Last year (2011) was the year that a number of techniques and technologies collided. Best practices across front-end build, the devolution of content creation and Software as a service (SaaS) facilitated through the availability of APIs broke through into the main stream. These features and functions are now a perquisite if you wish to out perform your competition across all platforms in ways that autonomously react to an individuals interests or current quest.
Taking editorial direction from the crowd or pandering to the individual is vital in converting a transient unique statistic into a subscriber or repeat customer. On a global scale the success achieved by the likes of the Amazon through the use of collective buying patterns to create recommended product listings and the Daily Mail online editor singling out the insight provided by reader comments and their use of live analytics results in ‘If you don’t listen to your users then you’re dead’ (http://blogs.journalism.co.uk/2012/01/24/mail-online-publisher-if-you-dont-listen-to-your-users-then-youre-dead/).
Both examples illustrate that executing a multichannel experience strategy is not only possible but a necessity closely correlated to success. The capability of targeting the individual and therefore providing an optimised experience based on their relationships and your collective intelligence is key.
Delivering this success is the responsibility of no one department within your organisation however, success maybe the responsibility of an individual. This person is required to nurture an environment where collaboration on a company wide scale becomes the norm. Collaboration on this scale demands the utilisation of all available (or attainable) technology together with the customer isight thats often found siloed away within organisations.
For many mid-table and semi-successful businesses most of, if not all the required systems and processes are in place and to varying degrees delivering reportable results.
To strive for and succeed at the next level requires a multi channeled experience founded on key business functions coming together to deliver a sum of parts. These parts are delivered although rarely owned outright by IT, marketing, insight, editorial and CRM teams - the nurtured collaboration builds the foundations of a multichannel customer experience or to give it it’s Forrester label cross channel experience.
Technology facilitates the delivery and monitoring required of a platform capable of delivering multichannel experiences. Your website is no longer the sole end point that your digital publishing strategy delivers to, significant traffic will be arriving at your website from an ever increasing number of sources, of which many you have no influence, control or awareness.
Source explosion, be it social or offline has the further complexity of requiring your data to be available to the device making the request. Your response needs to be consistent, accurate and fast all of which increase trust, integrity and credibility that together go towards converting the prospect in ways that count for you business be it from their phone, ipad or office laptop.
Technically your platform needs the capability to identify, classify and respond in the most appropriate accurate manor. Identification now is far more than crudely recognising if the user has visited previously or populating their basket with items that were never bought - these features are a given multichannel is more than this. These givens are similar to the ability to server up ‘related’ adverts to users how have shown even the slightest interest in products or services you provide.
Identification now mean understanding visitor interests, habits and conversations most of which can be mined form the digital world by interrogating the social graph. A multichannel platform publishes out to social platforms and therefore should also respond inline with individuals interests personalising each message and call to action in the appropriate manor.
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I'm Adam Fellowes, I spend my time building trust, inspiring loyalty and improving digital services that customers want to use time and again, find out how...