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Katie MacNichol

An Omni-Channel Approach

Katie MacNichol | February 23, 2015

By: Katie MacNichol, Assistant Director of Advertising & PR

Considering how brands can most effectively and efficiently engage customers, the recent webinar hosted by Social Media Today – Moving from Screen to Device and Back Again: The Omni-Channel Experience – focused on an omni-channel communication campaign approach versus one with a multi-channel concentration.

First, what does omni-channel mean and how does it differ from multi-channel?

  • Omni-channel – a well executed implementation of communication that provides a continuity of experience; how does each medium build on the others to continue the customer’s seamless and optimized experience
  • Multi-channel – communicating the same message across many different mediums with no particular focus on seamlessness

Ultimately, omni-channel focuses on the continuation of experience, whereas multi-channel focuses on frequency without necessarily growing the customer experience with the brand.

Within the webinar, Social Media Today highlighted five important steps for transitioning from a multi-channel approach to an omni-channel one, including:

  • Consider the customer journey
  • Identify the contributing elements
  • Identify the friction points
  • Identify the enablers (ones that can help to remove friction points)
  • Perform and audit capabilities (then fill in the gaps of the customer journey)

As strategic professionals, we use these steps at A. Bright Idea to better build plans that break silos and avoid segmenting a customer’s journey. This focus ensures all messaging, tools and tactics focus on the brand story and build webs, not funnels.

For example, when communicating to an audience segment a campaign should build a web of options for individuals to select how they want to learn about and/or engage with the brand. This provides the audience with choices, rather than a funnel approach, which only gives one hub and limits the audience’s options for engagement.

Most importantly in addition to these considerations, as with any communication campaign, research remains an important initial step, while also always keeping in mind the end-user and segmenting audiences in order to develop strategy that focuses on unique needs. Considering segments and pulling from research adds to the idea of “social care” – connecting with each audience segment where they already are (i.e. Twitter or Facebook versus a traditional call center).

Each of these elements come together to ensure an omni-channel approach to communicating a brand message to audiences remains most effective and efficient in creating an ever-growing experience, versus one that doesn’t expand past the initial engagement or provide anything of additional value to the customer.

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