As a marketer, I love saying out loud in public forums that I think marketing channels are becoming irrelevant. It makes some marketers very uncomfortable. With all the talk of Digital-Channel-this-and-that, how can we even suggest that this is the case? Because a true focus on Customer Experience dictates that it must be so.
How do customers connect with your brand? Do they use online channels, off-line channels or a combination of the two? Among the online channels, which ones are the most popular . . . and how are they accessed – by mobile, tablet or desktop? How does the in-store experience relate to online?
While it’s essential for you to know the answers to those questions – and more importantly, where your messaging performs well and who interacts with it – I challenge you to take that baseline knowledge and consider it in a new light.
I’d like you to think about how your marketing strategy might change if you thought less about channels and more about the overall customer experience you’re delivering.
We all know today’s consumers are empowered by digital devices. That means your customers choose when, where and how to interact with your brand. It also means they fully expect to move seamlessly between on- and off-line touch points. Your customers want omni-channel engagement, and they assume your brand will be there, as needed, every step of the way.
Along with these rising expectations, your customers care less and less about what channel they’re using. And that includes marketing channels, which I believe are quickly becoming irrelevant.
Are you ready for that kind of paradigm shift? Few are. But that’s no excuse for putting it off any longer. You need to get moving in the direction of omni-channel engagement, and I suggest you start by:
Connecting the silos. Create a communications asset inventory and identify all touch points along the customer journey. Be sure to include all relevant departments and agencies. Odds are, it will be immediately apparent where you need to improve so that you’re collecting and leveraging data as efficiently and effectively as possible. Internal collaboration is fundamental to delivering an omni-channel experience.
Focusing on consistency . . . and relevancy. As I’ve mentioned before, once you dig into your customer data, you’ll identify where and when to create triggers for communication at different points along the customer journey. Your goal is to fine-tune your messaging so customers feel like they’re being acknowledged as individuals – with unique preferences and paths to purchase.
Taking a long-term view. Omni-channel engagement won’t happen overnight. First, you need to get your house in order. Then, you need to start growing customer relationships – and that takes time. Stay focused on the experience. Not the channel. Not just one sale.