Ad blocking is by no means a new concept, but as it becomes mainstream, it has caused a split in opinion. Whether you think it’s happening because it slows down servers or if it’s due to poor consumer experience – both reasons being admittedly two sides of the same coin – either way it cements the ideology that today’s market is consumer-led.
If you’re a marketer, you already know this – and if you’re a pro, you may even welcome it as it will help you weed out the weak, disruptive marketing that taints your customers’ trust when you’re trying to deliver the content they really do want. It will be the spammy websites and publishers that will take the biggest hit, forcing them to become creative and relevant.
Yet the experienced marketer will have already explored new ways to provide enticing yet helpful campaigns; so you should already be exposed to alternative – and more effective – ways of delivering your ROI. If you aren’t, then it’s high time to start.
Integrated vs multichannel vs omnichannel?
As every industry becomes saturated and the advancement of tools and easy to access information allows the average person to do all the things that previously only an elite few could do, there is only one sure way to maintain a competitive advantage – by humanising your approach. Why? Because as marketing becomes ever-more digital, there is the danger of your customers being swamped in automated, data driven interaction. It’s not a disadvantage to them – they’ll just ignore you – it’s a disadvantage to you.
The evolution of marketing across the decades doesn’t even remotely compare to how much it has changed in just the past two years; we started with integrated marketing and with the rapid development of the digital landscape, we’ve arrived at omnichannel. It’s worth noting that nothing here is revolutionary; just our relationship with how we use these tools is changing in line with the consumer’s relationship with brands. The question is: are you keeping up?
Before we even embrace some core approaches to executing an omnichannel strategy with a human touch and why you should be considering it, let’s flag up what differentiates it from the others so you can start building one with clarity and focus.
- Integrated: Integrated marketing is essentially a communication strategy that incorporates different styles of marketing such as direct, affiliate, social, email, and PR. The emphasis is on the consistent messaging delivered across these different platforms.
- Multichannel: With multichannel, you run your campaign on different channels to attract diverse audiences such as TV, mobile, and video. Multichannel focuses on campaigns specifically so each runs efficiently on the chosen platform, even if the messaging is adapted for the platform it’s running on.
- Omnichannel: Omnichannel emphasises how different channels interact with each other. Creating a seamless interaction means there is a relationship between those channels with the consumer’s journey in mind. This means you will map out how they will interact, and react, at each step of the way for you to be able to anticipate their next move.
While all three approaches are inevitably part of the same web, it is the nuances that should help concentrate your efforts, and when combined and executed simultaneously and consistently, you have a high powered brand.
Having moved from integrated and multichannel to omnichannel, here are five ways to create an ideal strategy.
Create seamless transitions
You want the customer to transition from one channel to another without losing them in between. Mapping out a user journey is no longer just for web designers, especially if as a marketer you can now no longer afford to put out self sufficient, standalone content. Successful transitions are the result of attention to detail – what differentiates one channel from another and how you can use that as leverage.
Data highlights what works best for your audience so you can optimise the high fliers and downplay the stragglers. With this in mind, there can be a real danger of only driving your highest performing platform and overlooking the others.
While it’s best practice to prioritise, an omnichannel strategy will require that you take into account all the available platforms that your digital savvy customer may use, leaving no stone unturned. This is then your opportunity to establish your brand robustly on all fronts and show you’re just as mobile as they are.
Content marketing and authenticity go hand in hand, and while there are some great content management systems to help you do this, the art of this practice will always come down to mastering relationship marketing.
Gone are the days when just knowing your stuff was good enough – the big question now is whether your audience believe you and can relate to you, especially if you’re exposing your content on multiple platforms.
Getting the balance right between blending your brand’s collective voice with a personable approach will take some crafting, but if done correctly you will end up with a distinctive and streamlined tone with a competitive edge amidst a sea of salespeople. A way to facilitate this is by advocating thought leadership or reaching out to influencers to promote your product.
Don’t be scared to ask your customers questions
If your marketing is not asking your customers questions or not making it easy for them to get involved in your campaigns, don’t be surprised if your sales aren’t flying or your material isn’t going viral. Engagement has been talked about extensively, but it’s even more critical for an omnichannel approach; it’s one of the ways of differentiating the annoying ads from the helpful ones. To engage means to go many steps beyond the product and concentrate on material that will first evoke a feeling before a sale.
As an experienced marketer, you already know the routine; you know you need a strategy with a goal which you have to measure, and then make tweaks and go through the whole process again to see what does and doesn’t work. But how consistent are you when the processes start to feel repetitive? It’s simple, but it takes commitment to consistently refer back to your personas to make sure every piece of content is targeted, to religiously follow through your strategy from start to finish, and then do it all over again, and again, and again.
Contrary to what it may seem, omnichannel is not just for retailers. Just as various sectors are starting to embrace the cloud otherwise they will get left behind, various industries will also have to start embracing omnichannel so your target audience can find you, whether you’re selling a product or just raising awareness. The rise of ad blocking should nudge you in the right direction and get you thinking about how to start combining a personal approach within multifaceted strategies – it’s no longer an option so you might as well be one of the few brands that gets it right first.