It’s time to get real about omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel isn't the be-all and end-all. Columnist Kristin Cronin explains why creating the right message and experience for customers is more important than utilizing every channel.
When you stop to think about the evolution of marketing in the last decade alone, it’s pretty remarkable — especially how mobile has forever changed the way we engage with our favorite brands.
The billboard, television or email campaigns of yesteryear have transformed into in-app messages, chatbots and social memes. These are just some of the marketing channels that have developed in the last decade — and it seems as if more channels are being introduced all the time, especially with the introduction of voice-activated technology.
But effectively utilizing these new channels and capabilities seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. In fact, driving business value through effective customer engagement is an area where many brands have fallen short.
Bottom line: The best creative marketing campaign is worthless if there are no real business results to show.
So when it comes to reaching people on mobile — that little thing that’s in our hands for three hours a day — results matter. We’re in a mobile-first world, and every business needs to adapt or risk losing out on the majority of their audience. And while it’s important for marketers to engage customers on all channels, that alone is not the be-all and end-all.
Experiences matter more than the channel
By no means should we downplay the importance of omnichannel, but it shouldn’t be viewed as the cure for all marketing woes.
Experiences and solutions are what matter most to customers, so focusing only on the channels and ignoring the importance of content means marketers will inevitably fall short on delivering a great experience. Simply sending messages to users on every channel is meaningless if those messages don’t drive positive changes in user behavior.
But you know what’s going to underwhelm or annoy your target customer most? An irrelevant, poorly timed, unhelpful message, regardless of whether it’s being sent by push, email or chat. In fact, our company found that over 50 percent of app users find push notifications annoying in general — and when you consider how over 35 percent of push notifications are generic “broadcast” blasts, it’s no surprise that a lack of relevance plays a major role in this perception.
That said, focusing on vanity metrics like clicks or views, or simply sending messages via a channel without the proper level of insight on a user is a recipe for disaster. It’s imperative that data sits at the core of every action — or inaction — to drive positive, personalized customer experiences. This comes only with a broad understanding of how your customers engage with your brand on their devices, and the insights to guide how messages are or aren’t working.
The reality is, to do mobile right and to drive results requires its own focus and organization strategy. As my colleague explained in a Marketing Land column last month, organizations with dedicated cross-functional mobile teams outperform their peers by nearly 50 percent when it comes to monthly active user growth on mobile.
With people spending nearly 74 minutes each month in apps, according to our benchmark data, now more than ever, brands can’t afford to get mobile wrong. Mobile marketing is an industry that allows for real-time, interactive communication with a customer — which means it’s also unforgiving. One irrelevant message, despite the channel, and your customer may turn their back on you forever.
A better focus on results makes campaigns stronger, fosters growth and makes customers happier. And happy customers drive positive business results.