Winning in an Omnichannel World

The tools in a CMO’s toolbox are growing and changing daily. Not only is the toolbox exploding with possibility, but the tools needed for certain actions are changing at the speed of culture. We all know the days of a marketing strategy consisting 4 TV spots every year are long gone, but I’m not sure we really understand where that leaves us or where we actually are. 

Not only are there more channels to communicate on but there are different types of content needed for these various channels, different rules of engagement across the channels, and new channels coming online each and every day. Not to mention, we are also in charge of how the individual conversations build as consumers travel from channel to channel, physical to human to digital and back again, and the interaction with product, service and experience. This is causing massive confusion in board rooms around the world. You’re not alone.


There is a new buzzword over the last few years, probably crafted by a digital “ninja” or “guru,” called “omnichannel marketing” that promises success simply having your brand presence on all the multiple channels your consumers use and driving them to the store for a purchase. It’s true that your consumers are using multiple ways to gather information about brands and products. And yes, they travel from device to device, but I think there is something fundamentally wrong with simply having a presence on all the channels. 

“Leveraging the essence of our brand’s promise, we need to look at the holistic consumer experience, the transactions we need our consumers to perform and define the roles and actions various channels play. Then we can decide how to activate and what content is needed to support the consumer goals and objectives.” 


There is a notion that I’ve been tossing around for the last few years called Consumer Cartography. It’s an idea of how we need to develop a topographical view of our consumer journey. Not only does this journey need to satisfy the test of time, but it also needs to be able to go up and down the purchase funnel. Mapping the channels, messages, data and content needed to fulfill this framework makes activating our brand promise a bit more surgical and focused. But it also opens doors to creativity and allows for the brand’s promise to fully come to life. It provides a holistic view of how our brand plays in the consumer’s lives and the specialized actions needed to drive the relationship.

The basic elements of Consumer Cartography are based on the individual consumer: what devices they use; what channels they are on; how do they purchase; what role does content play in their lives; how to do they interact with friends, brands, or interests; etc. Mapping this out you can start to identify what types of content and activity is needed to satisfy your brand promise while driving business results. This is the core foundation and driver to succeeding in this Omnichannel world.


The act of creating an omnichannel brand is an active decision and action and should be taken with extreme focus and detail. 

  1. Brand Promise: How would your brand come to life across channel. The actual fulfillment of the brand is key at the moment of interaction across channel. 
  2. Consistency: The brand must look, act, smell, and feel the same wherever the consumer interacts with you. Consumers also expect similar options of selection across channel as well. 
  3. Context: The right content and interaction needs to be used at the right time. Look for contextual cues in the channel and consumer data.
  4. Channel Specific Activity: All channels offer bespoke activity. How can you leverage these functions in an authentic way? 
  5. Flexibility: Consumers want to interact with brands on their terms. Participate on the platforms they are on and offer up the opportunity to easily interact.
  6. Frictionless: Make building a relationship with your brand easy and seamless from channel to channel. You need to determine what data from the conversation needs to transfer to the next interaction & channel. The consumer shouldn’t have to start their relationship over each time they interact on a different channel.
  7. Measure & Optimize: Consumer behaviors are changing daily. Making sure you’re measuring and responding to shifts will keep your brand in a leadership position.

Omnichannel Marketing is a huge opportunity to really live and fulfill your brand promise. The true “brand” is built at the moment of interaction with your consumer. Yes, advertising helps communicating the brand promise, but the omnichannel activity is where the brand is fulfilled.