Why omni-channel marketing must be rethought
Omni-channel is only implemented within individual departments in most companies. Marketing plays campaigns across different channels. CRM or Customer Support communicates via different channels. What is missing in this implementation is the actual linking of the departments. For omni-channel to become a success factor, it must be thought of across departments and also strategically. Only in this way will customers really perceive their customer experience as cross-channel. For this reason, the omni-channel approach starts with a company’s corporate and communication culture.
To put it bluntly, it does your customers no good if the last marketing campaign was played out across a wide variety of channels, but customer support knows nothing about it and cannot satisfactorily pick up the customer. This not only interrupts the customer experience, it also wastes great potential. Namely, those that would make the customer’s communication with the company more convenient and thus help them build a relationship of trust with the company. According to a recent Salesforce study, for 79% of consumers, the customer experience that a company offers is as important as its products. In addition, 76% of customers expect consistent interactions across all departments.
What should omni-channel marketing be like?
So, if omni-channel can’t be reduced to individual departments, the question is: what should it be like and, most importantly, what can it do? The mistake companies make is that they don’t think omni-channel from the customer’s perspective. Customer centricity should be at the core of any omni-channel strategy. That’s because relationship management must circulate to deliver real value – across departments. Customers don’t think in terms of departments, they see the company as a whole. For example, the reality is that 54% feel that sales, service and marketing departments do not share information with each other.
Before data was used to drive decisions, marketing and CRM were often based on gut instinct, experience, or a mix of both. Smart omni-channel (marketing) requires a combination of everything. Used wisely, automation tools like marketing clouds can automate a lot of the “leg work” that was previously done through diligence and manual labour. In addition, these tools are a great foundation for setting up and tracking processes across departments. Not only do they buy teams more time to focus on more strategically valuable work, but they also link channels that may not have been linked before.
From product to consumer lifecycle business
In order to establish and strategically implement customer centricity, certain precautions must be taken. At first glance, these have little to do with marketing or the product itself. Rather, they are to do with methods of collaboration and general structures within the company. They are the basis for moving from a product-oriented to a customer-oriented company.
What do you gain from transferring the focus from the product to the customer? A strong customer relationship management (CRM) setup paired with marketing automation can lead to an uplift in online sales of up to 20%, while personalised customer interaction can increase marketing ROI by 25%. In addition, 40% of customers are willing to share more personal data if it translates into better offers and services. At the same time, 86% want more transparency regarding the use of their personal data. Companies can only achieve this balance if they use data intelligently and focus on clarity and proactive communication with their customers.
Implementing omni-channel holistically
Based on these developments and requirements for companies, we have compiled 5 recommendations for action that are beneficial for your holistic omni-channel strategy:
Integrate CRM in C-Level Management
Customer Relationship Management must not be seen as an extended arm of the sales or marketing department. It needs its own seat at the table – even in C-level management. For customer-oriented marketing, CRM needs to be at the heart of it, and it must also be perceived as such within the company. Chief consumer officers are responsible for managing the entire customer journey and customer experience. Their teams look at products and services from the customer’s perspective – from start to finish. Such a customer-centric corporate structure requires agility, iterative processes, data-driven decisions, and interdisciplinary, cross-team collaboration.
Although many companies embrace and want to implement omni-channel (marketing), individual departments remain siloed. These barriers between teams mean that data and information are not shared freely, making it difficult for channels to work together. For the customer to perceive their customer journey as a seamless experience, the teams must be as seamlessly connected to each other as the channels themselves. Here it helps, for example, to strengthen the sense of community, to clearly communicate overarching corporate goals, to share expert knowledge with everyone in a targeted manner, or to automate processes.
A company is agile if it has the skills to respond quickly to new requirements while always keeping the customer in focus. This is reflected in the development of relevant products and services for satisfied customers. If you lose sight of this, you will not achieve the state of agility. This is because “agile working” includes values and principles that, on the one hand, focus on customer needs and, on the other hand, encourage employees to take responsibility and organise themselves. Often, agility is understood as a set of methods, but in fact it is a state that can be achieved through methods.
Sharing data and information
Every department would probably say of itself: we do share information! But sometimes the most mundane things are the most complicated. For information to be shared in a meaningful way, teams need two elements: structure and curation. Formats need to be created internally within the company to facilitate information sharing, such as documentation, stand-ups, or specific meetings. Another important component in omni-channel is the data collected. Companies and teams must always ask themselves what data is on which systems, who needs to have access to it, and how it can be processed and intelligently linked. For example, if you want to personalise a campaign to specific behaviour patterns, the data must also be available in the respective system.
Collaboration between experts
Every team has specialists who oversee a specific channel or multiple channels. They usually have very deep expert knowledge and a lot of experience in their respective fields. They work vertically. They have earned expert status and get 100% involved in a topic. A manager, on the other hand, works more horizontally. They delegate, communicate and analyse without committing themselves to a topic. The challenge now is to link the experts within the individual teams with each other and thus make their expertise usable. It must be brought out of its (vertical) silos in order to add value to the company horizontally. This requires a lot of communication and strategic work at a management level and a willingness to venture into new territory and create synergies at the expert level.