Andre Chandra, an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member in San Francisco, is the founder and CEO of Propelo Media, an omni-channel direct marketing company that helps clients with lead generation, customer retention and brand building. We asked Andre what strategies stand out in the marketing landscape for 2020. Here’s what he shared.
We live in an omni-channel world. While consumers are awash in marketing messages, they barely notice most of them, and are often annoyed by the ones they do. How can your business build positive brand experiences in such an environment?
In 2020, the only genuinely viable marketing tactic will be creating outstanding omni-channel customer experiences. People don’t remember marketing messages; they remember how it feels to interact with your brand. They remember what it’s like to “shop” with you, even if “shopping” has nothing to do with retail.
The omni-channel customer experience determines how those feelings–the ones customers remember–develop. When brands use data to empower customers and make the buying journey seamless and convenient, those customers will want to come back. That’s the secret to the success of companies from Amazon to Zappos, and in 2020, you need to include it in your marketing strategy.
Here are three brands that got their omni-channel customer experiences right, and how you can incorporate their concepts into your marketing plan.
1. Getting Personal with MB Financial
Many omni-channel experiences are geared toward customer experience, but let’s start with a brand that leveraged the strategy for customer acquisition. When 100-year-old MB Financial Bank wanted to connect with small businesses on a more personal level, it had to get creative.
With 430,000 small businesses in MB Financial’s home market of Chicago where it has 86 local branches, you’d expect MB to have a robust small business following–but that wasn’t the case. After years of chasing bigger clients, the bank was just another old, faceless institution to hardworking entrepreneurs.
Those ads were just the beginning. A targeted direct mail campaign followed, featuring local branch managers talking directly to small business owners.
The campaign built trust, sparked conversations and drove conversions, generating a 205 percent increase in sales leads.
Every human being you reach experiences your brand as an omni-channel phenomenon. When MB Financial tied the pieces together, it created a campaign that positioned its final direct mail piece for success. From public messaging to targeted engagement to personal experience: That’s how omni-channel marketing changes the game.
2. Identifying with Neiman Marcus
For Neiman Marcus, identity crosses the retail-online threshold. In-store, interactive directories and “Memory Mirror” smart monitors allow customers to enjoy digitally enhanced fitting room experiences. Meanwhile, the retailer’s app enables customers to take pictures of outfits they like and use augmented reality to find similar looks in its catalog. This helps create an award-winning omni-channel retail experience that empowers customers and removes frustrating barriers along the buyer journey.
Neiman Marcus leverages information to empower customers in every channel. For example, if you shop for a specific size on its website, the system will begin defaulting to that size. Email and dynamically printed direct mail pieces will showcase items you viewed and tailor offers for you. “Identity is the core of personalization,” says Jeff Rosenfield, VP of Customer Insight and Analytics, “If you don’t get it right, you’re not talking to the entirety of that customer.”
Even if you can’t put a magic mirror in front of customers, identifying your visitors and serving them targeted marketing across social networks, online ads, direct mail and email is within every company’s reach.
3. Going Mobile with Bank of America
Sometimes omni-channel is less about building an integrated strategy and more about catching up in channels where you’ve lost ground. Bank of America empowers its customers to manage appointments, check balances, request new cards and pay bills in an award-winning mobile customer experience.
The initiative goes even further: The bank is experimenting with tellerless “robo-branches” that support mobile-banking users without personnel on-site. However, customers can speak with live, remote tellers to initiate loans and perform other tasks.
Even if you can’t build a mobile app that accesses all of your services–let alone a “robo” retail branch–you can’t afford to ignore the massive mobile and social media audiences. No matter what the industry, your target market uses these channels to communicate every day.
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 considerable impact on your customers’ experiences.
Omni-Channel for 2020
Together, these omni-channel strategies encompass three areas of marketing: customer acquisition, personalization and mobile-centric customer experiences. In a world where consumers continue to tune out mass marketing messages, getting these aspects of the experience right is essential to creating a customer experience that customers will want to revisit and tell friends about.
So, steal a page from the strategies of these companies, and give your brand the foundation to deliver exceptional experiences that win consumers and business clients in 2020–and beyond.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.