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Why a true omni-channel experience can be so elusive

  • Posted on March 3, 2016

Omni-channel Customer data is hardly in short supply, and the marketing landscape is awash with technologies that help companies analyze the disparate data sets from various channels. The challenge facing most brands, however, is not whether or not they have enough data – it’s the task of integrating those data silos in order to create a complete picture of the online and offline customer journey so that they can deliver a consistent, compelling omni-channel experience.

To quote the popular adage by sociologist William Bruce Cameron, “Not everything that can be counted counts.” In order to understand your customers and the best ways to engage them, you need three things: the right data, the right context and a methodology that allows you to act. Delivering a true omni-channel experience requires companies to identify the metrics that drive actionable insights, and then bring them together in one environment for a consolidated view.

At Avanade, we work with Sitecore, Webtrends, Adobe and other partners to integrate customer data and enrich it with demographic, social and market trends, leading to meaningful insights about our clients’ customers that you can’t get by looking at things in silos. It’s very important this enriched data is in an open and flexible place to answer questions clients haven’t thought of yet – and that insights are flowing back to the CRM and ERP applications so that clients don’t need to switch contexts in order to make decisions.

Consider the following use case: an anonymous customer visits your website and browses your products and prices. You may have seen that pattern of action a million times, but because the customer hasn’t identified himself, you may not have any insight into intent to purchase. However, if you can map the customer’s IP address to demographics, market trends and offline behaviors of known customers in that same micro-segment, and if you know that particular customer profile has a certain conversion rate, you start to get an inkling of whether or not this customer intends to buy your products. Once you know that, you can tailor a unique omni-channel experience so that the customer wants to interact with your brand again and again.

Delivering a true omni-channel experience to customers is no easy feat, and many of the biggest brands in the world have reached a false state of omni-channel comfort. In our conversations with clients, we encourage them to play to their strengths, and partner for the rest. This means taking an honest look at their current analytics capabilities, and identifying small steps they can take today to add incremental value while creating an adaptable methodology that can move at the speed of their business. Avanade offers small, focused, “hackathon” engagements to prove that value rapidly. In fact, we worked with a financial services firm in the UK on a small engagement to improve campaign effectiveness. Using a unified data approach to hone their segments, we helped them achieve 25 percent lift from their first subsequent campaign.

Marketers, how are you helping deliver an omni-channel experience for your customers? Share your insights in the comments box below.

Megan Barnett

The customer of today is engaging with brands through a variety of channels and it is important for businesses to provide support that addresses customers from each channel thereby making their interactions with the business smooth. It is not easy but definitely worth it. With the right data at the right time, businesses can reap benefit from to its customers. Megan Barnett

August 31, 2016

Michael Isaac

Well said, Megan. I'd just add that, with the right incremental approach to providing that smooth interaction brands can start to reap those benefits now.

September 2, 2016

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