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We’re all talking omnichannel experiences, but are you striking the right balance when it comes to data, insights and channels?

By Catherine Turner, Writer

September 26, 2019 | 5 min read

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The days of siloed media are over – or are they? Marketers are increasingly working towards omnichannel strategies, but many others are still afraid to upset legacy ways or means of working.

omnichannel advertising

How can the industry use technology to deliver more personalised experiences?

Others, too, fail to consider the nuances of measurement and attribution that a successful omnichannel strategy requires, drifting back towards a reliance on performance marketing and short-term upticks.

In The Connected Advertising Experiences Series, Adobe brought together experts from brand, agency and consultancy to explore how the industry can deliver, the more personalised experiences that customers demand – and how technology can sits at the heart of that process.

The event took place in London, on Thursday, 19 September, chaired by The Drum editor Stephen Lepitak. Panellists included Lavinea Morris, senior director, planning at M&C Saatchi Performance; Katharine Baker, senior manager of brand and marketing communications, EDF Energy; Toccara Baker, senior product marketing manager, EMEA, Adobe; and Charles Ping, founder of Charles Ping Associates.

Smart insights

Omnichannel is difficult, said EDF Energy’s Baker: “It’s not about gaining data but how you bring it together into meaningful insights and a strategy – that’s the biggest challenge.”

Morris said part of the problem was that at both brand and agency level different people were still doing different things with their own data. “We’ve fractioned it all up so much, how do you now bring it back together?” she asked.

For Ping, it was important to differentiate between omnichannel and multichannel, with the key to the former being able to observe in one channel, execute in another – and in real time in order to deliver customer-centric strategies and better business outcomes.

Omnichannel and the legacy systems

However, according to Morris, a common failing is in understanding that each channel should be looked at and measured in its own way – the values are different. “[Yet] some brands are looking at that bottom line number each channel is generating and the next thing you know the omnichannel strategy is being cut. Display goes, audio goes and you’re left with just search – literally the thing you wanted to avoid.”

EDF Energy’s Baker urged marketers to step outside their comfort zone, recalling an omnichannel campaign trial that had a dedicated team behind it. “When we started out we were overly reliant on what we knew, which was emailing our own customers,” she said, adding that they took away vital learnings and best-practice from the trial. “Being over-reliant on one channel is a real watch-out. It may be what you know, it may be your comfort zone but not being afraid to go into new territories is important.”

Adobe’s Baker agreed with both, saying a lot of brands set out to do “omnichannel” but drove “straight towards performance and, essentially, search”. She said: “The other piece we’re seeing in helping with attribution and measurement is that there’s a lot of resistance to the way teams are actually working. The main issue is fear - that your legacy way of working is being outed but that mindset needs to shift. It’s just changing and transforming with new tools and becoming smarter and stronger.”

Instead, true omnichannel execution requires technology that is able to stitch together silos where possible, a transformation of teams and their KPIs, and a business that allows for a test and learn culture that isn’t afraid to fail throughout the journey towards a CX-focused business.

Earlier Ping had delivered keynote ‘The Importance of Privacy’, outlining the dangers of collecting unnecessary data and a complacency in using it. His speech urged marketers and publishers to reconsider their privacy and data approaches, warning that parts of the industry were ‘hanging around the last-chance saloon’.

“It’s clear both from history and looking at the overall global regulatory trajectory, that the brands and their partners who are clear with consumers, who embrace privacy, who provide fair, clear and balanced notices and provide simple controls will be the ones who succeed,” concluded Ping. “The future has no space for participants whether, brands publishers or tech providers, who rely on relative invisibility as part of their business model.”

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