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Marketing in the Age of the Omnipresent Consumer

Here’s how omnipresent marketing helps build meaningful customer relationships in today’s digital landscape.

Multichannel. Omnichannel. Omnipresent. Beyond buzzwords, these marketing strategies aim to deliver a better customer experience — and drive greater business results. 

Using the right combination of channels is essential in today’s dynamic landscape. Here’s how to successfully engage with your audience and better fulfill their changing needs and preferences. 

Defining multichannel, omnichannel and omnipresent marketing

Let’s define each strategy to establish a shared context for the rest of the article.

Multichannel marketing

Multichannel marketing uses various channels to reach customers, including in-store, email, social media and other touchpoints. However, these channels are managed and promoted independently, with limited coordination. This approach may be suitable for marketers with limited budgets who want to focus on specific channels to reach their target audience.

Omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing refers to an integrated approach across all channels. It suits companies that want to provide a seamless customer experience and improve customer loyalty. The goal is to deliver a consistent experience regardless of the channel. This approach requires a unified customer database to ensure consistency across all touchpoints.

Omnipresent marketing

Omnipresent marketing requires being present wherever the customer is, regardless of the device or channel they use to engage with the brand. It involves maximum integration across all channels and touchpoints for a seamless, always-on customer experience. This approach is ideal for companies seeking to provide a highly personalized, always-available customer experience — and has the resources to support it.

Meeting the omnipresent consumer’s expectations

The omnipresent consumer is always connected and accessible through various devices, channels and touchpoints. Such consumers:

  • Expect a seamless, integrated and personalized experience across channels
  • Engage with brands on their terms
  • Value convenience, speed and reliability and seek brands that meet these needs.

To fulfill these expectations, brands must take a holistic approach by: 

  • Breaking down silos between departments and functions.
  • Integrating data and systems.
  • Delivering a unified view of the customer.

Easier said than done. Many companies struggle to manage the complexity of the customer journey effectively. Plenty still rely on outdated or siloed data, processes and systems. Rapid advances mean what was innovative a year ago may now be obsolete.

The importance of data in omnipresent marketing

Data’s role in modern marketing cannot be overstated. Actionable data lets us personalize our messaging and tailor campaigns to individual customers.

Data-driven approaches result in higher engagement, greater relevance and a more meaningful and consistent customer experience across all touchpoints. Below are some examples:

  • With web and mobile analytics, a retailer can recommend products to customers based on their browsing and purchasing behavior, as they are more likely to purchase items relevant to their interests and needs.
  • Data from CRM systems and customer feedback lets marketers segment their email lists and send targeted campaigns to different customer groups. Targeted messaging leads to higher open rates, click-through rates and conversions.
  • Social media and third-party data offers insights into customers’ interests and preferences, helping us create campaigns relevant to the customer’s current context (i.e., location or time of day). 

Going beyond traditional engagement strategies

To achieve omnipresence, brands must adopt a customer-centric and holistic approach to their engagement strategy. This involves focusing on the following key factors:

Customer journey

To deliver exceptional customer experience, understand your customers’ interactions through all channels, both online and offline, by:

  • Mapping their journey. 
  • Tracking behaviors and preferences.
  • Identifying pain points and opportunities.

Seamless experience

Strive to provide a consistent, integrated experience across all touchpoints and channels by: 

  • Using technology to manage customer data.
  • Personalizing content and offers.
  • Maintaining consistent messaging and design.

Innovative engagement

Stay ahead by incorporating new channels and technologies (i.e., voice assistants, conversational intelligence and social media) into your strategy. This requires agility, adaptability and ongoing testing and refinement.

Collaborative effort

Foster collaboration across teams through strong leadership, clear goals, effective communication tools and teamwork.

Outcome-oriented

Rather than solely measuring outputs, an engagement strategy’s success should be evaluated based on its impact on business outcomes, such as increased customer loyalty, revenue growth and improved customer experience.

Outcomes, not outputs

This 2012 HBR article highlights the importance of focusing on outcomes rather than outputs in marketing efforts. The authors argue that, too often, the focus is on producing outputs (i.e., total impressions, clicks or leads generated) rather than achieving desired outcomes (i.e., increased sales, customer loyalty or brand recognition).

For example, companies that focus on outputs such as total impressions may miss out on the impact of offline marketing efforts. They might also overlook customer experience in the marketing process. An overemphasis on outputs can lead to a lack of accountability because it’s difficult to determine how these outputs drive outcomes.

The authors advocate for a more holistic approach focusing on outcomes and customer experience. Organizations must consider the entire customer journey, from first contact to post-purchase engagement, then measure marketing’s impact on customer behavior and business results. This customer-centric, data-driven approach requires effort but results in a higher return on investment and better marketing outcomes.

Omnipresent marketing in today’s dynamic digital landscape

The transition from multichannel to omnichannel and now omnipresent marketing indicates a significant change in how brands interact with customers. Today, relying solely on one marketing channel is insufficient. 

Brands must strive for a data-driven, technology-enabled and customer-centric strategy to deliver a seamless, consistent and personalized experience across all touchpoints. Only then can they address the evolving demands and expectations of the target audience. Embracing an “always-present” approach is a competitive edge.

Originally published on martech.org.

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