The Secret of Omnichannel Marketing Success
A true omnichannel marketing strategy requires more than simply grafting social media and mobile elements onto a pre-existing marketing campaign. It involves immersing consumers into the brand across all channels in an interconnected, seamless experience. And when it’s done well, omnichannel marketing is an incredibly effective way to build brand equity and drive sales.
Denny’s and Taco Bell are two well-known brands that have had great success with omnichannel marketing. Taco Bell’s millennial-focused “Live Más!” campaign includes a mobile ordering and payment app that allows users to design their own orders to pick up in the store dining room or the drive-thru. The chain’s TV ads and social media messages work together to project a youthful, fun-loving personality that reflects the company’s target demographic.
Denny’s, a long-established chain with enviable brand-recognition scores and a desire to appeal to customers of all ages, leveraged the fact that nearly half of all mobile activity takes place away from home to appeal to mobile customers with proximity-based offers. The promotions were delivered as part of an omnichannel strategy that drove significant sales increases, including an uptick in visits of more than 40 percent in at least one location.
Starbucks is another company that's successfully deployed an omnichannel approach. One thing the coffee chain’s strategy has in common with the Denny’s and Taco Bell's campaigns is that the outreach is based on knowing what customers want and understanding their behavior. Here are some keys to successfully rolling out an omnichannel campaign:
1. Don’t just sell a product or service — create an experience. When putting an omnichannel campaign together, it’s crucial to remember that the goal is to create a customer experience that extends beyond the boundaries of any single location. Marketers should think about how customers interact with the brand (desktop, tablet, phone, TV ads, etc.) and create an image across all platforms that forms a connection with customers. It’s vitally important to know how customers make choices; that’s the only way to send the right message at the right time.
2. Identify the devices customers use and provide consistent messaging. Creating a seamless experience across all channels is also a critical factor in producing a successful omnichannel marketing campaign, as is accurately identifying the devices customers use. Analytics and qualitative research can provide the answers retailers need to design an effective campaign, identifying which devices customers use and when they're most likely to view marketing messages. This was a key component of Denny’s success — mobile outreach based on proximity.
3. Know what your customers want. While it’s important to create an experience rather than using omnichannel marketing solely to sell products and services, it’s also true that your brand and sales are inextricably linked. Qualitative research and analytics can provide more information on what customers value about the brand and its products and services, enabling marketers to build a persona that reflects the target demographic (as Taco Bell did) and craft messages and offers that drive results (the key to Denny’s increased sales) as well as strong brand identification.
In a successful initiative, customers perceive the omnichannel marketing campaign as a single experience across multiple platforms, which can include social media, TV, email, print and more. Omnichannel campaigns are inherently complex, requiring a deep understanding of customer behavior and desires. Qualitative research and analytics can help brands determine how customers behave and what they want from a brand. This knowledge is crucial in developing and implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy that truly resonates with consumers.
When companies create a seamless experience, the customer receives a consistent message across channels — the right message at the right time on the device they prefer. Companies that have an in-depth understanding of who their customers are and what they value will be able to blur the lines between individual channels and create a holistic experience. That’s the secret to omnichannel marketing success.
Collin Sebastian is the chief product officer of YouEye, a research platform that automates in-person interviews.