Is it possible to enable a seamless experience and journey for customers across all channels? The quick answer is yes. However, depending on the company’s structure and history, the practical reality can be more complicated.
Technology has revolutionized the way customers interact with their favourite brands, yet many organizations continue to have traditional mindsets regarding how they manage their use of digital tools.
Consumers might have pre-existing purchase intentions or behaviours, but they can often be quickly influenced to change their minds through clever marketing tactics delivered through the various channels they are exploring. Brands that are not able to offer seamless experiences across all channels may miss out on opportunities to convert potential prospects in those critical moments that matter. Competition is so fierce today and companies must seize any opportunity to win mindshare.
Companies that want to compete in the digital age need to have a laser focus on the combination and integration of People, Process and Technology. Let’s take a closer look at the common omnichannel marketing challenges faced by companies through the lens of this trifecta:
Building an omnichannel experience means undergoing a successful digital transformation, which in turn requires companies to source and utilize the right talent to organize the process and strategy. Technology, and subsequently the customer experience, will only be as valuable as the strategy that is underlying the setup. Dynamic leadership, engaged employees and strong partners are the driving force behind developing and implementing that strategy and putting the company’s vision into action. Ultimately, digital transformation requires top-to-bottom buy-in, which often means embracing a significant shift in organizational culture and structure.
Process is essential to putting a digital strategy into market. Any new digital transformation vision needs to be clear, practical and measurable so that the people in charge of building an implementation process can deliver on the objectives with the right budget and resources. Experienced digital transformation leaders will take a crawl-walk-run approach by balancing desired outcomes with business and operational realities and will develop processes that create realistic and manageable expectations for incremental “wins” along the journey.
The third prong of the trifecta is technology, and its in this area where the age and history of an organization play a significant role in how quickly and effectively digital transformation can be achieved. Newer companies that have built their infrastructure in the cloud are generally more able to be nimble enough to set up technology practices that are agile and easier to maintain. More traditional organizations may struggle with this due to legacy systems that are not easy to integrate with new technological advances. As such, these businesses often find high costs to be a barrier to integration; however, suppliers and partners can help develop solutions that allow companies to develop omnichannel experiences without completely overhauling their existing systems.
To summarize, undertaking digital transformation to enable an omnichannel experience for customers is a hot topic in today’s marketing world, but it is not a simple strategy to implement. This is particularly true for larger organizations with older systems and long-established processes, but it is also the case for newer companies who are already using the cloud and have more agility in their operations. The key to success is a clear and strategic vision that focuses on people (including partners and suppliers), process and technology working together to achieve realistic, incremental gains that, over time, enhance the customer experience in a meaningful way.
Michael Annett is a member of the CMA Martech Council.