A primer to Omnichannel
Customer experience in B2B has transformed in the last decade. The seemingly complex amalgam of technology, buying behaviors, and solutions has altered the process from a linear progression to a multiplex of channels and customer touchpoints.
But this poses a challenge for today’s marketer.
Until very recently, marketing tactics and channels have been used for specific point-based interactions en masse: one channel and one message at a time – scaled across all buyers. Interactions that live independent of one another in a customer experience.
As a result, today’s marketing teams find it challenging to string these disparate interactions together to support and promote positive customer experiences. The experiences that ultimately convert the best opportunities into the biggest deals.
When it comes to building a consistent and complete experience, marketing is at a serious disadvantage. Omnichannel Marketing is more than a buzzword. It’s a new way of organizational thinking that makes you customer-focused in an effort to deliver the right message on the right channel at the right time.
This customer-centric approach will enable your marketing team to impact revenue growth while maintaining a seamless customer experience. Omnichannel Marketing doesn’t need you to reinvent the wheel. It’s just the next step in the natural progression of modern B2B marketing – marrying buying behavior with brand experience.
We’ve seen Omnichannel Marketing in action across a wide range of companies and we’re convinced that marketing teams need to move to a customer-centric model.
Macro Macro trends driving Omnichannel Marketing
Marketing teams today work towards helping prospects progress to a buying decision – creating new interactions based on past behavior (either their own or based on similar prospects).
But in many instances, each buying interaction is simply one part of the customer journey – one message on one single channel at any given time. As a result, in most B2B buying cycles, these journeys comprise of fragmented point-based interactions – a stark contrast to the multiplex of channels and touchpoints that lead to a favorable decision.
That’s why B2B companies have found it difficult (and often times failed) to deliver truly personalized, valuable engagement across the customer lifecycle.
“Technology and economic forces have changed market and buyer dynamics forever. Only companies that focus on customer needs, wants, and motivations ahead of all other business imperatives will win in this new digital era.”
Source: Make Your B2B Marketing Thrive In The Age Of The Customer, July, 2016, Forrester
The simple fact is: customers expect a seamless, unified experience with consistent messaging regardless of where they are.
Buyers no longer want a piece-meal experience – they need all the information consistently delivered at the right time and manner. That’s why leading analyst firms like Forrester have found that B2B marketers need to become ‘customer-obsessed’. Why is this relevant for Omnichannel?
Because an Omnichannel approach helps B2B marketers connect with their buyers and become ‘customer obsessed’. By obsessing over every detail of their brand experience, from issue discovery to long-term engagement, and by addressing any issues they uncover quickly and any opportunities proactively.
Before we dive into defining Omnichannel and understanding how B2B marketers can leverage it, let’s look at some of the macro trends that led to its rise. There are primarily 3 major reasons for the rise of Omnichannel.
1. Technology became robust
One of the major drivers that has transformed the B2B space has been the rapid rise in technology. And with it, the capabilities of tech.
Today’s marketing teams have to account for three key technology factors before targeting buyers:
- Technologies that buyers have and use often
- Ways in which buyers interact with brands across these platforms
- Approach brands can take when running campaigns and measuring engagement
By accounting for all these factors, B2B marketers can ensure that prospects and customers are able to interact with brands easily and in the channel of their choice.
2. Buying journey’s evolved
Historically buyers had much more linear journeys. They had limited options to learn about a brand or offering and often had to connect directly with sales teams to find more information.
Buyers today expect all the relevant information readily available at their fingertips. For marketers this means focusing on:
- Channel the buyer is most active on
- Stage of the buyer’s journey they’re currently in
- Offer that will be relevant and resonate with buyers
The right offer on the right channel at the right time defines success for the modern B2B marketing teams
3. Customer behavior changed
Lastly, the way customers behave has changed drastically. The combination of more robust technology and complex buying journeys has resulted in a need for flexible buying options.
As Forrester highlights in their report – The Case For Omnichannel B2B – companies must offer a spectrum of buying options. This can range from:
- Self-service: Online-centric buying solution for easily researchable purchases
- Full-service: Offline-centric buying solution for complex transactions
- Hybrid: Omnichannel-centric buying solution that combines self-service and full-service elements
Catering to B2B buyers’ needs by providing them with a spectrum of buying
options ensures positive experience & results.
The B2B Marketer’s Definitive Guide to Omnichannel
Do you want everything a B2B marketer needs to know about Omnichannel Marketing? That’s exactly what you’ll get inside this in-depth guide. Download now to learn how forward thinking B2B marketers are finally making Omnichannel Marketing a reality.Get My Copy
Omnichannel Marketing defined
Omnichannel has long been a buzzword with multiple definitions floating around to describe the approach. Here’s how we define it:
“Omnichannel Marketing is a strategic approach that combines consistent messaging across multiple channels with data & insights from customer behavior to deliver a unified and seamless experience to your best prospects and customers.”
Sounds buzzworthy, but let’s breakdown what it actually means:
- Strategic: It’s not just a tactic (like multi-channel), but rather a business strategy combining people, processes, and technologies.
- Consistent messaging: The same offer aligned across different channels with tailored to the buying journey.
- Customer behavior: Built on a customer-centric model; driving value for customers is key
- Seamless: Deliver a seamless experience no matter the channel.