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When you think of omnichannel marketing strategies, one of the first considerations you should make is how your customers are affected by the omnichannel experience. You want to deliver a path to purchase that’s seamless between devices and location, and in order to accomplish that you need to see omnichannel marketing from a customer’s perspective. 

Omnichannel Marketing Through the Customer’s Eyes

Omnichannel was definitely one of the most-used buzzwords of 2016. As people have been using it since at least 2014, it’s probably gotten to the point where it’s been used to describe a number of different things. So how should you be thinking about omnichannel when it comes to digital advertising?

The first thing you need to do is define what it means to your organization. When you think about omnichannel in terms of digital advertising, it’s drastically different from fulfillment. All the different channels you use should strive to reinforce the same brand message, look and feel. Each advertising tactic can help their experience with your company feel unified and the customer will have the same experience whether they’re on your affiliate channel or searching for you on Google.

Customers don’t think in terms of channels, of course, so we always challenge our partners not to think in terms of channels either. You should be thinking about it from the eyes of the customer. How do you get outside of that channel-focused mindset and break down those silos so you can deliver a consistent omnichannel message for your customers? Your message has to be cohesive across all touch points, whether it’s a campaign on Facebook, your website’s landing page, or your digital storefront.

If you’re running a specific promotion on your retargeting, people should be able to find it easily when they get to your website. There shouldn’t be a disjointed view between the promotions that come up across the different channels. In your customer’s eyes, they’ll be experiencing a consistent brand experience no matter what channel they use.

Improvements to Omnichannel Advertising Tools

Thankfully, the available tools have evolved so that it’s easier to be much more cohesive and consistent across channels. Attribution and analytics platforms typically get the main spotlight, but there are plenty of small wins that can help you start to break down the silos. We’re helping clients leverage product knowledge from different channels, so that they can take advantage of product momentum from multiple angles.

For example, let’s say that you’re running Facebook dynamic product ads and you see that specific products are very effective at engagement. Customers are clicking on those ads more often than others. How do you take those learnings and make sure that your Google shopping ads are getting updated as well? You’ll want to change your bids accordingly, because you know that those particular products are both popular and profitable.

A strong omnichannel strategy involves making sure that you push information from one channel to another. If your retargeting campaign shows that a new sweater is driving much more traffic than the boots that you thought would be popular, you’ll want to get the product in front of new audiences on Facebook and/or other programmatic advertising. Your most popular products should gain visibility across different channels to increase effectiveness.

Challenges

If your business has been trying to go omnichannel for a couple of years, you know that it’s not easy. There are both internal and external roadblocks that you’ll face along the way. You have a specific return on ad spend that you need to get from your digital advertising budget. You also have expectations of what past performance that search and your affiliate program should be contributing versus display or social advertising. If you don’t hit those goals, you’ll typically lose budget. These internal silos are consistently noted as the biggest roadblock to going omnichannel.

A good way to start breaking down walls is to figure out how to effectively manage data across different channels. While audiences and insights from one channel are not always easily transferable to another (e.g., affiliate, search, retargeting), even getting started with things like Facebook Custom Audiences or Google’s RSLA tools allow you to work with other team members to tie your channel strategies closer together.

(Originally posted on the Rakute Marketing Blog, April 28, 2017.)

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