Let’s face it, as marketers (and consumers) we’re constantly being bombarded with new content – whether it be advertising, sales collateral, research, infographics or various forms of rich media – breaking through the noise in a real and lasting way is a challenge for any brand or advertiser. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see the Winterberry Group / IAB’s omen-channel marketing new white paper garner significant attention this week as one of the better studies done in recent memory about the future of the profession. With so much fluff and guff out there from self-proclaimed “thought-leaders,” it was encouraging reading some very pragmatic and insight information on the subject.
The report is compelling on a number of fronts, but a few key points stood out for me:
- Omni-Channel has Different Meanings Across Different Audiences – In response to the question ‘What does omni-channel marketing mean to you?’ responses vary from a channel-agnostic approach to customer engagement (integrated campaigns) to a comprehensive strategy for optimizing ad buys. Either way, the goal is leveraging better data for more informed decision-making and more impactful and relevant communication with customers.
- Integrating Marketing Infrastructure and Teams is a Massive Undertaking and Worth Pursuing – While marketers see a huge upside in the omni-channel marketing approach, most are in the infancy stage in terms of laying out a strategy to get there. Before any meaningful progress can be made, brands will have to make significant changes to the way they align talent, structure processes and integrate both owned and purchased platforms.
- We’re Entering the Golden Age of Analytics and Multi-Platform Attribution – This is clearly a prerequisite for building an omni-channel marketing organization by supporting the business need to understand how individual touch-points impact customer behavior (and conversions) at a granular level. This echoes a recent MediaPost article advocating for dedicated teams to support multi-channel attribution and analytics.
Speaking with a number of CMOs and marketing leaders over the past several weeks, I’ve heard quite a few comments about cultural and organizational barriers that can often get in the way of running more integrated campaigns. Even within relatively mature marketing organizations traditional channel-focused silos remain. And in these companies, the phrase, “You are what you measure” couldn’t be truer. Couple this with challenges finding the right talent to work across functions can make the notion of true, cross-channel or omni-channel marketing feel like a pipe dream. While I agree we are still a long ways away from omni-channel nirvana, the core argument of the whitepaper remains valid – if you haven’t already, the time to get started building towards this inevitable future is now. And while you are at it, pick up the white paper and give it a read.