Customers now have more choices than ever when it comes to interacting with a business. It wasn’t that long ago that we were limited to just print, radio or television. Now we’re dealing with a multitude of channels to reach our target audiences. This is great because there are now a range of channels with which customers can complete transactions. On the flip side, the increase of information resources across channels makes it easier for customers to switch between brands and vendors, forcing businesses to focus on customer retention and lifetime value.
Travelocity implemented Adobe Insight, which enabled them to plug in external data sources and begin truly optimising their marketing across paid search, display ads, SEO and offline activities (such as TV and radio). The wealth of data they were then able to access and analyse allowed Travelocity to differentiate their activities by customer segments and ultimately improve the effectiveness of their marketing spend.
The customer is the focus, not the channel
Merely having multiple channels does not translate into a multi-channel strategy. This approach runs the costly and ineffective risk of trying to be "everything to everyone". A true multi-channel strategy involves each channel playing a core role and a defined value for the customer. While they exist within a world containing multiple interaction channels, they are still ONE consumer.
Better understanding customer behaviour and preferences is fundamental in developing your multi-channel strategy. And thanks to the world of digital, we can now collect more data about our customers than ever before.
The key is in how you leverage this information to develop a 360º view of your customers and optimise their behaviour at every touch point.
Bring all customer touch point data together
Tying all this data together is not an easy task. All too often customer touch point data is generated by different, non-integrated systems with varied formats, making it difficult for companies to have a holistic view of their consumers. Critical to success is determining a common key that connects a visitor or customer across the many different systems (like an ID or visitor number). By modifying business processes and technical implementations across systems, you can ensure you are bringing all customer touch point data together – giving you the vital information to understand and optimise their behaviour.
Know how customers are interacting with different channels
People have become accustomed to gathering information from multiple sources. Online shoppers visit an average of two to three sites while researching a purchase online, while financial services customers interact with online and call centre channels. It’s therefore vital that to develop a knowledge-base of customer behaviour and create strategies that ensure customers will stay with their brand while jumping between channels.
Invest in the most effective channels
In order to truly optimise your marketing spend across channels, you need to establish which campaigns, through which channels, provide the highest ROI (e.g. in-store, mobile, online, social media or call centre). You also need to determine whether you can most effectively increase revenue and customer engagement with a blend of channels.
Test promotions and understand user behaviour
Businesses must be able to respond to each visitor’s intent and guide them to the most relevant information in clear steps. Marketers and merchandisers need ways to easily promote compelling product or content choices for maximum cross-sell and up-sell impact. They also need to define recommendations that promote relevant choices to visitors and increases cross-sell and up-sell revenues.
In this multi-channel landscape, developing a 360º view of your customers is not as easy as it perhaps used to be. However, once you have put in place the necessary processes and systems, the results will speak for themselves. For more information, please check out omniture. com.
Cassandra Faria, Omniture Marketing
* Source: The 2010 Retail Handbook for Becoming Demand Driven, AMR Research, January 2010