Monday, August 28, 2017

Seven Reasons an Omnichannel Strategy is Crucial for Your Business

By Spandana Lakkamraju
Global Omnichannel Manager
Digital Marketing


Omnichannel is possibly the most misused term these days. No matter how you describe it though, you probably have at least one aspect of omnichannel down. It is also worth noting that the digital and physical worlds are colliding. We all live and breathe it today. Half the time we live on the internet and the other half in the physical world.

Information is at our fingertips today as it should be for us to keep progressing. So for the sake of this progression, we need to make brilliant transformations in marketing today. In order to deliver real transformation, it’s extremely important to make a true omnichannel strategy a part of your overall corporate marketing strategy. Here’s why:

1. Revenue: A Seat at the Table

Marketing is starting to take on bigger quotas and bookings goals. It’s evident that online research is where people start when they begin their buying journey. Omnichannel can help bridge the gap in terms of funnel conversion and aid in new avenues to generate revenue. Beyond that, if you are considering going direct with an e-commerce platform, having an omnichannel strategy with built-in, in-app notifications will significantly drive sales. 

2. Real-Time Optimization

How many of you are having conversations around goals right now? The company sets its annual targets, and you are asked to create a road map for the rest of the year. Where do you start? If you have an existing inbound practice, you can base it on your current run rate and reverse waterfall. How do we bridge the gap if the two numbers don’t match? You guessed it! 

In an omnichannel world, you can go into specifics. If you set up ‘always-on’ campaigns, you’ll know on an average how many leads you can bring in a week or a month. On top of that, you can set up growth rates and optimization goals to drive real time results.

3. Unified Goals and Cross-Team Collaboration 

One of the best things about omnichannel,is that it gives the entire marketing organization unified goals. How many times have we set up a brand campaign with awareness goals and not been able to show conversions? In an organization focused on omnichannel, all teams work together to feed into each other’s goals. The customer journey becomes a relay match, the teams in the marketing organization work together to deliver a delightful customer experience.

4. Better Messaging to Drive a Seamless Customer Experience

As stated above, we live in a digital world. and our customers consume content in multiple places using multiple devices. So, we need to be sure our brand messaging is consistent across channels, and in real time. All organizations need a strategy to do so.

Omnichannel isn’t just about conveying the same message across all your channels. It’s about understanding the relevance of different platforms and presenting the right messages per channel. A blog post has no place on Instagram and a whitepaper has no place on Facebook. Take aspects of the whitepaper, however, and post an image of significant learnings from it on Instagram. Boom, instant conversions. 

Omnichannel can be used to help get the story to flow from one channel to the next. It can help spread the right message, at the right time, in the right place to the relevant audience. 

5. Capturing Customer Pain Points and insights 

Customer experience goes beyond messaging; it also includes solving your customer’s pain points depending on where they are in their journey. In the omnichannel world, you’re not having multiple first date conversations with your customers, you’re honeymooning. 

By presenting messages that are relevant to where they move on the internet, you let customers know that you’re listening to their needs. It also gives you the ability to capture valuable customer data and insights.

6. Improved Tech Stack Delivers Better ROI 

As an omnichannel strategy requires multiple platforms to work together,it’s important to start making investments in tools that can work together but also build on each other. An integrated tech stack that’s essential for omnichannel delivers better ROI than fragmented tech investments. 

7. Allow For Innovation: Play By Your Own Rules

Omnichannel allows for multiple opportunities to innovate and experiment. This is the most enticing reason to be part of an omnichannel organization, in my experience. Gamification of demos and experimenting with augmented and virtual reality and other interactive experiences are vital for creating customer moments that matter. Additionally, when proven successful, these innovations too can be scaled via an omnichannel plan across the board. 

To sum up, a well-planned and executed omnichannel strategy allows for revenue growth, real time optimization, unified goals and cross-team collaboration. It helps you address customer pain points and gain insights, improve ROI and also allows room for innovation. Omnichannel arms you to become a successful, trans formative marketing organization!

As Global Omnichannel Manager, Digital Marketing, Cisco, Spandana Lakkamraju is responsible for driving an omnichannel strategy for key initiatives across Cisco’s business, and for scaling innovation such as “new digital experiences” created at Cisco. She partners with the BU, Brand, Content, Country/Regional, and other teams in the organization to establish coordination of message, touch points, and frequency across customer-facing channels. Previously, she was an Inbound and Revenue Marketing Specialist, Global Demand Center, for Cisco and a Technical Assistant for the Aerodynamics Department at NASA Ames Research Center.