omni-channel

Can you believe some businesses (and some brands) are still operating like they are in the dark ages? Some local, small businesses still believe a website is a waste of their time; that blogging is for the birds, and social mediawhat’s that?! Perhaps you think I am kidding, but I’m not.

Most brands are up-to-date on basics like having a website and social media channels, and they’re doing some blogging. A big issue for brands is that their teams are operating in silos. This could be because the brand is so big that they and their team members are around the world – regardless, it’s a big problem. Consumers want and expect an experience that is seamless. These silos can cause the experience to be fractured.

In reviewing Fortune 500 brands, you’ll find that most are active and present almost everywhere in this micro-moments world we all live in.

Consumers Connect Omni-channel – Do You?

There are more ways than ever for consumers to connect – smartphones, social media platforms, search engines, review websites, email, apps – and let’s not forget physical locations! Unfortunately, the omni-channel cross-platform experience has big gaps. Let’s look at how to resolve a few of these today.

1. Location, Location, Location – The First Rule

Brands must know where their target audience spends most of their time and set up shop there. Track their habits, listen to their needs, wants and preferences across channels, then tailor the marketing approach and message accordingly.

Google tells us that “near me” searches have increased a whopping 146 percent, and this is most likely due to the increase in mobile usage. This requires a targeted plan to show up in these searches.

Claiming listings in Google My Business and Bing, and ensuring the brand is listed on all the major interactive media channels – plus verifying that all citations (mentions) are consistent and accurate – is essential in creating the omni-channel experience. Bad data plagues brands and must be resolved.

2. The Path To Purchase

65 percent of consumers begin their searches on a smartphone before moving on to a laptop, then possibly to a tablet. Understanding this path to purchase is extremely important for tailoring appropriate content.

Considering more than 90 percent of American adults carry and keep their smartphones close, optimizing for mobile is a given. Keep in mind, research reveals that two-thirds of online retail shoppers start the journey on their smartphone but do not actually complete it until they get to their laptop or desktop.

User experience across devices is a must, too. When a consumer adds an item to their cart in the mobile app, it needs to appear in the cart on desktop as well.

3. Mine The Data You Have

No two consumers are the same, but the vast amount of data available from previous campaigns is a treasure trove to be mined. This data can indicate the audience being attracted, what they like, how they think, and so on. Overlay the demographic data with psychographic data and particular purchasing habits to target specific groups and provide personalized shopping ideas for the most loyal customers.

Be cautious not to cross the line from savvy marketing genius to creepy stalker. The goal is to use data wisely to create blogs, videos, tutorials and personalized messages to draw in new customers and keep current ones engaged.

Let The Data Be The Guide

Omni-channel marketing is a diverse and scalable way to promote, no matter how small or how narrow its scope. Being in the right place at the right time to reach the target audience when it matters most is the point. A robust plan is necessary to show up in this competitive landscape for big brands and the local, small business.

Wondering if the businesses you represent have a data issue? Let’s discuss in the comments.