketing strategy shouldn’t, either.

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