Marketers roll out omnichannel strategies

November 08, 2013

Brands, stores aim to engage shoppers through integrated messages across many platforms.

It’s an omnichannel world for millions of shoppers, so CMOs are shifting fast to an omnichannel marketing mix.

So concludes a new study of chief marketing officers by the Brand Activation Association (BAA, the former Promotion Marketing Association) and Booz & Company, called Reimagining Shopper Marketing:  Building Brands Through Omnichannel Experiences.  

The research explores how digitization will affect shopper marketing for brand manufacturers and retailers.  Over the next two years, for instance, marketers will alter their marketing communications in significant ways.  Specifically:

  • All brand manufacturer respondents plan to raise their mobile marketing spend.  Some 44% forecast increases in excess of 10%.
  • 96% of survey takers will boost their social-media spend.  Two out of three (67%) will up it by more than 5%.
  • 96% will increase their shopper marketing budgets.  For nearly half (45%), the hike will be more than 5%.
  • 68% will prioritize investments in branded content and shopper experiences to engage their target audiences.
  • 64% will prioritize investments in branded content and shopper experiences to drive repeat usage and loyalty.

These omnichannel models give retailers and marketers a holistic way to reach “consumers with a more integrated message through any channel and at any point in their path to purchase and beyond,” notes BAA.  

The reason, adds Matthew Egol, partner at Booz & Company, and senior director at Booz Digital:  “Today’s consumers are in a state of flux.  The resources they use to learn about, engage with and build a connection to brands are increasingly fragmented.  The sources they can tap into now span products in the store aisles, online product reviews, mobile price comparison apps, brands’ websites and friends’ social media feeds…”

By ramping up diverse connections, observes F3, brands can converse directly with consumers like never before and form deeper relationships.  More openness and less retail filtering will allow brands to learn plenty about consumers’ wants, and purchase and usage habits—since people often disclose this information for a mere coupon, discount or chance in a drawing.  In the end, brands will have more insights with which to satisfy them.

“Omnichannel marketing is not just another iteration of how brands collaborate with retailers on events and promotions,” says the study.  “It’s about how they reimagine their engagement with the consumer-shopper so that it rises above siloed behavior, unlocks value across devices and platforms, and delivers a more curated and interactive brand experience.”

For retailers to succeed in an omnichannel world, they’ll need skilled managers of technology and data.  A new SAP survey, conducted at the SAP Retail Forum North America, shows 84% of retailers worry “it will be challenging to find employees with these skills.

The skills in highest demand, they said, are:

  • 80% - Understanding and applying business analytics and big data
  • 72% - Optimizing the retail business for omnichannel commerce
  • 55% - Analyzing consumer buying behavior for improved operations
  • 50% - Mobile commerce management
  • 37% - Merchandise buying and planning
  • 37% - Digital and social branding skills