Companies that excel at omnichannel deliver personalized, targeted, empowering customer experiences across every touchpoint and device. Here are three brands that get it right, and what every marketer can learn from them.  But first… what is omnichannel?

From phone to tablet, we live in an omnichannel world. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, we could be receiving targeted mail, personalized email, shoppable social ads, a physical flier from some guy on the street, a billboard on the commute home, shopping at a store while price checking on our phones… There are a million little ways every consumer interacts with marketing content all the time — and some estimates say we’re exposed to 5000 ads a day. Almost all of it is disjointed, impersonal, poorly targeted and fails to make an impact. Worse, a lot of it actively annoys the very people marketers are trying to reach.

If we’re awash in marketing messages all the time, barely notice most of them, and then get annoyed by the ones we do, how can any business build a positive brand relationship with its consumers?

The only truly viable marketing tactic is to create great omnichannel customer experiences. It’s not the marketing they remember, it’s how they feel while they’re engaging with your brand.

To deliver brand experiences that attract prospects, make customers feel loyal, and grow your business, you must do three things:

  1. Leverage everything you know about customers as individuals and your target audience as a whole.
  2. Apply those insights across all the channels you’re able to reach them in.
  3. Deliver a consistent series of positive, personalized, integrated brand experiences across all those touchpoints.

It’s not easy, but some of the most successful companies in the world have made a science of it over the past decade. Here are three brands that create amazing omnichannel customer experiences, and how you can leverage similar tactics to do the same thing in your target market.

Photo by Travis Gergen on Unsplash

1. Walt Disney World Makes Customer Relationship Magic

Yes, Disney is a mega-corporation with nigh unlimited resources. But you can’t talk about great omnichannel marketing without acknowledging the way Disney World delivers amazing omnichannel experiences. The resort destination empowers its customers across every channel while they’re planning one of its vacations.

The Walt Disney World omni-channel experience is the automated equivalent of white-glove concierge service. Customers move from booking on a great mobile-responsive website to planning the details of their trip on the My Disney Experience app to a top-notch resort stay that’s empowered by “magic band” wearable technology. The magic bands employ NFC tech that allows them to act as tickets, wallets, line-cut free passes and more.

Every step in the Disney World customer journey is personal and empowering. Disney recognizes its customers from the first touch to the last and uses everything it knows to deliver a consistent, ultra-convenient omnichannel experience. It all goes to make sure the experience of booking and taking a Disney vacation doesn’t turn your family into the Griswolds from “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”

The Omnichannel Customer Experience Lesson

Most businesses cannot reasonably give each customer a fancy Fitbit. What you can do is connect the dots and use what you know to deliver a white-glove concierge experience of your own that removes every source of frustration from the buyer’s journey. For every brand visitor — whether the “visit” happens on a website, phone or face-to-face — try to capture where they came from and what they did. What did they want? Use that data to make every subsequent experience with your brand easier and more magical.

Your CRM is not for “customer relationship management,” it’s for customer relationship magic, and it’d be a shame to use it for anything less.

2. Neiman Marcus: Identify and Personalize

For Neiman Marcus, identity crosses the retail-online threshold. In-store, interactive directories and “Memory Mirror” smart monitors allow customers to have a digitally enhanced fitting room experience. Meanwhile, the retailer’s app allows customers to take pictures of outfits in the world and use augmented reality to match them with similar looks from its catalog. This all helps create an award-winning omnichannel retail experience that empowers customers and removes frustrating barriers along the buyer journey.

But this isn’t just about retail. Neiman Marcus also leverages that information to personalize the e-commerce, email and direct mail experience of every customer. For example, if you come to the site and shop for a specific size, the system will begin defaulting to that size. Email and dynamically printed direct mail pieces will showcase items you looked at and tailor sales to user data. “identity is the core of personalization,” says VP of Customer Insight and Analytics Jeff Rosenfield, “and if you don’t get it right, you’re not talking to the entirety of that customer.”

The Omnichannel Customer Experience Lesson

Again, you may not be able to put magic mirrors in front of every customer, but identifying your visitors and serving them targeted omnichannel marketing across social networks, online ads, direct mail and email is within every business’s reach.

First, resolve the customer’s identity. Ideally, you should have a way for them to log-in on the website and a good reason they’d want to be logged in, such as a reward program or member discounts. This will let you collect opt-in data and put it to its best use. Then you can use cookies and user session data to note where they went and what they did on your website. Even if they came to a retail store, you can still note what they bought or what they asked your salespeople about and add it to a customer profile.

When that customer interacted with your brand, what did they do? Did they focus on one product category? One set of sizes? Are they moved by certain discounts or occasions?

Once you identify these kinds of user behaviors and cross-index them with demographic data, you have a very powerful predictive-marketing tool. Send follow-up emails about products in their favorite categories, ideally with discounts on the things they looked at most. Don’t blindly send the same mail piece to every address on your file. Instead, build customer segments based on their demographics and behavior with you. Then create targeted mailings for each segment that specifically targets those factors.

Again, this isn’t just for retailers. All these tactics apply to industries with more complex sales cycles as well. For example, lenders can make great use of omnichannel marketing strategies.

3. Bank of America Goes Mobile to Catch-up to Millennials

Sometimes omni-channel is less about building an integrated strategy and more about catching up in channels where you’ve lost ground. That’s where Bank of America found itself when millions of young Americans began opting to bank with “Neo-Banks” — Fintech start-ups offering cheap, mobile banking — instead of institutions like BofA.

While the banking industry had long recognized the need to engage the mobile-social generation, few were able to change quickly enough to do it. Many institutions offer mobile apps, but few of them allow access to the full slate of banking services. Bank of America empowers its customers to manage appointments, check balances, request new cards and pay bills in an award-winning customer experience.

The initiative goes even further, though, to the retail bank experience. BofA is going far to encourage retail customers to use their phones in retail branches, including adding wifi and charging stations. In addition, it’s experimenting with tellerless “robo-branches” to support mobile-banking users. These are small branches that allow customers to pop in and interact with a living remote teller who can help them take out loans and do anything else that would normally require a branch visit.

The Omnichannel Customer Experience Lesson

 Even if you can’t build a mobile app that accesses all your services — let alone a “robo” retail branch — that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore the massive mobile and social media audiences. Reaching customers on their platforms of choice and enabling them to interact with you when, where and how they want is the true heart of great omni-channel customer experiences. And no matter what industry you’re in, your target market is absolutely using these channels to communicate every day.

Whatever level of mobile service you can offer, whether it’s a full-fledged app or just a competently designed responsive website, you need to meet your audience on mobile devices and social media to get them to engage with you there. Enhance your customer list through a data-append program to unlock social media profiles, mobile device IDs and more ways to reach customers where they choose to engage. Even if you’re not mobile-first, you can be mobile-friendly and still have a huge impact on your customers’ experiences.

However you choose to engage your customers or fill the lead pipeline, Propelo can help. We specialize in omni-channel, data enhancement and lead generation. Contact us for your free consultation and see how we can help propel your ROI.

. MB Financial Makes Business Banking Local, Personal

The bigger and more institutional a brand looks, the harder it is to make a local, personal omni-channel impression. Few industries face this problem more than financial institutions — even the word “financial institution” sounds faceless and impersonal. So when 100-year-old MB Financial bank wanted to connect with small business banking customers on a more personal level, it had to get creative.

There are more than 430,000 small businesses in MB Financial’s home market of Chicago, where they had 86 local branches. However, MB was not connected to any of them. To these prospects, the bank was just another old, faceless institution. So MB Financial set out to put real people from those branches at the forefront of its  “MB Is Me” omni-channel campaign.

The campaign featured the real managers from these local branches in print, radio and digital media ads. These ads focused on four messages: That  MB Financial delivers the personal attention you want, the banking services you need, business advice you can use, and business connections you wouldn’t expect.

But those ads only set the omnichannel stage, the real conversion piece was a localized direct mail campaign that featured the local branch managers talking directly to the small business owners they served.

First, the bank used customer propensity models — like  response lift modeling — to identify a list of 30,000 likely small business leads based on demographic information and analysis of current customers. Then, they sent direct mail postcards to each of those small businesses from the manager of the closest branch.

The postcards were localized, with different versions printed for each branch’s business area. They featured professionally shot photos of the branch manager, a personal message, and an invitation to call their direct phone numbers. There was also an offer to get up to $550 in bonus cash for opening an account and/or line of credit.

The campaign was a big hit. The omni-channel media elements built trust in MB Financial’s ability and commitment to satisfy a small business’s banking needs. The direct mail piece served as the closer and generated a 205% increase in sales leads.

The Omnichannel Customer Experience Lesson

Every other brand we talked about was focused on building great omnichannel experience for customers. MB Financial shows the value of extending that thinking to lead generation and outbound marketing. It may feel like each email, mail piece or digital ad stands alone and performs up to its own merit, but that’s not the case, they all work together.

Every human being you reach is experiencing your brand as an omnichannel phenomenon. The campaigns they see on billboards or hear on the radio, etc., shape the reaction they will have to your online display ads, email, direct mail, and other conversion pieces. Every campaign you send is actually a part of the omnichannel prospect experience that leads to the omnichannel customer experience.

What MB Financial did that impressed us so much was tie those pieces together to build up to the localized direct marketing mail piece. It didn’t need to be personalized to the individual level, just versioned so every prospect business was able to personally connect with and recognize their local branch manager.

From public messaging to targeted engagement to a personal experience: That’s how omnichannel marketing changes the game.

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