Before reading this, I commend you to read the first two of our omni-channel blogs by my colleague Alistair Ewing; the first is a witty tale of what your holiday experience might be like in a few years’ time; the second is a layman’s terms definition of what we mean by omni-channel in the first place!

Starting the climb

Attaining true omni-channel technology capabilities and competencies really is like climbing a mountain. Changes in the way Marketing Departments organise, plan and work are also very significant and different in an omni-channel world. But it is achievable and you should not feel too bad if you are still at or around base camp; you are not alone.

This blog suggests that taking a more holistic approach with outbound marketing can be a great place to start the omni-channel journey.

We have some fantastic technology to drive personalised offers to customers who call us or log in to our web site… if only more of them did.

I acknowledge the role of media and advertising in driving inbound traffic, but if you get better at outbound, by making it more relevant, timely and engaging, then even more customers will contact your business. You need to start with the right planning mindset.

In an omni-channel marketing plan there is no such thing as a single channel campaign; no such thing as a ‘product x, email campaign’ for example.

In an omni-channel outbound marketing plan, the central question is:

What is the best proposition, if any, to present at this time, in what style and in what channel?

It is not: 

I want the best N thousand customers to receive this proposition in an email this month in order to make my sales target.

I am sure most readers will agree, but I observe many organisations still planning and acting in the conventional uni-product, uni-channel way.

Timing and data is very important

This blog is not about data, but it has to have a mention because it is so important. Data is a key enabler of everything you aspire to do on the omni-channel journey.

You need to start with a single- customer-view (SCV) data store that is as up-to-date as it can practically be. That means all of your customer data in one place, organised around the customer and the household. It’s not just about transaction data, i.e. what customers buy from you; that is critical, of course, but you also need channel interaction data, preference data, permissions data and often third party data to gain a full understanding. 

Working from account or product centred data stores is not good enough. Also, if you are working on a monthly or even a weekly data refresh cycle you probably need to do better. For most organisations, the goal should be daily-data for fast moving or sensitive data and ultimately daily-campaigning.

I commend this SCV article by my colleague James Adams to you.

Aligning and organising your propositions

The essential ingredients of an omni-channel outbound campaign are your organisation’s propositions. The omni-channel outbound campaign consists of a library or catalogue of propositions that your business has available to offer a customer.

You may find as you review your existing outbound campaigns for migration to the omni-channel framework that inconsistencies have crept into the targeting rules, for different channel variants of the same proposition for example. It is important that the customer targeting rules for any given proposition are consistent regardless of the channel through which you make the proposition.

The Omni-Channel Proposition Catalogue will look something like this:  

  • Proposition meta data: What is the name for the proposition, its description, the product and product group to which it belongs, its price, ownership, terms and conditions etc.
  • Validity rules: Organisation level rules defining when a proposition may be considered for presentation to a customer and when it should be withheld.
  • Customer eligibility rules: Customer level rules defining who is eligible to receive this proposition.
  • Channel level eligibility rules: What additional criteria must a customer satisfy to be offered the proposition in this channel?

Building and managing an Omni-Channel Proposition Catalogue for outbound and inbound propositions will be the subject of a future blog.

Anatomy of the omni-channel outbound campaign

How many omni-channel outbound campaigns do you think you need? The answer may be just one. That’s right, one. Actually, I think the term ‘campaign’ will eventually disappear from the omni-channel vocabulary because the ultimate goal is for propositions to be always on. It works roughly like this:

  • Every day after your Customer Data Store refresh has completed; load all customers who might be eligible to receive at least one of the propositions in your catalogue.
  • Identify and load all valid propositions.
  • For each customer, apply the proposition eligibility rules to determine which propositions, if any, the customer is eligible for today.
  • Rank the propositions to limit the customer to receiving the best set of offers.
  • Apply contact policy rules to ensure that the customer is not contacted too frequently.
  • Apply channel eligibility, channel preference rules and channel constraints.
  • Select eligible customers to receive the best proposition(s) in the best channel for them.

Can you see how different this approach is to a conventional outbound campaign?

The approach for determining best customer, best offer, best channel in an always on environment will also be the subject of another blog in this series.  

Summary

In conclusion, I hope I have convinced you that outbound is a good place to start the omni-channel mountain climb and provided some insight into how outbound campaigning works in an omni-channel framework. Perhaps it has set you thinking about how you might approach the migration of your outbound campaign programme?

What’s coming up in the Comet omni-channel series

  • Is there such a thing as an omni-channel customer journey?
  • Managing propositions in an omni-channel solution
  • Designing an omni-channel contact strategy
  • Next Best Action decisioning for customer selected channels
  • Next Best Action and Next Best Channel decisions in an omni-channel outbound campaign
  • Managing Interaction History for better omni-channel decisions
  • How do you plan, execute and measure an omni-channel outbound campaign?
  • On boarding a new channel to an omni-channel solution
  • Make it easy for customers to respond, their way, their channel

Perhaps there is another omni-channel issue that is top of mind for you? If so, we would love to hear about it. I will be posting the blog on LinkedIn.


Charles Hughes

Senior Consultant

Charles Hughes is a Senior Consultant in the Strategy and Insight Practice. A proactive business analyst and consultant with 40 years of in-depth experience in shaping and driving inbound and outbound customer decisioning solutions, latterly via IBM and Pega technologies. Charles is results oriented and pragmatic with a proven track record of delivery.

Charles.hughes@cometgc.com