Life Sciences, Creative, Strategy

Omnichannel Marketing: Captivating Customers With Creative Content (Part 3)

Part Three of MERGE’s seven-part series on omnichannel marketing underscores the importance of understanding your audience, what matters to them, and the art of meeting them where they are at in their customer journey

PUBLISHED: 8/22/2023

Considering today's highly fractionalized digital marketplace, omnichannel marketing has become a crucial strategy for organizations to reach their target audience across multiple channels. Yet, simply being present on multiple platforms is not enough to capture the attention of consumers.

To stand out from the crowd, organizations need to develop creative and engaging content that resonates with their audience. Creative content can take various forms, including videos, graphics, social media posts, blog articles, and more. By producing high-quality content that is relevant, valuable, and capable of weaving a coherent, captivating, and unencumbered narrative to an audience, organizations can increase awareness around their offerings, build trust and loyalty with their customers, and ultimately drive conversions. In this context, the importance of creative content in omnichannel marketing cannot be overstated, as it possesses the power to make or break success in today's ever-changing consumer landscape.

Conversion requires a delicate balance of cohesion, cadence, and creativity in content

The art of crafting content that is cogent, alluring, and connected is as difficult as ever, particularly when one considers the sea of competing interests vying for consumers’ attention and money. With that, the demand for more personalized and smarter customer experiences is as high as ever, pushing brands to place even more emphasis on creating systems that not only bring customers to the sales funnel, but keep them moving through it.

Within an omnichannel ecosystem, the role of creative content is fundamental to keeping members of a target audience tethered to their customer journey. However, brand communications can go awry when there’s a lack of governance over content creation and strategy.

"Governance is one of the biggest challenges that organizations face when trying to develop omnichannel content,” says Sheri McLeish, Director of Content Strategy at MERGE. “Brands are often relying on a variety of partners - either agency partners, or in-house, or some other resources - that aren't connected. If they're not communicating effectively and there is not a clear process for who's doing what and when, there can be a disconnect in the connection with your audience. For sequential messaging to be successful, we need to know who the audience is, what the messaging at that touchpoint should be and what the overall flow of the content needs to be across their journey.”

To combat these potential disconnects, McLeish points out that it’s important to have a governance body that owns the content creation process and that not only helps align the business goals with the consumer needs along the journey, but also takes initiative when it comes to formulating a process for future requests for content.

“A lot of organizations that we work with can be reactionary to the types of requests that they're getting from the field or other stakeholders that want new content,” says McLeish. “It's about establishing program goals and objectives, having a hands-on editorial team to weigh and filter incoming requests. Having a common evaluation criteria will ensure that the content is aligning to the goals and objectives of the program before activating it across your ecosystem.”

Determining the proper cadence for serving up content and communicating with target audiences can also prove to be a bit of a high-wire act. There’s a fine line between providing the right type and the right amount of correspondence and information to a customer to help them advance through the sales funnel, and overwhelming them with an onslaught of detached messaging.

"From a customer’s point of view, it’s so easy to get this wrong,” says Steve Lynch, EVP and Group Creative Director at MERGE. “And when you get it wrong and you burn one channel, you really burn them all. Let’s say, for example, a brand communicates to me in an email and they know something about me. Then, I receive some other communication from them and it doesn’t recognize what the initial communication was about. Customers have expectations that brands should know who they are and that they should be efficient in their communication with them."

"Every touchpoint should be advancing the communication, not repeating or bombarding customers with different messages. It should feel like forward motion."

The root of this seemingly gratuitous bombardment of customer email inboxes is, as McLeish suggests, born from almost a compulsion on the part of brands to produce content that they believe is informative. The issue, however, is that there tends to be an overabundance of content that is ultimately created, making it difficult to appropriately manage.

"The days of pushing out massive amounts of content in order to gain awareness are past,” says McLeish. “When you talk omnichannel, you need to be much more sophisticated with your communications in terms of the cadence and frequency of them, because too much communication can be a big turn off for customers."

While cohesion and cadence reside as two critical components of any content strategy within an omnichannel ecosystem, creativity can ultimately be the distinguishing characteristic that creates the most separation between a brand and its competition. Though difficult to pull off in practice, brands who embrace originality in their content and work to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach stand to reap the rewards.

"This is where a lot of brands fall flat with omnichannel,” says Denis O’Keefe, Executive Vice President and Group Creative Leader at MERGE. “You simply cannot be contextually relevant and deliver a consistent brand experience if you’re applying a cookie-cutter approach to content. That’s what makes it so hard to be successful. It takes a creative team who understands the customer, their journey, the brand, and knows how to show up in a way that's appropriate to the channel. When done well it creates a meaningful connection and overall experience for your target audiences, it just takes some forethought and process to do it well."


The complete omnichannel marketing series is below:

Part One: An Intro to Omnichannel Marketing
Part Two: Mastering the Art of Journey Mapping in Pharma
Part Three: Captivating Customers with Creative Content
Part Four: Making the Most Out Of Media Activation
Part Five: A Deep Dive On Data Capture and Analytics
Part Six: Keys to Supercharging Your CRM Program
Part Seven: Optimizing Your Omnichannel Strategy With Data and Look-alike Models