Picture, for a moment, your last major in-store shopping outing: How often did you pull out your phone? Did an earlier email or online search lead you there? If you’re like the vast majority of shoppers, you probably tapped into digital channels before and/or during your shopping experience in order to narrow your product range, do some comparison shopping and find the best deal.
Today there is no one, predictable path for consumers’ interaction with a brand. Marketers are being challenged to craft strategies that will be coherent across platforms, resonate with consumers both online and in-person and integrate communications across all channels. It’s a tall order, with nearly three quarters of marketing professionals responding to a recent poll saying their business struggles to gather and transform marketing data from multiple channels into something meaningful to the business.
There are two over-arching struggles that most companies face as they optimize their marketing strategy for the omnichannel retail world. First, they need the capability to gather data about customer interaction and engagement across each channel, and access it in a way that allows for cross-channel comparisons and assessments. Second, they need the tools and technology to analyze the data gathered, determining which marketing tactics resonate best under different circumstances, in order to apply them in a comprehensive, cross-channel manner.
Seems simple, right? Get the data, use the data. Yet the vast majority of CMOs say their efforts to devise and implement a comprehensive omnichannel strategy are held back. Why?
- Lack of access to data, which either isn’t collected or is too divided over silos to derive meaningful use from it.
- Lack of tools and technology to derive insights from data and apply it meaningfully.
- Lack of the right talent; more than 80 percent of CMOs cite a lack of internal talent and necessary skill sets as a hindrance to both gathering data and applying consumer insights to a comprehensive omnichannel marketing strategy.
In a consumer environment that demands engagement strategies that are channel-agnostic, companies must upgrade their marketing efforts through:
- Proof-points – Look first at what data is gathered about both your customers and your marketing efforts, balancing available data against needed information to ensure meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the mix and an objective assessment can be made about the efficacy of marketing tactics.
- Processes & Tools – Identify the process and technology needs that will support data gathering and analysis in real time and via more traditional and mobile devices.
- Partners – Seek out partners, vendors and marketers that can support your organization’s omnichannel goals, supplementing and enhancing your internal capabilities to get the business up to speed with the omnichannel age quickly.
Though the process to move from theory to practice in the omnichannel marketing world may be challenging, today’s consumers demand nothing less. Companies that can’t step up to the plate will find themselves striking out.
Is your marketing team ready to knock it out of the park, or are you facing a potential shut out?