Client expectations are evolving, and today’s seamless omni-channel journey requires a wider and deeper understanding of the customer and buyer journey, combined with technology to support marketing across coordinated channels.
Marketing strategies are becoming more and more focused around the customer journey, and aligned with sales to improve the buyer experience. In fact, Data IQ's recent Omni-Channel Data Trend Report revealed that 80% of marketers chose ‘Customer journey’ as their most important trend for 2017.
Benefits of omni-channel marketing:
- Increase lifetime value and customer loyalty
- Improve brand value
- Enhance customer satisfaction
- Streamline sales cycle aligned with marketing
- Better competitive advantage
Challenges of omni-channel marketing:
- Investment in integrated tools
- Campaign complexity
- Organisational alignment
- Technologies and channels in siloes
- Disjointed customer experiences
- Data management
- Measurement of campaign effectiveness across multiple devices
One of the biggest bottlenecks with delivering a seamless omni-channel experience to customers and prospects is the siloes between marketing systems and the people who run and deliver campaigns. The lack of alignment between sales and marketing, and disconnected reporting between departments, will also have a negative impact on the customer experience. In large enterprise businesses, many of the marketers involved with these channels sit in isolation from one another, so planning and executing misaligned campaigns is evitable.
To run effective omni-channel marketing, you may need to review the structure of your organisation and drive an operations led culture shift. Customer experience should be a function of marketing and sales, to align and coordinate customer communications throughout the entire journey. This involves aligning the overall customer journey vision between departments and facilitating communication between siloed team members. The owners of the individual marketing channels should connect and collaborate in a joint effort to align the customer journey more closely and ensure messaging is consistent throughout the digital touchpoints. Marketing and sales teams should also start to consolidate their technology stacks to align activities and strategies.
Digital marketing channels and systems that sit in siloes can lead to a disconnect between your customers and brand. Unsatisfactory prospect or customer experiences with broken journeys and disconnected messaging across separate channels can impact your brand interaction and long term loyalty. In recent years, marketing automation vendors have expanded platform capabilities to support a centralised multi-channel marketing approach and deliver the data insights marketers need to optimise customer journeys. With strong APIs, pre-connected campaign-to-audience functionality, and user friendly interfaces, marketing teams can execute complex campaigns from centralised marketing hubs.
The Data IQ Omni-Channel Report 2017 discovered that 52% of organisations have email automation systems in place and less than a tenth (8%) have lead nurturing software such as Eloqua, Pardot or Marketo. Technology platforms, such as Oracle Marketing Automation and Marketo, that support integrated omni-channel marketing free up time for marketing managers to strategise and plan, with the knowledge that the tools will facilitate complex campaigns in a streamlined, efficient way.
Marketing Tech News reveals, on average, modern marketing departments utilise seven different systems to run and track campaigns including measuring ROI – including email, lead nurturing, social, web personalisation. The centralisation of all of these systems is the key to efficient and seamless marketing delivery, as well as real-time performance reporting of multiple channels and accurate tracking of buyer interactions.
Seamless integration between your marketing automation and crm systems is also key in providing historical interaction data across channels and to continuously update customer profiles to ensure your marketing messages are always relevant. Marketing automation technology can generate a wealth of customer data, but to turn drilled-down numbers into insights and draw powerful conclusions, it needs the right team of marketing data experts.
- Start small by tying in a 2-3 channels together, creating a seamless journey and then expand to introducing more channels.
- Investing time in planning and coordinating your marketing cross-channel touchpoints, and tying in your messaging between your campaign assets will help to streamline the journey.
- Real-time personalisation can really boost your customers’ experience along each touchpoint. Automation technologies such as Marketo and web-personalisation tools like Demandbase enable marketers to deliver personalised messages at the most opportune times.
- Break down organisational barriers and align marketing, sales and IT to operationalise a streamlined omni-channel strategy.
- Integrate your systems and take your marketing channels out of their siloes for a more seamless conversation with your prospects and customers.
- You need the right data experts in place to deliver the insights that enable you to optimise user experience.