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Creating an Omni-Channel Marketing Business Model

August 22, 2017

Steven Schnollby Steven Schnoll, Managing Director Schnoll Media Consulting

The term Omni-Channel seems to enthrall many marketers. But, to a printer trying to not only survive but grow, the potential benefits of how adopting such a business model can be confusing. Before a print service provider can even attempt to move forward with this thought process an understanding of what the term actually means is critical.  Simply defined, omni-channel marketing is a cross-media business model that utilizes seamless message integration across all channel outlets to allow for better user experiences for the target audience. It is a convergence of ALL channels ALL communicating the same message. It represents a unified way of delivering content, so every message speaks with one voice to increase loyalty and reach and provide optimal ROI. It is not about one channel competing with another. It is also not about specific technologies, but how you use them to achieve meaningful results.

In today’s always on highly competitive marketing landscape, a printer can no longer just offer a conventional siloed service offering of only putting ink on paper. Customers are now demanding from suppliers an integrated portfolio of services that deliver relevant content to the target audience by the medium of their choice. This shift has presented many challenges to the print community namely how to successfully leverage digital media alternatives like social media and mobile within their current business structure. The premise is gaining a grasp of omni-channel content delivery will assist graphic arts professionals to take their business strategy to the next level.

The dynamics of this change can often be daunting. Understanding the concept may be clear, but the steps to move forward may be murky. Change is a process and must be clearly planned and adjusted as needed. Adopting an omni-channel business model may be the path to not only survive but profitably grow. The digital world has created an energetic and fast-paced changing world. Mixed media marketing campaigns are clearly the future. Campaigns to be successful should be personalized across different channels seamlessly to ensure the highest rate of return. Here are some critical thoughts that may be helpful to achieving an omni-channel success path forward.

To do something positive and to demystify the omni-channel marketing world a graphic communication company should try and concentrate on leveraging five critical trends.

  • Print is NOT dead. It is alive BUT… with a different angle. Mastering the structure of true personalization makes the printed document relevant as well as triggering finite results. The printed piece is proving to be one the best ways to drive people to the digital marketplace.
  • Optimizing the mobile revolution. No one can live without their mobile devices. They must be somehow linked to any marketing strategy. Media brands all understand the power of engaging an audience via mobile.
  • Data is the catalyst for success! To obtain maximum results in any personalized marketing campaign, relevant data must be employed. Mastering data unlocks the future.
  • A world without the Internet and social media is not possible in today’s social climate. Personalizing the content on a web site is the best way to increase page views.
  • Leveraging the content marketing weapon is essential. Content marketing has the power to subtly influence brand perception.

If a printer can reposition their business strategy as an omni-channel provider by adopting some form of these trends, they then provide great value to their customers. The millennial buyers do not want to waste time to research multiple vendors each offering a different service.

Mastering the omni-channel concept also requires the implementation the “Five Rights Paradigm.” The Right Message, at the Right Time, to the Right Person, with the Right Medium for the Right Reason. Seems logical but mailboxes both physical and digital are still filled up with meaningless communications that waste millions of marketing dollars. When a graphic communications company can suggest winning strategies that take an idea to a value oriented result they create positive energy between all parties. Printers must think out of the box, research new ideas, educate themselves, be positive and be willing to take some risks to innovate.

There are many subtle and significant differences between print and digital. However, there is also a great commonality. Both are centered around delivering relevant content. The catalyst and common denominator to all this technology is mastering data. The future of print gets stronger when a printer leverages well-designed data properly in the omni-channel marketing world. Success can only be achieved when one understands the impact of data and how to integrate relevant data into personalized campaigns. Campaigns employing data intelligently within an omni-channel world can make you a smart organization and keep your company “sticky” to the customer. A cornerstone of any new business strategy should be to adopt the Forrest Gump Theory. “Life is like a box of chocolate with a lot of personal tastes.” A content service provider who understands their customer tastes and meets them effectively builds a sound business strategy.

An essential component of marketing is the power of subtly influencing brand perception. The tactile aspect of ink on paper is a significant part of that.  However, one must ask the question as to what partnerships can be forged to bridge the gap between print and digital. It should not be a decision between one medium or another.

Leadership comes in many forms and shapes. Experience can never be ignored, but graphic professionals cannot put their heads in the sand and think that the graphic communication business of yesterday will somehow be resurrected. An essential component of marketing is the power of subtly influencing brand perception. The tactile aspect of ink on paper is a significant part of that, but the online world is dominating our lives. That is why any smart graphic communication professional must develop an omni-channel business plan. Nobody knows what content delivery technologies will own the future, but we can be assured that it will continue to change.  Print is not going away anytime soon, but a smart leader must understand its changing role in the omni-channel mix.

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