Omnichannel marketing is important to marketers in every industry today, but delivering a great customer experience across multiple channels is still a difficult proposition.
Today’s chart reveals the most difficult challenges marketers face when creating omnichannel customer journeys, and what you need to do to overcome them.
Omnichannel marketing is not just for retailers anymore. While the bricks-to-clicks journey is what first brought the word “omnichannel” to the marketing lexicon, today’s proliferating communication technologies mean customers for just about every brand are interacting with those brands through just about every channel.
In fact, according to a recent omnichannel marketing survey of Target Marketing readers, 74 percent of marketers said the omnichannel customer experience is important to their businesses, and more marketers in healthcare, travel, IT, financial services, and several other industries said it was important than retailers did.
But delivering a cohesive omnichannel customer experience is still a major challenge, and we wanted to know why. So, one of the questions asked was “What are the biggest challenges to your omnichannel strategy?” Respondents were then presented with a list of potential challenges and asked to rate those issues on a scale from “Not very challenging” (1) to “Extremely challenging” (5).
Here’s what they had to say:
Click on chart to enlarge
Omnichannel Customer Experiences Need Omnichannel Budgets
While the chart does not suggest that marketers are particularly overwhelmed by any specific element of omnichannel marketing, it does show that budgets are a major challenge, with an average score roughly 10 percent higher than any other answer. Survey respondents do not feel like they have the financial resources to do the omnichannel customer experience justice.
The research also turned up good news there, as most marketers reported that these budgets are increasing (you can see that data in the full report), but you have to wonder if it will be enough. The report also shows that those investments are largely going into new technologies and data, but not into hiring personnel with omnichannel skills or training existing marketers to do Omnichannel better.
The Skills Gap
The dearth of personnel with these skills is a significant issue — perhaps even more so than constricted budgets — because after budgets, the biggest challenges omnichannel marketers face are lack of cross-platform data and customer recognition, and lack of personnel with the necessary skills to make omnichannel a reality.
In another part of the survey, we asked what elements make an omnichannel experience good. It was an open-response question, so I don’t have a chart to show you from it, but the word “consistency” came up over and over again. For example, one answer said that what makes a good omnichannel experience is “access to purchase from multiple channels, consistency in branding and offering, access to customer service in all channels, user-friendly and intuitive interface.”
Beyond money, the real challenge is stitching this whole journey together. How do you recognize customers as they move across channels? How do you find personnel who know how to do that, and what to do with it? Can you manage, access and act on the data in real time across these channels?
Conclusion: The World’s Hardest Game of Connect The Dots
Delivering a great omnichannel customer experience is like playing the world’s hardest game of Connect the Dots. Only the dots are fleas: Each touchpoint is barely visible and hopping around like crazy.
The challenges we see in this chart directly hinder marketers’ ability to deliver those promises and create the positive omnichannel customer experience today’s customers need. To build those touches into a consistent, understandable and pleasant experience takes budget, tools and know-how.
If you do not have those pieces in place, it’s time to get them.
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