Standing Up a Successful Omnichannel Content Strategy Vis-à-vis Competing Organizational Priorities

When the Bank of Georgia (TBC) (Tbilisi, Georgia) sought to optimize its customer experience around the loan procurement process, they did so by tweaking business processes, optimizing systems and creating an approach that was built around the customer needs within each channel. Today, TBC customers can begin their loan origination process via a phone call and then finish it at an ATM, kiosk, or branch. Leveraging an omnichannel, customer-centric strategy has offered TBC the following results:

  • Increase in the loan approval rate by forty percent
  • Decrease in credit applications from one business day to fifteen minutes
  • Decrease in cost to originate a loan by fifty percent due to a decrease in manual review processes
  • Increase in automation processes from fifteen percent to ninety percent

To get these results and create a more seamless loan application process, TBC had to address fundamental changes within its organizational and business structures. They optimized the customer experience with the most timely and relevant content within each channel.

The success of an omnichannel strategy is often hampered by competing business priorities.  Clashing priorities are often reflected in the final product—especially within content—and can even prevent an omnichannel strategy from getting off the ground in the first place. One common error is a failure to align your people to the common priority of supporting the creation and rollout of an omnichannel customer experience, which usually results from a failure to address organizational considerations from the inception. Any one of the considerations listed below can threaten the success of an omnichannel strategy. The good news is that each area presents opportunities as well as risks. These four areas include:

  1. Shared vision – You want to ensure that all business units in your organization understand your vision for omnichannel and support that vision
  2. Cultural roadblocks – You want to identify these when crafting your strategy, so you can address them as you build it out
  3. Projects across the organization – Omnichannel is an ongoing strategy, you can’t have it going in and out of folk’s radar because of other efforts
  4. Roadmaps – The roadmap is your tool to address the other three considerations and speak to a unified approach

Aligning on a Shared Vision

A shared vision creates a unified and effective strategy. It considers input from all necessary stakeholders. A shared vision reflects each stakeholder’s perspective and addresses his or her competing priorities. To align on a vision:

  1. Start with a team that includes all stakeholders key to the creation of an omnichannel experience. Ask: What will it take for them all to act collaboratively, and what will get in the way of collaboration and alignment?
  2. Don’t just think about business strategy, look at what will create the most effective and best content experience. Ask: How do we think about content experience collectively, as opposed to a singular channel or business silo; leverage cross-channel customer journeys to create internal workflows and publishing processes.
  3. After your team is in place, start building that strategy. Remember, the components of an effective strategy offer a goal, objectives, target audiences, and channels. A good strategy asks and answers the following: What are we doing, for whom, why are we doing it, when and where are we doing it? (geography and channel) and, very important to include, how will we know it is successful?
  4. Don’t leave out governance as a core part of the ongoing evolution. Ask: Are key areas represented in governance leadership teams? Are there strong leaders who can impact adoption of a collaborative process?
  5. Build a performance model and ensure you can effectively gather and report on the right analytics: this is especially true for content. Ask: Can you measure content performance across business units?

To really build the alignment necessary to support a successful execution, ensure your stakeholder team represents all critical areas of an omnichannel content experience. These include:

  • Business strategy and customer experience
  • Content experience and performance
  • Organizational, operational and budget
  • Technology and systems

The image above represents the key organizational components that create an omnichannel content experience. Your stakeholder team should have members from all the disciplines reflected here (i.e., content, data, legal, etc.) and the strategy should account for each of these components. Remember that investment in additional resources may be required to create this complete team. As CMO Club has noted: “64% of marketers cite lack of resources and investment as their top barrier to omnichannel marketing.” Ensuring you have the right team in place at the beginning can prevent future issues.

Diffusing Cultural Roadblocks That May Get in the Way

Many cultural roadblocks can be avoided if participants achieve agreement on a common purpose and shared vision. But issues presented by organizational silos will persist, even if all necessary stakeholders are aligned and committed to an omnichannel vision. Take, for example, the following: If sales are incentivized per channel, such as a sale on the Web versus a sale in a store—there will be competing interests, regardless of how much alignment exists to get behind an omnichannel strategy.

Buy-in is critical from all stakeholders—who will then push the vision and strategy to their teams—if this is to be a priority, and not dismissed as the next fad. The omnichannel strategy must be understood as the new normal. This is especially true with the content creation teams within an organization, who will be challenged to produce even more content for an omnichannel content experience. To address roadblocks:

  • Have a strategy in place that is objective-based and ties your content performance to it.
  • Account for all your channels, their priorities and strengths, and the customer experience within each.
  • Ensure that your teams understand that they will be supported with the proper resources to deliver on the new omnichannel initiatives.
  • Finally, make sure everyone is keyed into the ongoing upcoming efforts and understands the success of previous executions, as you roll out new milestones in your roadmap.

Remember, always bring internal challenges or issues back to the customer. Bring the focus back to the internal solution that is will create the best or most seamless customer experience. Try to leverage customer-facing centricity in all decisions that impact the omnichannel strategy.

Understanding Ongoing and Existing Projects Within Your Organization

Your people will have their “day jobs,” with tasks and project work that utilizes 100% of their time. If you want omnichannel to be successful, it is necessary to make the execution of an omnichannel strategy an integral part of their jobs. This dedication requires a commitment from the leadership of your business to push omnichannel as a key and ongoing initiative within all business units. Your business will have to balance the work it requires with other new and ongoing projects and initiatives.

Understanding ongoing and new projects within your organization will help you prioritize and set realistic goals for your omnichannel roadmap. It will also help you to create a strategy that does not force your stakeholders to an “either this omnichannel project or my project” perspective.

A lot of the risk of competing priorities can be ameliorated by creating a unified project calendar. Use a tool that others can effectively update when new projects arise and make sure the team reflects on this snapshot quarterly. Use this understanding as you create your omnichannel roadmap and designate the milestones. A comparable tool that can help you manage your content experiences is a unified content calendar. This ensures that you can support the new content created for all your efforts, including your omnichannel experiences. Note that you can expect to tweak existing content and create new content to support an omnichannel experience.

Creating Roadmaps to Manage the Vision and Expectations

You will need a roadmap to support your omnichannel strategy. You should have a roadmap at the business strategy level, but you will also create a roadmap for the new content projects and initiatives that the omnichannel experience requires. Remember that omnichannel is largely a content strategy effort, as next to your product or service, content will be required to support it and stand it up for success in all your customer-facing channels.

Queue your content roadmap off your business strategy roadmap. Leverage the following best practices:

  • Create a roadmap that reflects short-, mid- and long-term, comprehensive efforts (ones that build on each other).
  • Use existing analytics and show improvement with channel integration.
  • Identify success metrics for each initiative and ensure that all areas have a testing strategy for validation, especially around content performance.
  • Ensure a taxonomy and metadata tagging strategy that can support the omnichannel experience.
  • In the beginning, the focus is on testing and validation of the customer journey, user behavior, and the performance of content within each.
  • Modify and enrich the content experience over time.

Hold a quarterly review of your roadmap with your teams and make sure they understand where you are within it, any upcoming projects, and successes from previous projects.

To learn more, join us on March 14 for a live webinar about Omnichannel: The New Value Driver. Register here.

Omnichannel Experience: Getting Started

Our last blog introduced the next webinar in the Press Pause series that focuses on creating an integrated content and experience strategy for omnichannel. This webinar examines presents three pivotal reasons to press pause.

This post focuses on the first reason to press pause: Fit for Purpose.  This is all about making sure your strategy mirrors customer preferences and behaviors – before you launch any omnichannel initiative. Here are a few key takeaways that we’ll discuss on the webinar.

Multichannel ≠ Omnichannel

Omnichannel is often used interchangeably with the term multi-channel, because both involve using multiple channels to engage with customers. But there is a distinction. Multi-channel defines the channels used for interactions between the brand and the customer/consumer. Many people think about multi-channel in terms of campaigns used to deliver information and offers. Omnichannel, on the other hand, is a high-level strategy to ensure an organization’s brand is accessible across any and all channels, providing a less disjointed experience for all customers and prospects no matter the channel.

Image based on original created by Tyco,

Build the Foundation

The most foundational aspect of omnichannel is taking a customer-first approach and tying content, experiences and actions on an individual basis along the path-to-purchase. You need to understand what the customer is doing and how and where they are interacting. Shoppers aren’t loyal to particular channels or companies anymore, with many buyers switching from mobile to tablet to storefront all while making the same purchase.

Achieving omnichannel excellence starts with small, foundational steps, including:

  • Creating a single view of the customer across your channels to anticipate needs and preferences
  • Building an omnichannel layer to personas and journeys to understand the hand-off between channels and devices
  • Leveraging insights to build an integrated content and experience model for multiple buyers

Why is it important to get omnichannel right?

Omnichannel drives value. According to a study of 46,000 shoppers published in Harvard Business Review, “Within six months after an omnichannel shopping experience, customers had logged 23% more repeat shopping trips to the retailer’s stores and were more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends than those who used a single channel.”

The customer engagement ecosystem encompasses content and experiences across different channels like web, apps, messaging platforms, in-store, ecommerce, or chatbots. Omnichannel rock stars provide both inspiration and innovation insights. While B2B organizations lag B2C companies, particularly omnichannel retailers, these consumer-facing companies provide actionable lessons for B2B companies.

To learn more, join us on March 14 for a live webinar about Omnichannel: The New Value Driver. Register here.

Omnichannel Experience: The New Value Driver

Live Event

March 14, 2018

12:00 p.m. ET

According to Walker Consulting, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator and value driver. Conversion rates will be tied to customized experiences that reflect buyers’ behaviors and preferences. Both business buyers and consumers expect highly personalized experiences and want them to be seamless as they switch between formats and devices along their buying journey.  As a result, many organizations are ’pressing pause’ to review their business, brand and ecommerce goals to align them with an omnichannel world.

BCA created the Press Pause webinar series to help organizations ask the right questions at pivotal times in the lifecycle of key marketing initiatives and help guide next steps. Our first session focused on personalization; and the second dealt with sales enablement. Press Pause for Omnichannel is the next webinar in our series. It digs into the cross-channel, cross-device experience and content needed to drive sales and build loyalty.

Omnichannel helps both B2B and B2C organizations connect to their existing and potential customers in more meaningful and relevant ways. A good omnichannel approach will result in the following:

  • Increase in sales with a quicker turnaround in conversion
  • Decrease in cart abandonment;
  • Deepening loyalty with customers which leads to increased lifetime value
  • Meaningful customer recommendations and word of mouth

To achieve these results, objectives for omnichannel should focus on customer needs and behaviors rather than defining goals by individual channels. Why? Because the customer interacts with multiple channels to meet their needs. For example, a CEO might see a banner ad in an airport offering consulting services, then scan a QR code from it, which prompts her to a campaign website on her mobile device, which then leads her to sign up for a profile resulting a call to a sales representative.

Omnichannel initiatives can be overwhelming. This webinar is designed to focus on three challenges facing organizations that should cause them to press pause:

  • Fit for Purpose: Before launching a pilot or omnichannel initiative, make sure that your strategy aligns with customer preferences.
  • Competing Priorities: Sometimes an organization needs to knit together the pieces/parts scattered across functions to build a more integrated program and coalesce around a single view of the customer.
  • Hitting a Rhythm: Putting the right resources in place is critical as is generating the right analytics to sustain, scale and enhance the omnichannel strategy.

The webinar presents easy-to-digest steps that help move the organization forward at each key juncture. The discussion will include:

  • Aligning omnichannel strategy to business goals
  • Building a cross-channel, cross-device content and experience roadmap
  • Overcoming cultural roadblocks
  • Identifying the cross-channel metrics that will keep you on track and get you to the next level

This webinar will provide practical information you can use to tackle the issues your organization faces in operationalizing an enterprise omnichannel environment,

Join us on March 14th at Noon ET for Omnichannel: The New Value Driver. Click here to register.