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PHOTO: Matthew Brodeur

As the number and variety of channels customers use to interact with brands continues to grow, delivering an omnichannel marketing strategy has remained a priority for organizations large and small. Yet six primary sticking points stand in their way.

1. Lack of Integration

“Mismatched segmentation across tools is a huge issue that silos customer data, creating an inconsistent and unreliable view of customer experiences. Platforms that don’t integrate well with existing CRMs, social media marketing tools or account-based solutions make it harder to grow business and move the needle,” said David Greenberg, senior vice president of marketing for Act-On Software.

Tools that improve omnichannel experiences need to be nimble and help marketers address the complete customer lifecycle, Greenberg added. “This is where brand devotion grows, not just in select touchpoints like lead generation. By improving marketing stack integration, we can better understand what resonates with customers and what doesn’t, improving how we communicate with them on relevant channels.”

Properly integrated marketing stacks also connects directly to business growth because they help marketers attract new customers while enhancing existing relationships at every touchpoint, according to Greenberg.

Related Article: Old MacDonald Met a Data Silo: E-I-E-I-O

2. Lack of Investment

When some brands try to tackle the omnichannel challenge, they don’t commit to the investment needed for success, according to Matt Erickson, marketing director for National Positions.

A brand new to pay-per-click (PPC) might expect to post ads, which will drive all the new lead traffic they need, Erickson said. While the brand might initially invest thousands, but only convert two out of every 100 leads into a sale.

Further investment — in automation, lead tracking and remarketing — is needed to improve performance, according to Erickson. While some might balk because the initial return is relatively low, they need to look at the entire digital marketing picture to understand the value of the investment.

“The 2% noted earlier is what the brand was able to convert with their current resources to follow up on leads manually with nothing else - no nurturing, no following up,” Erickson explained. “The brand is only considering the 1-to-1 conversion and not the marketing machine, so the ROI doesn't look like it was there.”

However this overlooks several questions: How many leads fell through the cracks? How many days did a response take so interest was lost? How many people saw your ad, clicked it, and then decided they were not sure - but could have easily been persuaded with another marketing touchpoint?

Erickson further explained: “If going omnichannel could convert 10% or 20% more via automated email responses, follow-ups, and proper tracking with notifications for your team would the investment be worthwhile? Marketing is a journey that you must follow your customers on to help them reach your front door- and then open it. And in the digital world, a single avenue will rarely get the job done."

Related Article: The Omnichannel Experience: Once Exotic, Now Expected

3. Incomplete Tools

Moving from multi-channel experiences to omnichannel experiences demands retailers have a complete business and technical strategy for every channel, said Taylor McCarthy Hansen, podcast host for The Ecomm Manager. It’s difficult to align these strategies to enable customers to switch channels and devices seamlessly.

“The technical infrastructure to support this type of customer experience simply doesn’t exist in most retailers,” Hansen said. “Retail businesses cannot take a break to retool. Slim margins mean that short-term revenue goals must be met while any future planning takes place. Updating legacy technologies and supply chains while implementing new technologies including AI, blockchain and IoT is akin to rebuilding an airplane while in flight.”

Related Article: How to Future-Proof Your Martech Stack

4. Lack of CX Focus

Too often, companies offer omnichannel but still offer customers very limited ways to buy products, said Yaniv Masjedi, chief marketing officer for Nextiva.

“Even reasonably large ecommerce sites will, as a rule, not have more than one way of buying their products,” Masjedi said. “When they are brand new it makes sense, there isn’t much money to invest in technology. Once they have grown though, it’s like they fear change and refuse to expand their customer experience.”

The offline world has been forced to adapt, and it has done so remarkably well, according to Masjedi. The online world has viewed itself as the future, and as such hasn’t tried thinking outside the box very much, as it assumes everything it does is new and exciting.

“The reality is that adaptability is what breeds longevity, not sticking with a specific trend,” Masjedi said. “You need to always have one eye on customer experience, and remember that the goal isn’t just efficiency, it’s brand loyalty.”

Related Article: The Customer Experience Hierarchy

5. Wrong Content 'Voice'

Most websites "talk at" the reader, according to Elliott B. Jaffa, a behavioral and marketing psychologist/consultant. Few know how to compose its content "conversationally" to ask the reader questions, suggest they take a quiz, or apply the fear-problem-solution-offer business model with the goal of getting the reader to take some form of action.

6. Mismatched Segmentation

Many companies, especially ones in the mode of "damage control," fail to take the risk of creating new revenue streams/channels, according to Jaffa. The first words of the decision-maker is, "We've never done that before." Yet companies need to develop new revenue streams to keep the cash register ringing. Another fear which businesses must overcome is shutting down channels that fail to produce the desired results.