Rethinking Omnichannel Marketing Strategy in 2021

Omnichannel marketing is just how a brand uses these channels and provides a seamless customer experience.
Rethinking Omnichannel Marketing Strategy in 2021

In today's time, it is easy to stay connected with each other. There are not one but several ways by which you can reach out to someone if you wish to contact them - call, message, mail, or maybe a DM via Instagram. As there’re numerous ways to connect with someone personally, it has become easier for marketers to reach and communicate with their customers. 

Omnichannel marketing is just how a brand uses these channels and provides a seamless customer experience. A simple example of omnichannel marketing can be when you add products to your shopping cart via an app. If products have been added to the cart and purchase hasn't happened, the app reminds you of the purchase via push notifications or mail from time to time.

Even though online marketing has been on the rise significantly, offline hasn't lost its significance. You just have to make the best of both worlds. Omnichannel marketing can sustainably increase customer spending, improve purchase experiences, reduce time to market, improve customer retention, and increase ROI.

Let's discuss some of the significant trends for 2021:

Consumer-First Approach: Consumers today have shorter attention spans and non-linear purchase patterns. When building an omnichannel marketing strategy the consumer comes first, the focus is on the experience being non-intrusive and seamless. An experience that the customer will engage with. It’s a shift from a simple product-centric approach to a more complex relationship-centric experience where consumers are empowered, connected, and informed. 

Non-linear Journeys: Consumers no longer follow a simple linear path, decision-making patterns are complex and must be viewed through the consumer's eyes. Media is proliferated and continues to become more so as consumer choices increase, the screens get smaller and consumption patterns become more individualistic. Consumers are spending more than 8+ hours on digital channels, building a unified and connect strategy across channels is important. 

The Information Gap: Customer information by far is the largest disconnect followed by tools and technology infra lag, it is important to get a real understanding of the consumer. In the world of increased privacy and data norms, this consumer understanding is becoming an important investment towards establishing an always-on and connected, simple ecosystem of consumer marketing. Personalization-driven experiences across touch-points are the approach which not only bridges this gap but also improves consumer engagement. Most consumers are ok to provide information if it improves their experience and keeps it super focused and customized to their needs. 

Create Delightfully Fun Experiences: When the ‘engagement trend’ took off, creating engagement became a must-have, to the extent that complex plans were devised to ‘ensure’ customers engaged with the brand at times to a point where engagement plans left the PowerPoint slide and seamlessly translated into contest magnets which almost always alienated the real customer.  With the youngest populations in the world having fun associating with the brand is important, and this is where content takes center stage. Beyond the social and digital content, it is how content properties, applications, and infrastructure of owned platforms evolve that will lead to strong advocates and data-driven yet fun experiences.

Technology Limitation: To create fun experiences that are also meaningful to the consumers as well as to your consumer journey, technology plays an important role. Leveraging technologies like augmented reality, chatbots, IoT, and personalization on owned web and mobile platforms are important. This not only needs an agile IT infrastructure but an openness to adapt to a new way of thinking. When talking of marketing effort most brands will put media at the top of the spending chart, however IT infrastructure overhaul, streamlining as well as consolidating legacy + current data and creating great content should take a combined 1st position. If these are done right, then media decisions and investments become easier over time.  

Resist the Urge to Focus Only on Social Media: If you continue to spend all your money on rent, then you will never have a home of your own. The same goes for marketing and social media. Putting all of your money on social media and relying on retargeting across the web is not really Omnichannel. Owned platforms have an important role to play in maintaining long-term marketing continuity, spend reduction, and building customer relationships. 

Spend less effort in ‘driving traffic’ to your website but instead focus on why the consumers should come to your site in the first place. Even as hours spent on digital have increased most websites see a higher bounce rate and reduced time spent. The reason is simple, the website content has nothing to offer to consumers, and no one is looking to buy from the first website ad they click. The best brands have created experiences and content that the customers are looking for, building communities, sharing platforms, and content that consumers find attractive and are looking for. Fitness apps, skincare regimens, personal shoppers, etc are encouraging consumers on to owned platforms reducing dependencies on media, and creating personalized journeys that improve customer acquisition. 

Measurement Challenges: Measurement remains the biggest challenge. The erosion of data and ongoing fragmentation, and the death of cookies amplify the need for effective, future-forward mar-tech. Most brands are not able to track and measure their marketing efforts fully. While components like brand awareness and engagement are aggressively tracked by most organizations the fragmented landscape does not allow for complete measurement of marketing efforts. Important measurement capabilities include 
-    Brand Awareness
-    Full-funnel Media ROI
-    Engagement
-    Multi-touch /Sales Attribution
-    Viewability
-    Marketing Mix Modeling
-    Unduplicated Reach and Frequency

The Time to Start was Yesterday: The death of cookies signals a pivot change and more than a few will be caught unawares, brands will need to go back to getting their 1st party data right, resolve the data segmentation challenges. It will also signal the death of ‘uninspiring content’. Owned platforms with the content being the center focus will make a strong case for urgent address. The good news is that everything will not happen at once and there is time to start shifting focus and priorities, toward building an omnichannel marketing practice.  

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