The bottom line of existence for any company is to always ensure that it is able to generate revenue and profit. Thus, it is a common sight to see businesses constantly looking for innovative avenues to reduce costs and increase their reach to more consumers.
Many key drivers of recent trends leverage on technology innovations available in the market. We have seen the rise of Social Media marketing with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
We have also observed the rate at which many businesses have transcended into the mobile space through the development of their own Mobile Applications. Coupled with its own retail store, e-newsletters, an online website and a card-based loyalty programme, this seems to be a formula for success and a hit with prospects.
Integrating Your Marketing Efforts
From the perspective of a business, one needs to provide the end consumer with many available options. In an era where marketing starts with the end consumer, customers can now choose from their preferred channel to interact with the company and ultimately make a purchase.
However, a very real danger exists for companies that adopt a blind approach in chasing after the latest technology and marketing innovations. From my experience working as a consultant for many top brands, companies frequently set up a new marketing channel without giving proper thought to how it can integrate well with their existing marketing channels. As a result, the company runs the risk of operating each channel as isolated entities, decoupled from the overall marketing and branding strategies.
For example, a restaurant might have a mobile application that enables the implementation of a loyalty programme and reservation system. In the same set-up, the business would also have an e-commerce platform for the provision of delivery services. Finally, in its retail store, it would house a point-of-sales system that tracks purchase transactions.
For companies who are myopic, they would treat each channel as a standalone without mapping out how the channels interact with one another. This is a lost opportunity because many a time, a real business’s value resides in the understanding of interactions between channels and the customer’s journey toward making a purchase.
Omni-Channel marketing evolved from what we used to call multi-channel or integrated marketing. However, with a rapidly evolving marketplace and more technology-savvy customers, a customer’s purchase journey is getting increasingly complex.
For example, a customer comes across a complimentary coffee promotion ad on Facebook. Clicking on the message, he is then brought to the company’s website, where he is prompted to download the company’s mobile application to claim the voucher. When he patronises the café, he claims his voucher and purchases a $10 set meal. He loves the café so much that in the next year, he makes a trip down once a month and spends on average of $10 per trip.
Given the above scenario, if the café’s channel was operating in silo, there would be no means for the company to determine the return on investment its “free coffee” campaign has garnered. However, if it had adopted an Omni-Channel approach, the company is able to map out not only the customer’s transactional history, but they are even able to calculate the exact returns and customer lifetime value from its campaign.
Herein lies the real value of Omni-Channel marketing. It really is about a seamless integration of all available marketing channels. Then only can you can obtain a paramount level of data intelligence and gain in-depth consumer insights to better fortify your business strategy. When this is done properly, businesses can reach out to the end consumer using the appropriate promotions, via the right channels and at even the perfect moment.
Article contributed by Benjamin Yang, a successful entrepreneur and the MD of Balanced Consultancy, an IT development solutions company.