Marketing in An Omni-channel World

The “omni-channel” expectation from consumers.

The over-crowded media environment of today.

Brand consistency has become even more essential in this era of constant connectivity, especially for companies executing across multiple divisions, locations, languages and marketing mediums. Whether it’s reading, writing, talking or listening, communication has fused into a single experience. We watch TV shows on our laptops and surf the Web on our TVs. We “speak” to Siri to write texts, notes or e-mails for us. Our marketing messages must make sense in this Omni-channel environment.

Omni-channel Marketing
Being an Omni-channel brand means making the customer’s experience continuous and universal across all of those mediums. Really it’s just a buzzword for the age-old marketing practice of providing true continuity across channels–and doing it so well that it’s seamless to your prospects. Because marketers now have to navigate more media channels than ever with their brand, it must have warranted the new term.

OmniChannel has not yet made it into Webster’s dictionary, so for now treatment of its spelling is debatable between Omni-channel, omnichannel and omni channel.

However you choose to spell it for now, in marketing it means fully understanding your prospect’s purchase process and offering the information they need, when and where they need it, without them realizing it. It’s a stealth operation when done well.

Why Mess with All of That?
For years the most effective campaigns have been proven to be those that include a wide variety of media. While it’s tempting to try to focus on just the latest and greatest tactic out there, that’s not what’s most effective. To have an effectively balanced tactical plan marketers need to develop a combination among three major categories, Paid, Earned and Owned media.

To make sense of this media conglomeration, today’s marketers categorize mediums into two major categories, Push and Pull, and three-subcategories Paid, Earned and Owned.

paid-earned-owned-media-summary

Paid, Earned and Owned Media are the three major categories of reach in today’s environment.

“Push,” or Paid media includes traditional mediums that have been around for years. These speak to your target with a one-way message in things like print, radio, TV and outdoor. Their delivery is fast, more predictable and reaches large numbers quickly.

“Pull” media works quite differently and is broken into two sub-categories:

  1. Earned media is speaking with your customers. These discussions are slower to implement, but also have a higher conversion rate, as they are further along in the sales cycle. It includes things like social media, e-blasts and proposals.
  2. Owned media has an even higher conversion rate with prospects proactively engaging in the media outlets and even closer to the end of the sales cycle. It includes things like a website, customer service experience and YouTube channel.

How to Navigate It
While categorizing various media into three neat groups gives marketers more of a sense of “order,” the truth is that there is an undeniable overlap between each of the categories. Everything that is done in one medium impacts the overall omni-channel experience.

Someone must own your brand voice across every medium. This internal brand steward can be anything from a marketing manager to a VP internally or a representative within one of your agencies.

One of your team members must be a strategic specialist to ensure there’s a 12-month tactical plan that is measured and adjusted quarterly to maximize your return on marketing investment. Ensure your agency resources match up to the skill set wanted and needed from your internal resources.

The communications environment is complicated, but with experience and diligence, it can be figured out for your specific product or service and target audience. Make a clear brand commitment, monitor it and carefully manage it to a 12-month strategic plan.

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