How Marketers Can Tap the Power of Omnichannel for Demand Gen Campaigns in the Year to Come
Omnichannel marketing is widely recognized for delivering strong results through unified data and a cohesive customer experience across channels. However, the benefits of omnichannel in demand gen campaigns aren’t as well understood.
This guide aims to explain those benefits and how marketers can realize them. We’ll define the core traits of omnichannel and how it differs from less sophisticated multichannel marketing, and we’ll review the baseline requirements to execute omnichannel successfully.
In addition, we’ll drill into the details and benefits of one omnichannel demand gen strategy, namely, executing campaigns that span email and display advertising.
We believe that insight into omnichannel demand gen will be beneficial to marketers as they develop their budgets and strategies for 2022, continue to evolve their prospect and customer outreach in the wake of COVID-19, and react to industry changes such as recent privacy updates made by Apple that have the potential to disrupt longstanding marketing practices.
Definition and Scope
Omnichannel marketing places primary focus on the customer by linking data from all points of customer contact (email, web, display ads, mobile app, voice, direct mail, physical store) in a CRM system or martech stack, enabling the customer to enjoy a personalized experience that is seamless between channels.
Here’s an example of an omnichannel campaign in action: a customer walks in the vicinity of a coffee shop that she frequents often. She receives a text-based offer for a discount in the shop, goes in, and uses the discount to buy coffee and breakfast. That’s an optimal blend of online (mobile) and offline (store) channels that drives store traffic and revenue while at the same time enhancing the customer experience. It also illustrates omnichannel’s ability to engage the customer and drive customer action in real-time.
Learn how marketers can tap the power of omnichannel for demand gen campaigns in the year to come in our latest ebook, “Omnichannel Demand Gen“.
Omnichannel has the potential to impact a wide range of B2B customers: 79% of business buyers and 67% of consumers use multiple channels to complete a single transaction, according to the State of the Connected Customer report from Salesforce. The better marketers can serve these customers, the better it is for their business in terms of:
- Revenue: A Harvard Business Review study found that customers who engage in omnichannel spend 10% more for online purchases than customers who engage in only a single channel. The average order value is 13% higher in omnichannel than in a single-channel engagement, according to Omnisend.
- Engagement: Customers who engage with three or more channels are 90% more likely to come back for another purchase, also according to Omnisend.
- Loyalty: Customer retention for omnichannel brands is 66%, compared to 35% for single-channel campaigns.
- Inventory control: An omnichannel strategy makes it easier for businesses to optimize stock levels because of its holistic view of customer activity, especially purchases.
Omnichannel differs significantly from its predecessor, multichannel marketing, which typically entails reaching out on several channels with the same message to reach as many prospects as possible. Customer engagements are siloed, so the website doesn’t recognize purchases made in a store or mobile app and can’t tailor experiences accordingly. This can result in style or tone-of-voice inconsistencies between channels, information gaps from one channel to the next, or customers frustrated by the need to use multiple channels if that’s not their preferred approach.
Case in Point: Outcomes Driven by Email, Display Ads
To this point, we’ve defined omnichannel and reviewed details on how it enhances marketing performance as well as the experience of prospects you are targeting. Now, we have what may be the most compelling argument in favor of omnichannel: results from several campaigns executed by HIPB2B that demonstrate the benefits of omnichannel in demand gen.
To provide some background, HIPB2B is a 12-year-old marketing agency that generates hundreds of thousands of leads annually for our customers. While we work in multiple channels and support diverse marketing campaigns, our core competency is demand gen executed through email. As such, we are constantly looking for – and testing – new ways to add value and insight (especially in the form of data on campaign respondents) for our customers.
In recent months, our testing process yielded a compelling use case for omnichannel demand gen: LinkedIn advertising that supplements lead-gen campaigns and delivers actionable engagement data within the filters our customers specify for their campaigns. We leverage our customers’ campaign messaging in ads to drive those who engage with the ad to the same landing page as their email campaign while collecting advertising engagement data and additive form completions.
With LinkedIn ads, advertisers can build a target audience using demographic qualifiers or upload a list of their own with, for example, company domains and email addresses. We have used the latter approach because our database is a core business asset, but we expect most marketers will choose native LinkedIn targeting.
By advertising to LinkedIn members, our customers can reach a new audience with minimal overlap versus their email-generated leads; both sets of responders meet the campaign’s criteria such as company size, professional title, and industry. This means our clients can secure a powerful blend of verified business card data and firmographics on leads, as well as data on those who engage with their ad.
From an ad campaign, a client receives an additive number of leads from form completions driven by the ad plus:
- Hundreds-of-thousands of ad impressions (think 500,000 per campaign)
- Ad clicks (we’ve seen 100 or more) that constitute actionable signs of early engagement
- Demographics on those who click their ads, including:
- Company name and size
- Job title/seniority and function/department
- Metro area
This is a rich body of data that customers can ingest into their martech stack along with their leads. They can then build retargeting or nurturing campaigns to reach responding companies, industries, and job titles. They can, alternatively, create LinkedIn InMail campaigns with a similar targeting approach.
For the prospect, unified messaging with a consistent brand voice should fuel recognition and future appointment, increasing the likelihood they will eventually convert in one of the brand’s campaigns.
While these email advertising campaigns are in their earliest days, we’re encouraged that marketers will strongly receive this form of omnichannel through the rest of this year and throughout 2022.
Requirements for Omnichannel Demand Gen
It is helpful, of course, to understand the benefits and use cases for omnichannel demand gen as detailed above. But if your brand is not an omnichannel practitioner today, you may be wondering what’s required to get there.
Robust customer data – in the form of a marketing database – is necessary for accessing a high volume of quality targets for your campaign. There are two options for providing this customer data: an in-house marketing database or a set of trusted partners with databases to be utilized for your campaigns.
You need platforms specific to each channel; the optimal example to use is email. As the most proven source for delivering personalized messages, with content tailored to recipients based on profile, activity, company size, geography, and more, email will be a staple of any omnichannel campaign. From a platform perspective, your email requirements include the ability to perform the types of segmentation. Success at email requires a robust marketing automation or email distribution platform; in some cases, it means working with an email service provider that can manage IP warming, deliverability, subscriptions, and more.
There are similarly robust systems needed for:
- content marketing/distribution and customer data capture on web and social media sites
- targeting, data capture, and customer responses for direct mail and voice channels
- engagement and transactions on mobile devices and in physical stores
The primary requirement is a martech stack that ingests and integrates data from these channel-specific systems on the back end. The key function of this stack is to unify outcomes for the customer, such as generating offers based on their activity and presenting complete data to the marketer both to analyze performance and drive ROI. The martech stack must include a unified analytics system that provides timely, insightful views of performance so a marketer can do more of what’s working well or adapt to low performance.
Some B2B marketers build, maintain, and optimize their martech stack. Others look to third parties such as Integrate, a HIPB2B partner whose cross-channel focus and robust marketing automation software effectively power omnichannel campaigns. Either way that martech stack must be in place to make omnichannel demand gen a reality.
The above systems cannot work without channel-specific expertise in the form of skilled marketers and marketing assets to deliver an optimized customer experience in each channel.
As another indicator of how vital the martech infrastructure is to omnichannel, recent research shows that marketers actively switch applications that lack the integration or data capabilities necessitated by omnichannel.
In total, 67% of marketers made a change last year. More than half of those who switch do so because of inadequate data centralization. Another 41% switch due to insufficient integration capabilities. And the highest percent of swapped systems represent the “core” of the martech stack, namely marketing automation, email distribution, and CRM systems.
This willingness to change only reinforces the importance of the technology underpinnings in omnichannel marketing success.
A Powerful New Option
Omnichannel has secured a prominent role in marketing campaigns aimed at awareness and thought leadership. But its core traits – cohesive UX and unified customer data in the martech stack – make it a compelling option for demand gen campaigns as well.
We believe those benefits will become increasingly evident in the year to come, broadening the scope of omnichannel and providing a potent option for marketers to expand their demand gen toolkit.