The 10 Most Shared Omni-channel Marketing Articles of July 2015

August 10, 2015 - Ensighten

Welcome to our weekly round-up of the best articles on varied topics in marketing technology, including MarTech, Mobile Marketing, Omni-channel Marketing and Big Data.

Enjoy our recap of July’s most influential articles on omni-chanel marketing below. Curious how we selected these top contenders? It’s a blend of art and science, leveraging data from BuzzSumo, Nuzzel and ScribbleLive. Review our previous analytics article roundups here.

1) Real-Time Personalization Affects the Bottom Line by eMarketer (@emarketer)
Marketers are responding to consumer demand for personalization through real-time efforts. April 2015 polling by Researchscape for Evergage found that 58% of marketers worldwide used real-time personalization—defined as data-driven personalization completed in less than 1 second. Among the 42% not using it, nearly eight in 10 intended to do so within the next year.

Types of Personalized Web Messages/Content Used by Marketers Worldwide, April 2015 (% of respondents)
Image Credit: emarketer

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2) Top 100 Retailers 2015 | It’s no longer bricks-and-mortar versus e-commerce — omnichannel is the path to success by David P. Schulz (@ProfDSchultz) - National Retail Federation
Consumers have myriad ways to shop, and retailers are scrambling to keep up with them.

As measured by STORES’ annual Top 100 Retailers report, compiled by Kantar Retail, the evolution of the retail industry displays the fitness and survival skills of some long-time inhabitants. For the most part, chart-topping stalwarts — Wal-Mart, Kroger, Costco, The Home Depot, Target, Walgreen and CVS — have maintained dominance through an ability to meet consumers’ changing desires, including their appetites for online shopping and digital interaction.

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3) Are You Ready to Give Your Customers an Omni-Channel Experience? by Elias Parker (@eliasparker) - UX Magazine
Whether we admit it or not, today’s customer experience is all about omni-channel. People are reaching out to companies on the phone, via text message, through emails and webforms—you name it, someone’s using it. When customers reach out to customer service, they most often usethree or more channels, and most businesses offer multiple service channels to answer customer questions.

But an omni-channel experience isn’t just about having multiple channels: it’s about making sure those channels all work together. The idea behind omni-channel is that it all the service channels are connected, integrated, and consistent. When customers call your company, they don’t view your support channels separately; to them, everything is managed as a whole, not a bunch of different departments. And they’re not wrong to view the customer experience this way—91% of customers want to pick up where they left off when they switch between channels.

Image Credit: UX Magazine

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4) The Omni-Channel Moment in Bank Marketing Has Arrived by Stephen Drees, (@Acxiom) - The Financial Brand
The last of the Millennial generation are in high school. Most have already graduated and are in the workforce as young adults. This is the largest generation in history with 85 million people (vs. Gen X with 50 million people and Baby Boomers with 75 million people). While there are some decidedly different channel usage patterns among these three generations — particularly the older half of the Baby Boom — what is clear is the Millennials are pushing brands to engage them where they are, which is everywhere… all the time.

Millennials are more digitally inclined and demanding than prior generations, but what’s also true is they pressure brands to deliver more integrated online/offline customer experiences. And now Gen X’ers and Boomers want it too. To varying degrees, most consumers now expect a coherent customer experience — from the initial touchpoint, trial, sale, usage and ongoing brand interactions. Delivering a seamless experience is no longer a “nice to have,” it’s a “must do.”

Image Credit: The Financial Brand

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5) Traditional retailers crush ecommerce giants in omnichannel shopping by Chantal Tode (@MCommerceDaily) - Mobile Commerce Daily
Ecommerce retailers such as Amazon and eBay are doubling down on mobile-driven omni-channel shopping experiences, but struggle to deliver the same level of convenience that traditional retailers can harness and which smartphone-equipped shoppers are demanding.

For years, traditional retailers took a drubbing at the hands of ecommerce pure-plays as online shopping grew, providing efficiencies that helped keep prices low. However, with the growth in mobile, the scales are evening out – and even tipping back in favor of retailers – as shopper interest grows in being able to shop anywhere, anytime, from a device of choice.

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6) Why Marketers Haven't Mastered Multichannel by eMarketer (@emarketer)
In a June 2015 study by Lewis PR, 84% of senior marketers worldwide said multichannel marketing was a key focus of their current marketing strategy, and the same percentage intended to increase marketing spending on such campaigns in the coming year. However, marketers may not be getting the support they need to actually implement such efforts, despite recognition from upper levels—86% of respondents said senior leaders at their organizations endorsed multichannel marketing, and 25% were using it because of pressure from the board.

When asked about the biggest challenges to multichannel marketing, nearly a quarter of respondents said they lacked the time and resources to develop and execute multichannel campaigns, and the same percentage struggled to get buy-in at the board level. Similarly, other issues related to a lack of investment in tools needed to manage multichannel campaigns as well as a limited understanding about the process as a whole.

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7) 80% of consumers have updated their privacy settings, and other barriers to personalization by Stewart Rogers (@TheRealSJR) - VentureBeat
We know that using personalization in marketing works, and we are fast heading toward a future where hyper-personalization will become the norm.

But those who wish to reach the utopia of “one-to-one marketing” have a number of hurdles to leap, one of which is a key finding in my latestState of Marketing Technology report, released today on VB Insight.

Image Credit: Stewart Rogers/VB Insight

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8) A New Cross-Channel Frontier: Attribution by Roger Juntilla (@SkiGraniteChief) - Marketing Land
As an industry, we have the desire to achieve total attribution — a perfectly detailed understanding of how all media in our cross-channel mix are performing. But despite our aspiration and progress, the path to full visibility is generally considered a few years out. And in many ways, we are still trying to figure out how to get there.

Image Credit: Marketing Land

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9) Marketers Stuck on Basic Data for Personalization by eMarketer (@emarketer)
Marketers continue to increase focus—and dollars—onpersonalization, but recent research suggests they’re still stuck on the basics. In an April 2015 study by Researchscape for Evergage, 49% of marketers worldwide expected to increase their spending on personalization this year, vs. just 8% who intended to decrease budgets. However, based on a June 2015 study by VB Insight, marketers rely on beginner metrics when it comes to such efforts.

When asked about the types of personal/identity-related data used for personalization purposes, marketers were most likely to cite the basics, such as email address (57%), name (45%), location (41%) and demographics (40%). More advanced figures, such as location-related data (18%), lifestyle details (15%) and psychographics (8%), were far less common.

Types of Personal/Identity-Related Data Used for Personalization Purposes According to Marketers Worldwide, June 2015 (% of respondents)
Image Credit: emarketer

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10) Consumers want privacy ... yet demand personalization by Andrew Jones (@andrewjns) - VentureBeat
Consumers want more personalized messages … but also increased data privacy. Those seemingly paradoxical findings come from Gigya’s 2015 State of Consumer Privacy & Personalization report, published today.

The two trends are not new, yet continue to be at odds with one another: Personalization requires customer insight, while increased data privacy would seek to limit the availability and accessibility of customer data.

The new research from Gigya, a customer identity management provider, found that 96 percent of American consumers are concerned about data privacy.

Image Credit: VentureBeat/Gigya

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Previous RoundUps

June 2015

1) The right data management platform for an omni-channel view of your customers by Mayur Gupta (@inspiremartech) VentureBeat
Big data has been getting a lot of attention for the past few years, but companies also need good ways to solve “smaller” data problems.

One small-data problem is “data fragmentation,” where you collect data on your customer on various different devices but have no way to merge all of that data into one, single view. This blocks you from delivering an omni-channel customer experience — or even getting anywhere close to it.

Simply put, data is the wiring that connects and stitches together the consumer journey; it is the only piece of the puzzle that allows brands and marketers to pick up engagement from where they left off with the customer, especially as she hops across multiple channels and touch points. So fragmentation across data, marketing technology, and organizational structures is one of marketing’s biggest challenges.

Image Credit: Jasminko Ibrakovic/Shutterstock

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2) 4 Keys to Personalization in an Omnichannel World by Pelin Thorogood (@pelint) – ClickZ
When done right, omnichannel marketing has the potential to not only increase brand loyalty and customer lifecycle value, but also to build trust. If the personalized experience consumers receive outweighs privacy concerns they may have, they will become more willing to share their data with you. And the rewards for the brands will be big. According to Forrester, 60 percent of consumers interact with brands they like across multiple channels. Forrester also forecasts that cross-channel sales will account for 50 percent of all U.S. retail by 2018.

Interested? This article shows the four things marketers need in order to use omni-channel data to connect one-to-one with customers:

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3) 5 Elements of Omni-Channel User Experiences by Danny Bluestone (@danny_bluestone) – UX Mag
Two years ago, Forbes declared the future of digital commerce as omni-channel. If you have a website and a customer service phone line, you are already a multi-channel business. But what is omni-channel, as opposed to cross-channel, and what implications does it have on your UX strategy?

Cross-channel experiences describe customers who use different channels for engagement with a product or service. Omni-channel extends cross-channel engagements so the experience ‘loops’ continuously across channels in-line with the customer’s motivation and habits. With Omni-channel experiences, the customer may use multiple channels at the same time.

The need for omni-channel UX has arisen because connected consumers are now interacting with brands in evermore varied and unpredictable ways, often transitioning between channels throughout a single purchase and throughout the product or service lifecycle relationship with the brand. Offering multiple channels for users to interact with your business isn't enough. You need to put them at the center of a seamless omni-channel ecosystem.

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4) The (old fashioned) Secret Ingredient for Omni-Channel Success by Joseph Ballard (@jballard_tweets) The Future of Commerce Blog
We are all familiar now with the principles of the omni-channel business model: today’s customers demand seamless experiences centered on their needs, meaning that brands and businesses need to reinvent their processes and offerings to keep up.

The word “seamless” is key to all of this. Offering a joined-up and frictionless experience is seen as the critical ingredient for delighting and retaining customers.It is assumed that software and technology must be the answer. After all: it’s technology that’s driving the change in customer habits and expectations, and so technology must be the solution, right? Actually, flashy new tech and software is only part of the solution. The key to seamless success lies in that good, old-fashioned asset we call “people.”

That’s right, it’s your people – your employees – who will make or break your shift into omni-channel operations.

people backlit image
Image Credit: The Future of Commerce

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5) What Customers Want From Their Omni-Channel Experience by Michael Karg (@Karg_Michael– MinuteHack

The days of the all-powerful retailer are well and truly over. No longer can retail brands determine when we shop, where we shop or how we shop. To a large extent, even how much we pay digital technology, which allows us to choose exact delivery slots, surf the aisles in the middle of the night and check comparison sites for the best prices.

Technology has created a much more ferociously competitive buying battleground where retailers are not just competing with the store down the road, but also every store online, whether it is a big brand, a small niche outfit or a digital pure play.

Today, the most successful retailers are not omnipotent; they are omni-channel. The power has shifted to the consumer, who is now firmly ensconced in the driving seat, with an insatiable appetite for retail to be faster, cheaper and better.

Image Credit: Minute Hack

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6) 7 Inspiring Examples of Omni-Channel User Experience by Aaron Agius (@IAmAaronAgius) – HubSpot
The more technology advances, the more it's integrated into our daily lives. Even as you read this article, I’d venture a guess that you have several internet-connected devices within arm’s reach.

As we continue down these innovative pathways, we’ll continue to see technology become more important to our day-to-day living. The lines between what we do online and in real life will begin to blur.

And as people change their behaviors, marketers will need to react. Instead of thinking of a desktop experience, a mobile experience, a tablet experience, and a Apple Watch experience, we'll need to pursue one, holistic approach -- an omni-channel experience.

Image Credit: HubSpot

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7) The Future Is Personalized by Tessa Wegert (@TessaWegert) – ClickZ
Move over, content: In digital marketing, personalization is king. Now more than ever, consumers expect personalization from brands. In response to a survey on online shopping behavior conducted by IBM, nearly 50 percent of consumers said they want personalized promotions online.

"Retailers may not be doing enough to meet consumer expectations shaped by digital experiences outside of retail," IBM concluded. Indeed, digital marketers are demonstrating a devotion to experimenting with personalized messaging in multiple forms. A recent survey of VentureBeat readers revealed that while marketers are most likely to incorporate personalization into email, they're also personalizing social media interactions, owned media properties, display ads, and mobile messaging. Let's take a look at some of the tactics, formats, and channels they're using to create a more meaningful consumer connection.

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8) Walmart CEO outlines omnichannel retail strategy to shareholders, associates by Natalie Gagliordi (@NatalieNoell) ZDNet
Discount retail chain Walmart held its annual shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Friday, where CEO Doug McMillon took advantage of the soapbox moment to preach the importance of technology.

"I want us to stop talking about digital and physical retail as if they're two separate things. The customer doesn't think of it that way, and we can't either," McMillon said to the some 14,000 meeting attendees.

McMillon's message boils down to one word: Omnichannel. It's a common goal across the retail industry, but McMillon made it a point to drill down on its necessity.

Image Credit: ZD Net

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9) Creepy or Cool? What Consumers Think About The Store of the Future by Linda Bustos (@GetElastic) GetElastic

The “Store of the Future” combines in-store tech with the 5 forces of context — mobile, social media, data, sensors and location to provide rich, hyper-personalized shopping experiences.

But are consumers ready for it?

RichRelevance recently polled 1000 US consumers for their Creepy or Cool study, gauging consumer attitudes towards a variety of in-store digital tactics. The full story shares the findings:

Creepy vs. Cool Digital Tech Infographic
Image Credit: GetElastic

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10) Privacy vs. Personalization – Building Trust in a Digital World by Ben Rossi (@BenRoss89) – Information Age

It’s no longer just smartphones giving away a user’s location – connected cars, work safety equipment and wearable technology are all collecting information. But what is the right reaction to this level of tracking?

Internet shoppers have become accustomed to the idea that what they see when they visit is quite different to what others see, based on their respective interests, search history and past purchases.

Personalisation, which started 20 years ago with simple web browsers, is migrating to the physical world. From phones and tablets to connected cars, smart homes and connected medical devices, people are giving out information like never before.

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Thanks for spending the time reading our monthly roundup of content in the Omni-channel Marketing space. Check back next month when we update this post.