Please stop by and read my companion article, as well: Omni-Channel Marketing – A Mainstream Reality in 2015?

Clearly, successful omni-channel marketing programs are becoming a reality for more and more companies.  If you haven’t already, now’s the time to implement an omni-channel strategy, especially if your company is keen to give customers the best possible buying experience across all touch points.  

But where do you start?  Like many things, it’s really just a matter of focus and in taking meaningful (and achievable) incremental steps toward achieving your goals. Here are a few suggestions to guide your pursuit of omni-channel marketing:

Using a Digital Marketing Channel

Optimize Digital Channels - An important first step is to look at your company’s website on multiple devices and confirm it is fully functional, consistent, and looks good across all channels. Enhance your SEO search ranking and regularly update your directory listings.  Understand what channels your buyers are utilizing and make sure that each of those channels is consistently and seamlessly implemented to support the buyer’s journey. 

Create the Experience – For each of your key types of customers, periodically map out the complete customer experience (current and envisioned), keeping the customer’s goals and perspectives in mind for every step of the process. Identify the gaps in the process where the customer’s experience does not support your brand promise. Develop and implement a roadmap for resolution of the gaps. Validate all of this work with input from real customers.  

Bring the Data Together – Store and house your multichannel customer data to create a single, 360-degree view of the customer, enabling you as a marketer to use that information to act holistically and strategically. Even if you’re only supporting a few channels now, think ahead to how those and other channels will evolve, and how that data will need to be gathered, stored, and analyzed. A data management platform (DMP) will enable your company to collect, manage, and analyze customer information across all channels and thus is an essential component of successful omni-channel marketing.

Recognize Customers Anywhere – It’s critical to be able to distinguish individual customers regardless of where and how they interact with your company. In a related way, your business will be most successful if you also give customers the ability to manage their relationship with your firm, including providing a way for them to easily share their shopping and communication preferences.    

Content is King – The secret to a seamless omni-channel experience is to provide customers with compelling content that is consistent across all channels and touch points. When faced with this challenge, many companies opt to just “spray and pray” generalized, identical campaigns across all channels.  However, with thoughtful planning and application of technology, both personalized marketing and consistent messaging can be achieved.

Organize for Success – Before jumping into omni-channel, your company must be ready to pursue the new objectives, approaches, and metrics that will come with it.  Take the time to organize appropriately to move away from a traditional channel-siloed approach to one that supports the customer-centric needs of the future. Promote a corporate culture that embraces omnichannel - and to insure that the organization acts in a synchronized way going forward, create a senior-level role that provides coordination across the various touchpoints, technologies, projects, and strategies.

Clearly, successful omni-channel marketing programs are becoming a reality for more and more companies.  Now’s the time to implement an omni-channel strategy, especially if your company is keen to give customers the best possible buying experience across all touch points.   There’s no doubt it’s an exciting time to be a marketer!