There was a time, not too long ago, when the concept of "curation" applied to collections at museums. Today, lots of marketers talk about "curated content". Not because we have a passel of Picassos to sell, but because, much like a museum exhibition, we need to make sure our collection is relevant to our prospective audience.
"Omni-Channel" marketing--a buzzword that is making a comeback--is the way marketers are defining a very significant and evolving shift from mass, push-based marketing toward more personalized, or pull-based communication. Prospective customers "live" on an array of channels and devices, making the journey down the sales funnel exceedingly complex.
In this environment, earning the "sale" requires a vivid and holistic customer experience that is singularly focused on driving conversion. Each customer interaction needs personalization, relevance, and mobile optimization. It's this pressure, according to a recent study by Lewis PR, which has encouraged 84 percent of senior marketers worldwide to step up their multichannel strategies and to allocate the budget to execute.
Today's multi-channel marketing strategy requires deft choreography of five types of tools, or elements, of a "best-practices" approach. These include:
1. Marketing Automation
Marketing Automation is a requirement, not a luxury, with the need for consistent and pertinent customer nurturing in both B2B and B2C environments. HubSpot is a reasonably-priced, well-designed inbound marketing and sales SaaS suite that works well for small companies. Such tools allow us to attract the right customers with optimized content, turning traffic into leads. By no means is this a "set it and forget it" proposition, as explained in this Inc. com blog.
2. Leveraging Big Data
Leveraging big data insights by identifying influencers, personalization, and content that convert to leads and sales is crucial. ScribbleLive utilizes linguistic analysis and big data analytics to process millions of news items, blogs, and social media updates each day to identify influential opinions and actions and provide an in-depth view into the global conversation. By seeing what matters to our audience (and what doesn't), we are more likely to convert and sell.
3. Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is nearly a prerequisite when cutting through the clutter and competition. This year's trends include diversification across digital channels, with new offerings from Snapchat, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Kim Kaupe, co-founder of ZinePak, recently discussed with Inc. how paid advertising has become a much more immersive experience.
4. Visual Media
Our customers want visuals. Videos and images are present in every form of Omni-Channel Marketing, whether it's in a blog, an advertisement, a social media post, or a landing page. Visuals should be present on all channels, regardless of its kind, to engage and convert. A recent Inc. com blog spotlighted 11 companies that are shaping the future of digital video.
5. Conversion Optimization
How do we know if we're converting customers and making good use of our budget? If we want to produce revenue from the web or mobile, this side of the industry is stronger and more important than ever. Almost every content management and e-commerce platform embeds A/B features to test a message's effectiveness. Tools like Optimizely and Sitespect test across platforms, planning experiments that go beyond the single-device, single-channel strategy.
Keeping a keen eye on Omni-Channel Marketing is key to staying ahead of an ever-changing industry (and your competition). For the foreseeable future, applying the essential elements of multichannel marketing will help B2B and B2C businesses succeed in an increasingly inbound world.
Ameeta is Chief Marketing Officer at PlatformQ Health, a digital media company focusing on the healthcare sector. PlatformQ Health produces live, interactive, on-line engagement platforms in partnership with leading academic medical institutions and association partners. Ameeta is a Springboard alum and past chair of theMIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge.