Delivering a successful omnichannel transformation

Omnichannel marketing is a term that has been banded around for years – but its only now that marketeers and brands can truly start to deliver data driven omnichannel communication at scale.
10 minute read
By Ben Cockrell

At ekino we believe that we are on the cusp of a revolution in how brands interact with consumers across both digital and human touchpoints. This holds huge potential both for the overall customer experience but also to generate significant improvements in sales, loyalty, and customer service.

Why Omnichannel?

To understand why the impact is going to be so massive we need to look back at how CRM has evolved over the last 20 years. When I started my career in the early 2000’s it was already commonplace for brands and their marketing agencies to segment their customer base to differentiate the messaging and to use personalisation and targeting techniques to improve marketing campaign performance. It did not matter if these improvements were irrelevant for 98% of customers you were communicating with, provided you could boost conversion for the remaining 2% and generate a positive return on marketing investment (ROMI). Fast forward 20 years and for most brands not that much has fundamentally changed – yes, the techniques are a bit better and we can mine more data, but it's still the same approach driven from the perspective of spend more on targeting and personalisation to increase ROMI.

Omnichannel marketing and its newer sibling Real Time Interaction Management (RTIM) comes at it from a completely different perspective. It starts with the customer and says what if we could stitch together all the relevant data from multiple customer touchpoints and use it to determine the most contextually relevant conversation to be having with each individual customer in this very moment. How can we then co-ordinate that individualised message across all the different customer touchpoints so regardless of whether the customer is using the brand’s mobile app, the website, speaking to the customer service centre, seeing a paid media ad or opening an email the brand converses with one voice in a way which is consistent and contextually relevant to the customer’s current needs and circumstances.

Figure: Contextually relevant RTIM

Figure: Building a contextually relevant experience via RTIM

Achieving Contextual Relevance

Achieving contextual relevance means integrating the full history of customer behaviours and interactions, mining the data in the right way to deliver insights, and then applying that knowledge where relevant throughout the conversation. This is what the best salespeople and business Account Managers already do – the problem is that there are limits to how much information, and especially raw data, that these salespeople can work with. It is also not cost efficient to have sales and service staff building deep relationships with each individual customer. So, this is where Omnichannel and RTIM come in to play.

We believe this outcome is the evitable future of the last 60 years of marketing and advertising. Up until this point you’d be laughed out of the room for even suggesting it – it seems so impossibly complex to implement a contextually relevant communications journey which is unique and dynamically changing for every individual customer that most brands would just go back to their worlds of customer segmentation and campaigns and brand activity calendars. But they would be wrong.

Those of you who have seen Scott Brinker’s Martech 5000 will have an appreciation for the amount of activity happening in the Marketing & Advertising Technology space (Martech/Adtech). In “Martech: 2020 and beyond” BDO & WARC estimate that Martech has a global market size of $121bn.

1 in 5 of the solutions on this year’s martech landscape weren’t there last year. That’s almost the equivalent of the entire 2015 marketing technology landscape

Scott Brinker,

This investment in Martech and its paid media sister, Adtech, is solving the underlying technical issues that have prevented the realisation of the omnichannel dream. However, the main fallacy that businesses hold true right now is the belief that these problems can be solved by buying a piece of technology alone. It is a bit like deciding you want to drive across Europe and then purchasing an expensive engine for your old car. In reality a modern car is a highly integrated piece of technology – the frame, engine, components, design, electronics and software are all deeply integrated and need to work in harmony. You cannot take an old car and drop in a state-of-the-art engine. Yet this is the approach most companies are taking with marketing automation software to drive omnichannel.

Delivering a successful omnichannel transformation

Delivering a successful data driven omnichannel transformation requires significant changes and close collaboration across IT, marketing, data insight & analytics functions and most importantly across the people of the organisation. They must be united by a common vision with a clear development pathway that releases incremental benefits along the way.

At ekino, part of Havas CX, we have been driving multi-year omnichannel transformation programmes for the last 4 years. In that time, we have picked up several leading global brands across diverse industry verticals – logistics, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals to name a few. This has allowed us to develop our own global framework for omnichannel transformation that has broad applications.

Havas CX Omnichannel Framework

This framework is focussed around 6 key workstreams that businesses need to address to take advantage of the omnichannel revolution. These are:

  1. Vision & Business Case
  2. Data & Tech Audit
  3. Journey Implementation
  4. Organisational Ways of Working
  5. Capability Enablers
  6. Architecture & Platforms

These workstreams break down further into a series of activities that enable our clients to take advantage of the omnichannel revolution. We are now starting to roll this framework across the Havas CX group globally so that more clients can start to take advantage of our innovation in this space.

Figure: Havas CX Omnichannel Framework

Havas CX Omnichannel Framework

For our existing clients investing in omnichannel right now, it is all about first mover advantage – this promises a real opportunity to steal your march on competitors generating higher returns and much greater CX efficiencies.

If you would like to hear more about this new way of doing things and the tangible benefits and investment case for your own organisation, then reach out to me at

Ben Cockrell
Head of Strategy and Data at ekino London, ekino.
DataIQ Top 100 most influential data practitioners in UK organisations. Over 15 years’ experience within customer strategy, data strategy and marketing technology. Consulted for major global blue-chips in both traditional agency roles and client-side secondments.