The Secrets Behind 3 Great Optichannel Experiences
In 2020, every consumer will be interacting with marketing content across a thousand channels all the time — by some estimates, they already see as many as 5,000 ads each day. It’s a cacophony of impersonal, untargeted media that barely makes an impact. But if everyone is bombarded by marketing media constantly, how can any business build a positive brand relationship with its consumers? The only way to do that in 2020 is to create awesome optichannel customer experiences. People don’t remember your marketing; they remember how it feels to do business with you. And the optichannel experience is what leaves them with a positive or negative feeling.
Here are three companies that have made a science of optichannel customer experiences, and what your brand can learn from them.
Leverage Identity Like Neiman Marcus
Customer identity crosses into the retail-online threshold, but not enough brands use it to improve the customer experience. Neiman Marcus does.
It starts as soon as customers enter the store. Interactive directories and “Memory Mirror” smart monitors allow them to have a digitally enhanced fitting room experience. Meanwhile, the retailer’s app enables users to take pictures of outfits in the real world and then use augmented reality to match them with similar looks from its catalog. This comes together to create an award-winning omnichannel retail experience that empowers consumers and removes barriers along the buying journey.
Neiman Marcus also leverages that information to personalize the e-commerce, email and direct mail experience of every customer. “Identity is the core of personalization,” says VP of Customer Insight and Analytics Jeff Rosenfield, “and if you don’t get it right, you’re not talking to the entirety of that customer.”
The retailer put these ideas into practice with several CX features. For example, when you search for specific sizes on the Neiman Marcus website, your visits will start using those sizes by default. Email and printed direct mail pieces then feature items you looked at, and sales offers are tied to your user data.
What Makes Neiman Marcus's Optichannel Strategy Successful
Identifying visitors and targeting them with optichannel marketing across social networks, online ads, direct mail, and email is within every business’s reach. You just need to dive into the data to make it happen.
The first step is to resolve customer identity. Ideally, you should have a way for them to log-in to the website and a good incentive for them to stay logged in. Loyalty programs and member discounts are great ways to do this. The insights you glean from logged-in user sessions should be collected and used to optimize your overarching strategy as well as that individual’s user experience.
Cookies and user session data will allow you to note where they went and what they did on your website. Even in a retail store, you can still note what customers bought or what they asked your salespeople about and add it to a customer profile. When that customer interacted with your brand, what did they do? Did they focus on one product category? One set of sizes? Are they moved by certain discounts or occasions?
Identifying these kinds of user behaviors and supplementing them with demographic data creates a predictive-marketing tool you can use to improve your campaigns. Follow-up emails can feature products in their favorite categories and discounts on the things they looked at most. Instead of sending the same mail piece to every address on your file, you can use customer segmentation based on demographics and behavior to create targeted mailings for each segment that specifically leverage their buying factors.
These tactics are viable in industries with more complex sales cycles than retail, too.
Bring the Magic to Life Like Disney World
Walt Disney World gives its customers the automated equivalent of white-glove concierge service across every touchpoint of the optichannel journey. Families move from booking on a mobile-responsive website to planning trip details on the My Disney Experience app to a next-generation resort stay powered by “magic band” technology. The magic bands use NFC tech to act as tickets, wallets, line-cut free passes and more.
Each step is personal and empowering. Disney recognizes its customers from the first touch to the last and uses everything it knows to deliver an ultra-convenient vacation experience. The resort truly creates optichannel magic by empowering its customers across every channel.
What Makes Disney World's Optichannel Strategy Successful
You may not be able to give every customer a piece of technology as cool as magic bands, but you can connect the dots of their activities across channels and use the data to deliver white-glove concierge experiences of your own.
Try to remove as much frustration from the buyer’s journey as possible. Whether a “visit” happens on a website, phone or face-to-face, try to capture where they came from and what they did. Use that data to identify what they want and to make every future experience with your brand easier and more magical.
What that looks like will vary by brand, but the key is to understand the customer journey and smooth out the steps that cause friction. Is it hard for customers to find items they looked at previously? Try to bring them back up if they revisit the site, or perhaps promote them via targeted web and social media ads. Can you position follow-up emails so they speak to the products they looked at and remove buying obstacles? Can you identify special offers based on user behavior that will make it easier for them to say yes? Are there come customer behaviors that indicate a sales phone call would be welcome?
Make Local Personal Like MB Financial
There are more than 430,000 small businesses in Chicago, where MB Financial had 86 local branches. However, MB was not connecting with any of those businesses. To these prospects, the bank was just another old, faceless institution. So it set out to put the real managers from those branches on its “MB Is Me” optichannel campaign to create personal connections and generate leads.
The campaign ran print, radio and digital media ads throughout the area featuring four messages: MB Financial delivers the personal attention you want, the banking services you need, business advice you can use, and business connections you wouldn’t expect.
Those ads set the stage, but the real conversion piece was a localized direct mail campaign that featured the local branch managers talking directly to the small business owners they served. Using customer propensity models — like response lift modeling — the bank identified 30,000 small businesses that were likely prospects and sent postcards to each of those businesses from the manager of the closest branch.
The postcards were versioned for each branch’s business area. They featured professional photos of the branch manager, a personal message, and an invitation to call their direct phone numbers. There was also an offer to get up to $550 in bonus cash for opening an account and/or line of credit.
The optichannel campaign built trust in MB Financial’s commitment to small business banking needs, and the direct mail piece converted a 205% increase in sales leads.
What Makes MB Financial's Optichannel Strategy Successful
This is the only campaign we’ve discussed that specifically focuses on lead generation and customer acquisition, but it shows the power of optichannel experiences in generating qualified leads.
By extending optichannel strategies to outbound marketing, MB Financial created personal connections in a faceless marketing environment. Customer modeling, personalized creative and strategic channel execution all work together to form your next customer’s impressions.
Every prospect experiences your brand as an optichannel phenomenon. The campaigns they see shape the reaction they will have to your direct marketing.
MB Financial tied those pieces together. It didn’t need to be personalized to the individual level, just versioned so every prospect business was able to personally connect with and recognize their local branch managers.
From public messaging to targeted engagement to a personal experience: That’s how optichannel marketing continues to change the game.
Andre Chandra is the Founder and CEO of Propelo Media, an omnichannel direct marketing company that helps clients with lead generation, customer retention and brand building. We owe our business success on our set of Core Values, and they are: 1) Partner, Not Just Vendor, 2) One-stop-shop, 3) Never Shortsighted, and 4) Delight Our Clients. On a personal level, here are where his loyalties lie: a Cal Bear (Class of '00), a Washington Husky ('97), and a passionate Oakland Raiders/Golden State Warriors fan. He can be spotted holding his: wife, two kids, or an acoustic guitar — in that order.