In a sea of marketing buzzwords, marketers spend too much time debating definitions and defending proprietary positions, while social proof for the buzzword drifts aimlessly in media currents, according to Bill Hanifin, co-founder of the Customer Strategy Network.
Omni-channel marketing is one buzzword that seems to be stuck in the place where promotion and hype intersect with a lack of real-world examples. And over the past 2 years, marketers have done more barking about Omni-channel marketing than Richard Sherman can do on a football field.
But maybe Domino's Pizza is changing the way we think of Omni-channel marketing. The Domino's brand has been undergoing renewal over recent years, starting with the 2013 campaign that let consumers know that it was substituting quality and taste for speed of delivery. By ditching the 30-minute delivery promise, Domino's demonstrated courage by directly addressing several sensitive areas of criticism, and has been rewarded by improving market share.
The launch of Domino's AnyWare technology suite sets the #2 US Pizza chain apart once again, re-crafting the way customers can order pizza and, without using any buzzwords, giving marketers the best example in 2015 of what Omni-channel marketing means in execution.
If you haven't seen it, Domino's launched AnyWare with a celebrity campaign using Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Nascar driver Joey Logano, and TV personalities Eva Longoria, Sarah Hyland and others to let customers know they can order pizza through their favorite social channels and on their favorite electronic device. Stars are featured as they delight in ordering pizza through SMS, Twitter, and emoji text via their TV's, an Apple Smartwatch, even in their car.
The campaign was developed in partnership with Miami based ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The official press release for the campaign quoted Dennis Maloney, Domino's Chief Digital Officer, saying "Thanks to the AnyWare suite of technology, customers can place their favorite order via text, tweet, TV, Smartwatch and more", adding "Domino's newest TV commercials showcase celebrities placing orders on their favorite devices, proving that, for every type of personality and in any situation, there's a perfect way to order."
Omni-channel marketing can too often be interpreted by brands an invitation to drive communications in "every" digital available channel. The approach is reminiscent of the military tactic of saturation bombing. While this approach may enhance brand visibility, it misses the mark in connecting with customers in a relevant manner and puts the brand at risk through this lack of personalisation.
One of the best definitions I have seen for Omni-channel marketing came from Ryan Phelan, Vice President Global Shared Services, Acxiom in a 2015 article published in Marketing Sherpa. In that post, Phelan stated "Omni-channel marketing, for me, is simply about messaging alignment in an orchestrated communication to the consumer which uses all available information to create an informed and relevant relationship with the consumer." My version of this description is that Omni-channel marketing can match customers with their preferred methods of communication and then tailor messages, offers, and promotions in the channel where the customer is most likely to consume the message and generate a positive response.
For brands interested in building customer loyalty, these definitions should inspire marketers to adopt a fresh perspective toward the customer data they collect and how it is put to use. It also suggests new horizons in data analytics, specifically customer segmentation, where social channel use is matched up to customer profile and transactional data to determine which messages to populate by channel. The insights gained through new data models can be used to reveal optimal strategies for managing customer interactions - existing or new - at every stage of the lifecycle and across all customer-facing channels.
Beware however that consumers are aware of the value of their data and have increasing expectations of how brands will use the data they collect. In a Canadian-based study just released by loyalty leader Aimia, only 8% of consumers surveyed indicated they had received something of value in return for handing over information about themselves. On the other hand, 74% of those surveyed expressed concern that sharing their contact information/data will lead to them being targeted for irrelevant marketing campaigns.
When Domino's Chief Digital Officer stated that AnyWare enables a perfect way to order pizza "for every type of personality and in any situation", he provides the most practical example of a brand executing an Omni-channel marketing campaign in 2015.
Building customer loyalty is predicated on creating trusted relationships, and listening to our customers is the foundation of that relationship. Taking time to determine what type of message your customers want to receive across their favorite social and digital channels demonstrates that you are listening to them. The lesson of Omni-channel that we can take away from the Domino's story is that it's less important for your brand to be present in every channel and more important that you are communicating with your customers in the channel they prefer.