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The importance of being earnestly omnichannel

Marketing has long shifted from siloes defined by media channels to an approach that puts the consumer first. Customer-centric marketing is the key to unlocking and retaining relationships with customers. A recent study by Adobe highlights the importance of this approach, with 22 per cent of client-side respondents citing the need to optimise customer experiences for 2017.

It is a long-term investment that requires time and resources to better understand consumer behaviour and needs. However, the promise of ‘the right message, to the right customer, at the right time’ has long been the holy grail of consumer-first marketing. Unfortunately, most organisations in Asia Pacific (APAC) are still learning to understand their customers’ journey, with only 10 per cent of marketers in the region believing that their organisations have a well-developed customer journey strategy in place .

In a dynamic marketplace where customer tastes and preferences are constantly evolving, what is the best approach to customer-centric marketing? One such key pillar is omnichannel marketing, an approach to content marketing which takes multiple channels into account, from your social media and your website, to your in-store experiences. Consistency of messaging across all these channels is essential for brands who are looking to ensure that the ever- increasingly complex path to purchase is as effective as possible.

Data talks
Delivering a tailored experience first requires marketers to have a holistic understanding of the habits of their consumers, across all channels. To gain insights into customer behaviour, preferences, and decision-making patterns, marketers can look towards the massive potential of data, either proprietary or external second/third party data. Insights garnered from data can then be used to segment and activate distinct audiences via a demand-side platform (DSP) that allows marketers to send relevant ads in real-time, across all relevant channels.

Consumer-centric marketing is made possible as data can provide a comprehensive end-to-end view of the consumer journey, giving marketers the ability to convey messages that are truly relevant. Integrating this data into an omnichannel DSP, ideally one that connects directly with your DMP to avoid data loss, will enable businesses to leverage these insights to deliver more effective and efficient media campaigns. This is especially crucial with 70 per cent of marketers in APAC citing the lack of integration of customer touchpoints as the impediment to understanding their customer journey.

An omnichannel approach pushes marketers toward the ultimate goal of enabling personalised relationships and making every marketing interaction relevant for their current customers and prospects. From sneak previews on a business mobile app to checking out sizing and availability at a physical store, omnichannel marketing creates a holistic and seamless experience for consumers.

Customers become fans
Multichannel marketing, the ability to interact with potential customers on various platforms, is no longer effective as a standalone tactic as consumers expect a seamless series of interactions with a brand regardless of channel jumps or switching. Put simply, multichannel is being active in more than one channel, whilst omnichannel involves taking the customer view of the brand experience across all active channels. This is obviously a more complex channel, especially in APAC where 59 per cent of marketers have expressed difficulty “unifying different data sources”. With the current experience for the consumer akin to an infinite loop, it is becoming more essential than before to keep them engaged as they look to shop on multiple channels, at the same time.

To achieve customer-centric marketing, marketers must look for a unified solution to create such a loop for consumers. By controlling aspects such as frequency of ads seen across multiple devices/channels, sequential messaging, and activity-based messaging, the customer journey can be consistently directed through the sales funnel, even though this is no longer the linear journey of yesterday (if indeed it ever truly was). For example, a video ad can be great for brand awareness and then followed up with a compelling display ad to shift a customer’s mindset from discovery to awareness . In such ways, the omnichannel loop continuously engages customers by utilising a customer’s behaviour to drive relevant interactions.

A win-win solution
Additionally, an integrated platform allows marketers to manage addressable channels from a single platform with a single log-in. By using dynamic budget allocation across the entire digital spend, brands can ensure that they are maximising their media spend fully, while simplifying workflow and business processes. This is a fundamental shift in the approach to marketing, moving away from media channel-based decision-making, to real-world business challenge problem solving, in real time.

An omnichannel solution optimises spending both within and across a business’s media mix, in tune with ongoing performance. By switching to omnichannel, we helped MediaCrossing, a digital media agency focusing on data-driven digital media management, further optimise their use of resources, resulting in a drop of nearly 75 per cent in cost per action (CPA) for one of their brands while increasing conversion rates for another by 348 per cent . An omnichannel approach maximises the return on investment (ROI) for businesses and leaves them with happier, more engaged customers.

Ultimately, it is imperative for brands to be where the consumer is and deliver what they desire to see. In a time when e-commerce is sky-rocketing in APAC, exemplified by 78 per cent of Singaporeans turning to online shopping for its convenience , there is an even greater need for an omnichannel approach. The shift to omnichannel marketing is essential as it enables a single view of customer to provide an integrated, holistic experience for both marketers and consumers alike.

Zachary King is the Vice President, Commercial (Asia) at MediaMath.