What does it take to make omnichannel marketing work?
Presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article published with permission from Knowledge@Wharton, the online research and business analysis journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
A new university study highlights three big challenges to making omnichannel marketing work: data access and integration, marketing attribution and consumer privacy protection.
The paper, “Informational Challenges in Omnichannel Marketing: Remedies and Future Research,” basically defines omnichannel marketing as ensuring all the information the customer is seeing across touchpoints work in conjunction and complement each other.
“Carrying that out is not that easy because you need to have a good sense of what the data is like — all the different touchpoints that the customer has had,” said Raghuram Iyengar, Wharton marketing professor and co-author, in an interview with Knowledge@Wharton.
The data access challenge relates to customer data often being significantly siloed largely because different departments are in charge of different parts of the journey. Silos could exist for political reasons, with some seeking to control key data that drives sales, or it could be that analysts just don’t know where the data is.
Eliminating silos is easier said than done and has to be led from the top. “Companies have to realize what is the value being added by some of those silos being taken away,” Prof. Iyengar said.
Machine learning and predictive analytics offer potential to overcome silo challenges, the study found.
Marketing attribution is about which part of this touchpoint (i.e., email, catalog, salesperson interaction) was responsible for influencing the purchase and to what degree. Among the simpler solutions is testing and learning such as observing the response of an email sent to customers versus a control group not receiving the email.
One attribution challenge is context, which continues to change. Prof. Iyengar said, “Especially in the last year or so, consumer behavior has changed. What was working the year before perhaps is not going to work today.”
Finally, customers may not want to provide the data to come up with a 360-degree view of their shopping journey. They’re also increasingly gaining more control of whether and how their data is used. The study found blockchain technology offering potential to keep track of what information firms are using and appropriately compensate consumers for using that information.
- How to Optimize Your Omnichannel Marketing Strategy – Knowledge@Wharton
- Informational Challenges in Omnichannel Marketing: Remedies and Future Research – Journal Of Marketing
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the biggest challenges for driving consistent interactions across the customer journey? Which of the three challenges cited in the article — data access, marketing attribution or data privacy — is the most challenging to overcome?