If one thing is clear, data is king when it comes to successfully implementing an omnichannel approach for your organization. In Part IV of our series on omnichannel marketing, we discussed the critical role that data plays specifically as it relates to media activation, as it can more or less instruct every facet of an organization’s engagement and measurement strategy.
Here in Part V of the series, we take the data discussion a step further, unpacking the “why” behind data capture, the strategy behind architecting a system that captures data, and the ways in which it informs and adds more sophistication throughout your omnichannel approach.
When it comes to data capture, start with the end in mind
For organizations seeking to install learning systems within their omnichannel strategy, knowing the data you have at your disposal, as well as the data you want to capture, serves as the starting point. This step can require teams to revisit the foundation of their approach to data capture and perhaps even rebuild parts of the existing system in order to ensure that every channel is speaking as close to the same language as possible.
“It’s never going to be perfect,” says Chad Seaver, Vice President and Client Service Leader at MERGE. “Every channel is a little bit different, but establishing those core dimensions that enable a clear cross-channel communication of data - from tactics, to campaign name, to stages of the funnel, etc. - can start the process of stitching together that omnichannel fabric you need to connect the dots in reporting and ultimately, attribution.”
To Seaver’s point, one of the biggest obstacles that organizations both big and small struggle with is the fact that many of them have different stakeholders that are separately managing owned, earned, and paid media channels, which can lend itself to gaps in tagging and overall communication which can disrupt the flow of data.
“[Many organizations] don’t have that central linchpin to ensure and instruct every channel as to what that minimum viable product is to establish an omnichannel system,” says Seaver. “In other words, the paid search person - for example - should be thinking about the overall engagement strategy and the KPIs we’ll be monitoring to judge success. From there, they should be baking them into the omnichannel strategy before focusing on how best to optimize that individual channel’s performance. Think of it as not only one big circle, but rather a collection of many smaller circles circling back on each other, connecting between email, display, paid search, and so forth, continuously iterating and improving to foster more compelling engagement with the customer across their journey.”
The end goal with omnichannel is to move from a more passive or reactive siloed channel approach to a system that is more active or ultimately, proactive. Data gives us the ability to attribute all of the different customer touch points across various platforms with the creative and messaging that’s driving the greatest engagement. Taking a systems view provides organizations with an opportunity to learn and gain efficiencies and ultimately build their own competitive advantage based on what is working best.
“Bringing the data together in the capture methods is something that has been a big change in the last few years,” says Jason Budelmann, Vice President and Analytics Leader at MERGE. “The omnichannel technology that exists today can be a great investment in enhancing an organization’s ability to learn efficiently and understand what is happening across mobile, web and CRM for example.”
“Propensity modeling and segmentation analysis are additional approaches that can unlock value prior to engaging in the omnichannel experience,” says Pat McGloin, Chief Client Officer at MERGE. “This level of analysis prior to activation provides organizations with a greater understanding of who their best potential customers are, how they should be marketed to and the optimal reach and frequency for conversion.”
Segmentation analysis and propensity modeling provide organizations with a strong record of data to build upon. Once the omnichannel approach is activated, they can help serve as benchmarks measuring effectiveness and ultimately helping to form a learning system that creates and maximizes growth.
“Once you begin to embrace an omnichannel approach with the right level of data capture,” says Budelmann, “it can be a stepping stone where you can add on and test different things as you go forward…all in an effort to provide consistent and sequential messaging to your target audience that ultimately leads them to conversion.”
Check out previous installments of our omnichannel marketing series below:
Part I: An Intro to Omnichannel Marketing
Part II: Mastering the Art of Journey Mapping in Pharma
Part III: Captivating Customers with Creative Content