How to tie omnichannel data together

31 Jan 2022  |  by Joe Meade

11 min read

This blog has been written by Ella McDonald one of the FastStats Specialists at Adroit Data & Insight which are one of our partners. 

We have been partners for a number of years and Adroit Data & Insight are keen users of many aspects of the platform. Adroit also use the platform in the day-to-day activities for their clients as well as advocating the suite for client use. 

In a world of multiple touchpoints, marketing clutter and shortened attention spans, it has never been more important to deliver consistent marketing messages across all channels, both online and offline. Consumers receive hundreds of marketing messages a day, across a myriad of platforms, be it online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, In App, or Email or through offline channels such as Direct Mail or Telemarketing. Consumers are constantly seeing marketing communications across a mix of medias throughout their day-to-day life. With so much marketing noise, the process of getting through to your audience has become much harder, so how do you make sure that your brand is seen? Due to this high level of contact from different brands, consumers have become more selective with their engagement which can make it more difficult to get the message across to your audience effectively. This is where an approach like omnichannel marketing can help, by marrying all channels into one brand experience.

Multichannel vs. omnichannel marketing

Multichannel and omnichannel marketing are often used interchangeably, both being used to refer to marketing that is done across numerous different channels. While this is true of both approaches, there’s actually some crucial points that separate the two. 

While most brands do utilise multiple channels in their marketing strategy, with a multichannel approach, these tend to work in isolation, for example in a retail setting, a company may have a website and a brick and mortar shop, both are driving sales for the same brand but they aren’t necessarily connected. While this can be a great way of maximising the audience that is being reached, it can also mean that channels for the same brand are treated as separate organisations, competing rather than working together. This approach could also potentially lead to inconsistencies in message and a lack of continuity across the brand, with each channel operating separately from the rest. 

Omnichannel marketing still utilises multiple channels in its methodology but not in the same way as multichannel marketing does. Rather than each channel acting separately, it aims to create one overarching brand experience, bridging the gap between all channels and creating cohesion, both online and offline. The main difference, therefore, is that while omnichannel marketing is in itself a form of multichannel marketing, it doesn’t approach each channel as a separate entity in the same way that traditional multichannel marketing does, and, instead, sees each channel as a part of the whole, creating just one overall experience for the consumer.

With a goal to create a seamless and cohesive brand experience, omnichannel marketing looks at integrating branding and messaging across all channels to make for a more impactful journey for the consumer where each channel works in harmony with the others. Taking an omnichannel approach to deliver a consistent and clear message across both offline and online channels can give you a strategic advantage, by helping to cut through the noise and really hit home with your target customers. This approach helps to improve brand awareness, create a better customer relationship, and allow for a better overall consumer experience. By having a consistent presence across the channels that your audiences are using and tailoring the customer experience to them, you are able to set yourself apart from the competition. 

How to get started with your omnichannel approach

The key to a successful omnichannel approach is the use of data, not only to determine how to start this journey but also to inform the decisions as you move forward. For an omnichannel approach to be successful, you must first understand your audience. Who are they and what do they want from your brand? Omnichannel approaches are consumer-centric and focus on the needs of your customers. From looking at your consumer base, you can determine the right touch points to include, the way your customers interact and engage with your brand, and, ultimately, create an omnichannel tailor made customer experience. This data driven approach doesn’t just stop here though, and should be carried throughout the journey to keep decisions informed as well as using those insights to drive the customer journey. 

Challenges for omnichannel marketing

One of the biggest challenges for omnichannel marketing is with organisations trying to piece together information from various sources which can lead to losing critical data that could be vital to understanding consumer behaviour and being unable to accurately measure their successes. This can be a huge barrier to success for many. With increasing amounts of data comes increasing amounts of insight; without having the data easily accessible, valuable information can be lost. Having a platform that can integrate all this data together, as well as allow for detailed analysis, is crucial to the success of an omnichannel approach. To get the most from an omnichannel strategy, you need to have the technology to aggregate the data sources, seamlessly integrate channels and their channel specific data, and offer analytical power to make decisions based on actionable insight. With PeopleStage, Apteco’s marketing automation tool, as well as FastStats, their analytical powerhouse, it is easy to both implement an omnichannel strategy based on insight as well as use that data to inform the best course of action going forward. Without using data to determine the path, it is impossible to know whether the strategy you are using is moving in the right direction.

Another issue that often occurs with omnichannel marketing is the integration of the channels to allow for the journey to be implemented effectively. Integrating all these channels together can be a challenge. Omnichannel marketing requires the channels to work cohesively which can make for a particularly complex set up. For instance, if you wanted to integrate these channels into your own data platform, you would need to develop and maintain API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) for each platform that you intend to use. As well as this, you would need to also navigate the time consuming and frustrating process of getting these integrations white-listed which is a process not to be underestimated. 

That being said, Apteco marketing software takes the hard work away from developing your own integrations, making the entire process far simpler. This means you can achieve the integrated multi channel capability needed for an omnichannel strategy quickly and easily. Apteco’s integrations provide a two-way integration with the digital platforms, allowing marketing messages to be triggered automatically from the suite whilst also bringing back the interactions data, like engagement with a Facebook post or clicking through an email, into a pre-defined database structure. Not only does this mean that you can then trigger activity and communications based on these interactions but also perform in depth omnichannel data analytics to help optimise your contact journeys going forward. Being able to have all these channels available within one platform is key to making omnichannel marketing as smooth as possible.

Omnichannel attribution

In the world of omnichannel marketing, it is important to really understand what is driving the responses. With numerous touchpoints across multiple channels and multiple devices, it can be difficult to know how to attribute conversion. As a result of this multi-faceted approach, last click attribution or last touchpoint attribution doesn’t really cut it as this could be oversimplifying the process. The modern journey to conversion is anything but linear and accurately determining how each touchpoint leads to a response or a sale is paramount in understanding what is really driving behaviour. Omnichannel attribution looks to provide a view of all the elements that contribute to a consumer’s behaviour and the impact they have on the end result, taking into account that consumers will have numerous different touchpoints across a mix of medias before they convert. 

If we take the example of a charity Christmas appeal omnichannel journey, we can see how this may come into play. For the charity, the response might be a cash donation to an offline direct mail item which the charity supporter received through the post from their main Christmas appeal. The supporter received a direct mail and, subsequently, that is where the response came from, but should the direct mail item be receiving all the credit for the conversion? In other words, is it just this direct mail piece on its own that has driven the response from the supporter? What was the journey that this charity supporter took before they responded to the direct mail? A last touchpoint attribution approach would only credit the direct mail piece for the response, but it is important that we consider the entire journey that led to the cash donation rather than focusing solely on what it was that they responded to. 

If we look deeper at the responder’s journey, it may be that other channels also played a part in that journey to lead to that direct mail response. Did the supporter see Facebook served adverts prior to the direct mail item landing on their doorstep and what effect did they have? What about the impact of the warm-up email that the supporter opened and clicked through? What contribution did the Instagram targeted posts have on the supporter’s likelihood to respond? If we analysed the campaign by last click, we would perhaps assume that very few responses were driven by social media or digital activity as it may not have been where the majority of responses came from. In reality, the social media activity that the supporter saw and the email that they interacted with could have uplifted the response to the direct mail channel. Missing this vital piece of the puzzle means that we aren’t able to see the whole picture and, therefore, unable to implement the best marketing strategy. This difficulty in attribution can be daunting to think about; however, with a solid omnichannel attribution strategy, we can take a more holistic overview of the entire journey to understand the role each touchpoint had on the overall response.

By bringing all of a consumer’s interactions and responses into a single platform, you can follow a consumer’s journey through all channels to determine how a response was achieved. Having this information stored in one place makes this data far more accessible, meaning that analysis can take place quickly on the most recent data to produce effective and actionable insights in real time. As well as this, PeopleStage has the ability to implement A/B split testing within the platform, allowing for further investigation into what works best for your audience and how additional media is impacting overall responses. With this, we can drill into the data in a high level of detail, so that we can tease out the impact that each touchpoint had on overall response, helping to inform the contact strategy going forward. Using omnichannel data analytics through PeopleStage, as well as Apteco’s analytical tool FastStats, we can make sense of the data and explore the journey more in depth, to understand how each touchpoint affected response behaviour and how that information could lead to more responses in the future.

Omnichannel software

With omnichannel marketing, a marketing automation tool like Apteco’s PeopleStage platform is the best approach to implement this kind of strategy. PeopleStage will help to create a seamless experience across different channels and to allow for customers to move through at their own pace. This kind of automation means that audiences can be segmented, communications can be personalised and activity can be triggered by previous behaviour, without the need for manual intervention. This is the easiest way to give the best customer experience, with each journey able to be unique to the customer. 

Omnichannel software needs to offer a unified platform that contains the tools that are necessary for successfully running this kind of journey, meaning an integrated platform for all channels. There are a lot of platforms available which claim to enable this kind of omnichannel marketing; however, what gives Apteco’s marketing platform the competitive edge in our opinion is its ability to truly integrate online and offline channels, which few other platforms are able to do as well. Being able to create journeys that span multiple channels means it is far easier to achieve that unified branding and consistent messaging for our consumers to interact with, creating a better brand identity and better customer experience overall. Apteco’s omnichannel software allows for this to be done seamlessly in a way that is fully integrated across all channels, online and offline. This maximises the potential touchpoints that a consumer could engage with throughout their journey while also minimising barriers within the software, not having to pull data from multiple sources, being able to set and adjust journeys in real time and being able to utilise online and offline channels on one platform.

Another key advantage to the Apteco platform is that it integrates the omnichannel automation engine (PeopleStage) with a best of breed insight and analytics tool (FastStats) to truly get into the detail of the data to drive insight into action. With all the data, such as interactions, engagement, and responses, flowing from PeopleStage into FastStats, a deeper understanding of the journey can be uncovered. This extra layer of analytical power is an invaluable resource to delve into the data and reveal the story behind customer behaviour to inform future decisions. Omnichannel analytics have to be agile to provide the intelligent marketing solutions and insights needed to improve the overall brand experience. Data is the driving force behind omnichannel journeys so to have the ability to not only see the report functions and data within PeopleStage itself but to also be able to have the FastStats suite of analytical tools to tap into the full potential of what the data has to offer is really useful as a brand. This can then be used to focus your marketing and optimise the relevance and value of the channels and messages reaching your audience. 

Omnichannel marketing fosters a cohesive brand identity, a unified customer experience and allows us to give customers the right message for them at the right time through the right channel. With this, we can acknowledge all touchpoints along the way while delivering a consistent message to improve engagement with the brand and get a better understanding of the journey consumers take to lead to conversion. Apteco takes what could be a challenging way to use multi channel marketing and, instead, gives us a fully integrated platform which allows for an omnichannel approach to be implemented quickly and easily. With the help of Apteco’s marketing software, we can not only create an omnichannel marketing strategy but also use the analytical features available in the software to generate reliable insight which allows us to make more informed decisions on the optimal journey for each consumer. The ability to link interactions back into PeopleStage from online channels means that journeys can be tailored to suit the consumer based on their previous behaviour, using their interactions to prompt activity as well as analysing those interactions deeper, both on PeopleStage itself and through FastStats, to determine the level of impact each touch point has had on response.

We hope you have enjoyed the blog and if you need any help implementing Apteco’s marketing software, Adroit Data & Insight will be happy to help. Contact Adroit here >

Joe Meade

Joe joined Apteco as Marketing Executive in 2021. Joe has several years' experience working in B2C and B2B marketing, and oversees Apteco's social media activity, email campaigns, website and monthly reporting. 

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