Omnichannel is best suited for all generations, CMO Council study says

Having both digital and physical platforms is an expectation from 91% of consumers. / Pointillist

Although the world may seem to be transforming into a wholly digital landscape, a study revealed that the most effective approach for customer engagement is an omnichannel one that builds relationships.

While research by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council in partnership with Pitney Bowes was intended to provide insight on the millennial and Gen Z consumer classes, more than 85% of 2,000 consumers surveyed said they preferred a brand to reach them from both physical and digital angles. This encompasses strategies from email and social media to in-person interactions.

Coverage across the mediums is an expected standard of which 91% of consumers deem critical – 29% want companies to be more on-demand and readily available for communication.

What the younger two generations consider to be particularly important to them is the social aspect. Both millennials and Gen Z get a significant amount of flack for being obsessed with their phones, creating what older generations consider something of a disconnect, but social is just the primary channel from which both parties can explore and consume information while also communicating with others.

Still, there is an intimacy and trust between brand and consumer that is craved across all generations, including Gen X, boomers and even the Silent Generation. In spite of a concern for privacy, most consumers are willing to sacrifice personal data for the sake of having their wants be better understood.

Another expectation is for brands to remember their consumers in the transition between channels. As much as 78% of boomers are turned off when they have to restart a conversation with a brand, which can lead them to consider discontinuing use of a product altogether.

This aspect of building up a rapport between brand and consumer comes also through interactivity. In order to manifest personalization, customers want to be able to give their own input, as can be accomplished through video. Of the surveyed, 48% wanted engaging videos that reflected the goods they are interested, while another 43% wanted to option in video to choose what information to view at their own disposal.

“It’s incredible to note how even the newest and most exciting of digital channels continue to evolve as consumer preference fully embraces the omnichannel opportunity,” said Jeff Winter, vice president of Marketing and Communications at Pitney Bowes. “Whether by traditional means of communication, or more modern means like video and chatbot, one constant remains: everyone wants to be treated as an individual and it is up to us to deliver on that promise.

“The amount of data and emerging technologies available today make this an attainable goal for our industry. But it’s those brands who embrace these capabilities that will stand out as leaders in the future.”

Liz Miller, senior vice president of marketing with the CMO Council, added: “We can’t afford to ignore or discount physical experiences by assuming digital is the only channel of engagement. Consumers are not focused on channel. They are focused on their own needs, requirements and preferences. The call to action is to meet them in their moments and not in ours.”

Omnichannel marketing appears to be an opportunity to be seized upon by many brands, as only 13% of consumers believe companies are reaching this potential and delivering on multiple platforms, especially as more studies show the importance of customer experience.

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