Omni-Channel Marketing: The Future of Brand Engagement.

So Mr Brand Manager, do you feel good about your digital strategy? The website you have had for years is well optimised, the brand is utilising every single social platform known to man, and the communities are thriving. You've got apps – both iOS and Android, and Windows next year. 

You’ve started dabbling in digital out-of-home and have started interactivity in your retail space. Your agency roster is tight, and digital engagement ideas are falling out of your all-agency meetings. 

Does this sound familiar? If it does, congratulations, you’re the epitome of your peers and you understand the ever-changing digital landscape and how digital impacts your business.

The evolution… Omni-channel marketing.

Is it a buzzword or is there truth in omni-channel retailing becoming a reality? As with any new buzzwords in the digital industry, they remain buzzwords until one agency does something about it. However, consumer trends have shown that within two to three years, omni-channel marketing will allow consumers to move between a real shopping experience and a virtual shopping experience. 

This is a big shift for all agencies to get involved or be left behind. 

Omni-channel marketing is already in play… 

Many online retailers let their consumers check the stock by store, purchase online (with a discount card or online account), and choose a store to pick their products. American retailer Restoration Hardware makes its stores into brand showrooms, whereby consumers can test products whilst shopping the online catalogue and website. Walmart Labs is implementing SoMoLo (Social, Mobile, Local) data to predict shoppers’ next purchase based on social media activity. 

With omni-channel, each platform needs to have an awareness of the other. The website needs to understand the experience you have had on Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, Twitter, how you’ve interacted with the brand’s apps, and what kind of in-store experiences you’ve received. 

The overall experience needs to be a seamless consumer journey. Marketers can start to tell a continuous story of when and where a consumer interacts with the brand. Customers move from platform to platform executing the same task and they have expectations. Their behaviour in one place will influence the experience in another. 

As with any marketing channel, reporting and data is the most significant issue around this concept. The awareness and seamless implications are made possible by building a sophisticated consumer profile and developing this as the interactions of the consumer and the brand. ‘Big Data’, another buzzword that has been one of the latest digital trends, is all about collection of data. However, we see a lot of our customers looking at data in a limited way rather than building dynamic databases. Most businesses are already dominated by performance marketing such as search and attribution modelling, omni-channel means addressing the need to tag and report, building or using agencies with monetisation models.

To move swiftly into the future of retailing there is a lot of co-ordination between IT and marketing  - never the best of friends – but it means marketeers need to be thinking of a series of products rather than a series of messages. 

Mark Wynn – Digital Director 
Mark’s role is to foster digital marketing strategies for the Purple Agency. He is a do-er, an enabler and completer. Inspiring innovative digital thinking surrounded by great creative. 
A champion of creative technologies, Mark’s leadership has seen new and engaging platforms and methods to drive consumer engagement for clients whilst offering in-depth digital knowledge, insights and ROI to our clients’ business and their markets.