Every omnimarketer is by definition a digital marketer. If this is so, then why is digital marketing so far behind? Digital marketers for large enterprises are performing so poorly in facilitating innovation that more and more enterprises are even reducing their digital marketing budgets. Today, the bulk of digital marketing is digital advertising, which is a severely broken offering. Even P&G, the biggest advertiser in the world, has cut $200 million from its digital ad spend in the past year.
After 50 years in marketing, I’ve seen a lot. Digital marketing was supposed to be a continuation of the one-to-one marketing that had come before, simply expanded to new platforms. But, in fact, a fundamental bifurcation of digital marketing between brand CMOs and online digital marketers has occurred.
Brand CMOs, who typically rose to their positions via decades of marketing to the offline customer, tend to lack the knowledge of all that digital marketing can do to reach that same customer in the online world, not to mention the required tools and data to do so. Conversely, digital marketers are typically digital natives themselves, and are easily swept up by online-specific metrics that may have little to no bearing on actual offline customer behavior.
And yet, according to the latest report from the Department of Commerce, about 80% of retail sales still happen in the offline world. Digital marketing is dramatically more effective online vs. offline, not only because of the breadth and depth of data available, but also the digital skills of the marketers themselves, leaving an enormous opportunity—and vast amount of customer knowledge from the offline world—on the table.
Omnimarketers, or digital marketers, must embrace the whole customer, both online and offline. However, they lack the tools required to deliver on the digital requisites of a real-time rhythm and extreme customer targeting in the offline world. They need better and more robust creative content, better consumer targeting using location and event-driven behavioral data, and better on-demand customer access for the enterprise. The tools to support digital marketing in the offline world simply have not existed until very recently, and they are still so new that they are uncharted — and therefore, risky — territory to most enterprises.
There are five key steps in the journey to becoming an omnimarketer who is truly in touch with the customer both online and offline. If enterprises are going to survive in the age of digital marketing, they must prioritize implementing the kinds of strategies listed below:
1. Establish a direct connection to the customer: There is no better way to acquire the information required to truly know a customer than a one-on-one connection.
2. Provide on-demand communication with real utility: Customers expect that companies will be ready to handle any request or concern whenever they need it, wherever they are.
3. Deploy superior customer engagement marketing: Customers are delighted by experiences that are tailored to them, including their unique preferences, payment information, and order history both on and offline.
4. Augment your knowledge of the customer with other data sources from the offline world (such as events and locations): Knowing what events, stores, locations your customers spend their time at helps paint a better picture of who they are as a consumer and what they value.
5. Use AI for predictive analytics, machine learning and more effective ad and marketing targeting: AI can allow omnimarketers to better predict consumer trends, and what services or offerings are going to become more appealing to specific customers.
Failing to implement these five steps in digital marketing, and failing to do so in both on and offline domains, will inhibit any brand’s ability to effectively reach their customers. Even Amazon, a leader in customer knowledge and service, through its Amazon Prime offering, is already driving down prices for CPG companies and white-labeling products to compete in the offline world. Any brand CEO or omnimarketer that does not take heed is fundamentally threatened. The recent precipitous decline in CPG stock prices is simply the canary in the coal mine.
Originally published in MediaPost.