Modern-day consumers can interact with brands at events, on websites, within mobile apps, inside physical stores, through social media, push notifications and more—not to mention through traditional mediums such as direct mail, print, TV and radio. Given the many ways consumers can interact with a brand, it has never been as crucial as it is today for brands to leverage omnichannel marketing to their advantage or ignore it at their peril.

Omnichannel marketing is a strategy that leverages and sees all channels as one. An omni-channel marketing strategy focuses on the campaign and delivers a cohesive message across all the channels where your target audience is present. Taking an omnichannel approach forces marketers to place themselves in the shoes of their customers and can be the secret sauce for any inbound marketing campaign.

>In other words, omnichannel marketing seeks to create a unified experience for its target audience no matter what channel they engage the brand on or through.

Why is Marketing Automation So Important?

Over the last decade, consumer expectations have increased on what seems like an exponential scale, resulting in digital channels transforming and evolving to become even more personalized. No longer are consumers interested in transactional experiences (i.e., just buying a product), today audiences seek a customized connection and experience that goes along with that purchase.

The need for a customized experience has put an increasing amount of pressure on marketers to emphasize engaging the consumer at every step of their journey. A challenge that can be alleviated, streamlined, optimized and scaled with automation.

Marketing automation in 2019 and beyond holds the key to meeting the rising demands of consumers while affording brands the capability and reliability to effectively scale and foster growth.

1. Tracking the Lifecycle of a Lead Throughout its Journey

Any marketer knows not to underestimate the power of insightful, resourceful and actionable data. Without reliable information, marketing departments would be dead in the water, making uneducated guesses as to what decisions to make and what aspects of their campaigns to modify or optimize for the best results.

While data is mission critical, consumers don’t like being questioned or having to fill out surveys, limiting the opportunity for manual feedback. Automation, on the other hand, provides brands with the chance to capitalize on modern technology to track users’ behaviors and uncover a wealth of information about a particular lead throughout its journey with their brand.

This type of automated data collection can:

  • Tag a visitor with a unique ID
  • Help brands understand where the customer entered their journey
  • Help brands understand the path taken once the customer engaged with the brand
  • Uncover opportunities for personalization or optimization along the way
  • Discover bottlenecks in the journey
  • Clearly define “preferred” routes of interaction based on customer segments.

The consumer journey is evolving at a breakneck pace, not to mention simultaneously becoming increasingly complex. We live in a data-centric age where those brands and marketing departments that fail to adapt will get left behind.

2. Delivering Precise Dynamic Content When and Where it’s Needed

When we first began, we noted the broad range of marketing mediums and channels through which a prospective customer may engage with your brand. Take inventory in your mind of all the channels you currently pursue or wish to go after in the future. Now factor in how omnichannel marketing would play a role. Daunting to say the least.

Managing multiple channels and each having their own sets of marketing campaigns and creatives is difficult enough. Now, add in the requirement of a streamlined narrative, voice, and journey for the audience, and you could get overwhelmed quickly.

Content that can be dynamically delivered to a target audience through those channels and facilitated through automation is paramount to successful execution, especially at scale.

Why is dynamic content so critical to an omnichannel approach to marketing?

Dynamic content adapts based on the end-userwhether on your site, in your emails or present in your adverts. By doing so, you personalize each form of marketing to the experience of that single prospect.

For example, an ad or content on your site might vary depending on the referring site the viewer came from or based on interactions with the content such as clicks, known demographic data or some other lead scoring system.

Automation of dynamic content ensures the right message gets delivered to the right audience/visitor at the most opportune time, and in a way that is consistent and cohesive with your overall customer journey and campaign.

By doing so, dynamic content can address or work to overcome specific pain points, objections or concerns as they arise.

3. Lead Scoring and Prioritization of Sales Resources

A great deal of information gets revealed along a customer journey and their interaction with your content. Marketing automation allows you to capture, categorize, analyze and score this information to segment potential leads or customers into various “buckets” or personas that then get moved through other channels for nurturing or directly to your sales teams for closing deals.

These data-rich and insightful consumer profiles are leveraged to develop buyer avatars, provide marketing, service and sales departments with the information they need to personalize further sales, support and nurturing efforts.

By utilizing automation of this process, you can streamline efforts across multiple departments, allocating resources (sales reps for example) to those leads that will benefit both your brand and the prospect the most.

Imagine no more wasted time hunting down “tire kickers.” Imagine being able to automatically identify what a prospective customer needs to make the change from a “warm” lead with an objection to a “hot prospect” ready to take the next step with a sales call.

4. Progressive Profiling with Dynamic Fields

Your sales team is only as good as the leads you provide them. Up until recently, improving lead quality has been limited to compelling pre-landing page content, optimized lead gen forms and the marketing campaigns that drove the traffic to them in the first place.

Today, marketing automation brings with it an innovative approach to enhancing lead forms in a way that produces higher quality leads, effectively giving sales teams an advantage over their less-forward thinking competition. How do we do this? Progressive profiling.

Progressive profiling is a way to enhance lead forms without burdening a new lead with a ton of questions on their first visit to your site. Instead, your forms will display questions based off of the information you already have about that lead, making the questioning process seem less invasive. Progressive profiling enables you to create fewer forms and get more info from visitors, saving your team time and energy.

Something that only takes five simple steps to set up in SharpSpring can have an immediate positive effect on your lead gen efforts.

5. Coordinate Seamless Campaigns when Delivering the Journey

Those brands that have implemented automation in conjunction with omnichannel marketing strategies see an improvement in brand perception, engagement and loyalty. Today’s consumers demand exceptional experiences that can only be fostered and effectively delivered through communication and marketing synchronization across all channels.

However, synchronization and cohesiveness are becoming more complicated, with your target audience typically engaging with multiple “touch points” before becoming a customer.

For example, a prospect may conduct a Google search, check out your website and head over to your social media profile. In the process, they get distracted, but later that day they see a retargeting advert and click on that. The ad takes them to a landing page where they opt into a newsletter and receive an email sequence. In that sequence, they click on email #5 and eventually make it to your sales page where they convert to a buyer.

The above is just one of a virtually endless set of possibilities, which makes coordinating and delivering a seamless campaign that much more important.

Luckily for us, marketing automation and technology have made this endeavor more seamless than ever before, allowing brands to identify individual prospects, track their journey, and deliver dynamic content tailored to the channel and stage in which they entered their path.

Not only that, the narrative, tonality, messaging, beliefs, value propositions, unique positioning and more are all consistent, providing a unified message that builds trust and converts “shoppers” to buyers.

Closing Thoughts

No matter what industry you operate in, the chances are that competition is heating up, with brands both local and global vying for your customer base. Similarly, customers’ shopping behaviors and expectations have also evolved, demanding personalization, connection, and experiences, not just a transactional relationship.

Those companies and marketers who work to adapt and integrate omnichannel marketing into their mix stand the best chance at staying ahead of the competition and earning their place among the ranks of their niche. However, omnichannel marketing isn’t easy. It’s a resource-intensive endeavor with lots of moving parts, making it hard to plan, control, execute and scale without marketing automation.

Anthony Atkins