Building an Omni-Channel Strategy
As technology advances, the majority of consumers have several internet-connected devices within arm's reach. Marketers realize that instead of thinking of a desktop experience, a mobile experience, a tablet experience, and an Apple Watch experience, they need to deliver a holistic approach ─ an omni-channel experience that customers can use whenever they want.
An omni-channel experience is a multi-channel approach to marketing, selling, and serving customers in a way that creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience. It doesn’t matter how or where a customer reaches out. The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a brick-and-mortar store and the experience would be seamless.
Omni-Channel Versus Multi-Channel
The key difference between an omni-channel experience from a multi-channel experience is the depth of the integration. All omni-channel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multi-channel experiences are omni-channel.
Most print service providers today are working with customers on what I categorize as multi-channel experiences. They work with customers on direct mail with personalized URLs or development of websites or mobile campaign with QR codes. However, in most cases, the customer still lacks a seamless experience and consistent messaging across each of these channels.
An omni-channel experience, on the other hand, accounts for each platform and device a customer will use to interact with the company. Messaging is aligned for each channel and device. Omni-channel marketing is a valuable asset for businesses that are looking to deliver a better customer experience.
What is a Printer to Do?
Print and marketing services providers need to develop their own unique omni-channel experience infrastructure. Ultimately, your strategy should consist of a strategic plan to build a coherent, aligned experience across multiple platforms, which may include any or all of the channels, depending upon the campaign objectives.
Because this is still a relatively new and emerging concept, there's still time to start small and expand in the future. And if you need some inspiration, in my next several blogs, I will share stories about print service providers that are starting down the path to deliver omni-channel customer experiences.
A digital printing and publishing pioneer and marketing expert, Barbara Pellow helps companies develop multi-media strategies that ride the information wave whether it is developing a strategy to launch a new product, building a strategic marketing plan or educating your sales force on how to deliver an effective value proposition. She brings the knowledge and skills to help companies expand and grow business opportunity. Barb has had a number of high-profile marketing and sales positions including Chief Marketing Officer for the Kodak Graphic Communications Group, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for IKON Office Solutions, and Vice President and General Manager for the Xerox Document Production Systems Group. She also served as the Gannett chair in integrated publishing sciences in Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) School of Printing Management and Sciences (SPMS). Most recently, Barb was the Group Director for Business Development at InfoTrends. She is currently the Manager of Pellow and Partners, LLC.
Barb can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (Mobile, 585-734-2228)