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5 real-world examples of omnichannel marketing

The most successful marketing strategies reach customers where they are, on every available channel. Here, explore examples of omnichannel marketing strategies from real companies.

Modern consumers seek information on products and services from various sources and devices, so marketers need to reach customers and prospects on any channel.

Marketers can best accomplish this goal with an omnichannel marketing strategy -- an approach to provide consistent branding and messaging to a desired audience across multiple platforms, including both online and offline activities.

Explore five real-world omnichannel marketing examples that aimed to engage customers, promote brands and boost profits.

1. Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb, a global biopharmaceutical company, has four key elements in its omnichannel strategy, according to Ray Gomez, vice president of worldwide omnichannel capabilities at the company. Those elements are the following:

  • Inputs and strategy. What kind of data -- for example, first- or third-party data -- can the business access? The strategy should aggregate everything into a true record for the customer.
  • The decision engine. The business uses integrated data and advanced analytics to develop its strategy.
  • Designing the program. This involves content modularization -- dividing content into modules -- imagery content modularization and content tagging to see the effect of the campaign and its components.
  • Delivery. This can involve marketing automation, which can help publish content to the proper channels to meet the customers where they are.

Omnichannel marketing enabled Bristol Myers Squibb to gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, optimize its communication efforts and drive more effective and efficient campaigns.

"We have a disciplined approach where, along with our internal partner, we define our goals and create corresponding key performance indicators," Gomez said. "There are four phases to this approach: collect and measure, explore and understand, predict and model and, lastly, share and act."

2. Pollack Services Group

Pollack Services Group, a distributor of insurance products and consulting services, aims to create consistent and engaging strategies that enable consumers' journeys to start, continue and end across whatever channel they choose.

To fuel its omnichannel strategy, the company collects information about consumers when they buy products online. Then, it passes that data directly to a store associate if and when the consumer enters a brick-and-mortar store, according to Andrea Lorenzo, principal at Pollack Services Group.

The group aims to create personal and targeted communications tailored to individual needs and preferences throughout the customer journey, Lorenzo said. Then, it looks for gaps in these processes and develops solutions to address them.

For example, Pollack Services Group once worked with a consumer bank, which had call center agents who lacked key pieces of information about callers requesting help. The company brought added microservices -- for the different lines of business -- onto the agents' desktops to offer more visibility into the consumer and enable reps to answer questions more quickly.

"The most effective elements of our strategies have been overlaying the service blueprint, or the back-end systems, with the customer journey maps at each key journey step," Lorenzo said.

3. Parabolic

The omnichannel marketing example at Parabolic, a design studio that partners with companies to design digital experiences and launch new products, features a strategy that typically targets offsite media -- meaning digital, social, influencers, sampling and lifestyle events and optimized digital shelf content. It then pairs that media with a promotion, like a digital coupon or offer, and if possible, communication at point of purchase.

The strategy helps build brand awareness and long-term loyalty, as it helps communicate new deals or reasons to buy, according to Mary Tarczynski, principal and client solutions lead at Parabolic.

With its omnichannel strategy, Parabolic has seen a significant increase in customer engagement. The most effective campaigns are grounded in consumer insights, have a simple but unique message and remain consistent across all channels, Tarczynski said.

4. CMR Surgical

At CMR Surgical, much of the contact with prospects happened at surgical congresses, meaning there was a need to tie digital activity with in-person work, according to former global digital marketing lead Nelly Khumalo. The firm used a combination of QR codes, on-site sign-ins and a custom integration with Salesforce's Account Engagement tool -- previously Pardot -- to tie real-world activities to each lead.

Increasing personalization in this way can help customers take charge in their own consumer journeys, Khumalo said.

"If we find that a prospect or lead prefers phone calls or visits over emails, then that is how most of the contact with the business is conducted," Khumalo said.

To determine the strategy's success, the company set benchmarks to measure against. These include lead scoring and time from first contact to sale to determine the likelihood of sales from each lead.

5. Insights from a marketing veteran

As a marketing industry leader for 23 years, Jill Hart has worked on several omnichannel marketing campaigns and gained insights on what works best.

Overall, a successful strategy requires consistency across its materials, so no matter where the audience finds the brand, they get a clear message and unified experience, Hart said. When done well, omnichannel marketing should also answer the most important question for consumers: How can that brand, product or service help them or solve their problems? Clarity and consistency help eliminate the noise consumers are exposed to daily.

To determine the ROI of an omnichannel strategy, marketers can measure results through various KPIs, including click-through rates, online sales, downloads and social platform metrics.

"Marketing is always going to contain an element of experimentation," Hart said. "I don't believe in anything being 'ineffective.' If the results are good, keep going. If the results are bad, you learned what not to do."

David Weldon is a business and technology writer in the Boston area who covers topics related to data management, information security, healthcare technology, educational technology and workforce management.

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