Personalized marketing is omnichannel marketing

Personalized marketing is omnichannel marketing. After all, your marketing strategy is not personalized at all if your customers have to create their own personalized experience. 

Right now, as you read this, your target customers are online or in stores, on their phones or laptops, in apps or platforms, watching videos on YouTube or Instagram, researching, rating, purchasing or making decisions on products and services. 

Are you in those channels so your customers can interact and experience your brand?

Mastering personalization at scale can’t be limited to just one channel. Only relevant content is visible to your target audiences, and you also need to be in the relevant channels. 

Relevant: that’s the keyword. Personalized marketing keeps a narrow focus, in content and channels, rather than trying to be present on all channels, which is an exercise in futility with dismal ROI.

Omnichannel personalization for seamless customer experience

Previously, omnichannel meant variety and presence. Brands had accounts on LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook in addition to their website. These pages went on their business cards and the websites linked back to these platforms. 

Or an organic marketing strategy amounted to regular posts across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, and so on. 

Now it’s about a smooth, integrated customer experience. Customer experience pays. Omnisend found that customers engaging with campaigns involving three or more channels spent on average 13% more than those engaging with single-channel campaigns.

Platform pages for the sake of having pages, or as a podium for your announcements, will get you nowhere. Omnichannel personalization means serving your customer on every step of the buyer’s journey, collecting data across channels and using that data across all touch points to deliver a customized, seamless experience.

Think Starbucks and their rewards card. You use it in-store, you can check your balance and reload it via SMS, the app, or the website. The card updates in real time. You can reload while in line and then use that card when it’s your turn.  

Your customers are either looking up coffee shops near them or already in line. It’s the marketer’s job to figure out where the customers are as they move through the stages of the buyer’s journey and deliver relevant content for a seamless experience. 

They could be asking questions on Quora. Or they might ask directly on Facebook, on the business page or through Messenger. They might already be shopping and seeking out your products online, offline, or in reviews. 

In omnichannel personalized marketing, the goal is to figure out what would make your brand relevant at every stage, from how easy you make it for them to get to know you, to their time and experience as your customers.

Recognition 

They might not know you yet. Or they might have an outdated, incorrect perception. 

This is where advertising campaigns and influencer campaigns work in getting you seen and recognized. 

You don’t have to stick to online channels either.

Fifth Third Bank (previously MB Financial Bank) in Chicago had previously gone after big clients, but re-established trust with the small to medium businesses in their hometown by featuring their local branch managers in print, radio, and digital media ads. 

Next, they launched a direct mail campaign, with those local managers addressing the small business owners. 

This combination of public and targeted messaging generated a 205% increase in sales leads. The local branch managers were real people, they were local. The local business owners saw them in the ads and by the time they received the mail, they had already related to the faces in the ads, and recognized Fifth Third as relevant to their business. 

With the personal mail, Fifth Third just charmed them even more, establishing new customers. 

So many businesses often jump to direct, personal messaging without first introducing themselves in the channels their customers inhabit. That’s creepy and invasive. 

No matter how nice your cold emails are, people remember and build trust with faces. 

Recognition from public messaging, ideally using real faces from your company or influencers your audience already know, can go a long way in getting your direct mail or emails opened once you send them. Recognition is an essential part of omnichannel marketing. 

Customer Support and Customer Success

Your omnichannel personalization strategy should always aim for customer success, online and offline. 54% of millennials say they will stop doing business with a brand because of poor customer service. 50% of Gen Xers and 52% of Baby Boomers agree. 

Sephora, Oasis UK, and Neiman Marcus, among other brands, go above and beyond with customer service, mixing in-store assistance and the lightning fast convenience of mobile apps. 

In-store assistants are armed with tablets for customers to use their app and virtually try on makeup, and clothes already set in their sizes, and to pay from anywhere in the store without having to line up at the cash register. They can even order out of stock items to be delivered straight to customers’ homes. 

Timberland uses tablets in a slightly different way: utilizing NFC (near-field communication technology), customers can use the store tablets to see information about products when pressed against signage throughout the stores. 

No need to ask staff for information! (Timberland probably has data that many of their customers are introverts.) 

In the same way, Orvis has data that their customers are affluent and over-50, and may not be comfortable with technology, but are very receptive to modern tools. Orvis employees also have tablets, and can help customers browse and get the details about specific merchandise, complete online and in-store purchases, or order any out of stock items. 

The focus is not the channels, but your customers

The examples above all highlight the customer experience. With the amount of ads and content we face every day in every channel, people won’t remember any product features you advertise, but they’ll remember if you know them and treat them well. 

  • If you share their values (notice Fifth Third’s advertising with the face of their local managers, who would relate to the local business owners as “just like you”). 
  • If you recognize them as individuals. 
  • If you understand how it feels to interact with your brand. 

You don’t want to be remembered with frustration because of a disconnected service across channels, or derision from wrong and irrelevant messaging. 

Personalized marketing needs to be omnichannel to serve your customers as they move across channels. Invest in your customer’s experiences. It pays. Aside from customer loyalty, Omnisend found that 86% of consumers are willing to pay up to 25% more in exchange for better customer experience. 

  • Match your social media strategy with your web strategy. 
  • Your emails should support your social, mobile and app strategy. 
  • Your app and website should deliver the same smooth experience. 
  • Build yourself up in a channel where you’ve lost ground; promote a new and improved app or mobile site.  
  • All of them should update each other according to customer actions and data. 

How creative and attentive you are on your customer experience across all touch points can determine the customer switching from your competitors’ offers to yours. 

Dan Baird

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