Why Omnichannel marketing is the way forward

Why Omnichannel marketing is the way forward

Customer-centric marketing strategies work better than business focussed ones. Delivering customer experiences has been our forte at efficaci and omnichannel marketing is one of the best enabling tools for us. First up, omnichannel marketing is bespoke and it is unique to every business.

Understanding omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing strategies meet customer needs at their chosen touchpoints to deliver high-end customer experiences. The customer chosen touchpoint could be social media marketing platforms, blogs, physical locations, newsletters, customer delight calls or live chats. 

omnichannel marketing

The most critical aspect of an omnichannel marketing strategy is brand interaction and delivering brand-consistent conversations (messages and interactions with customers) across a plethora of devices and technologies. This is a customer-centric marketing strategy and customised according to the touchpoints, making it a ‘delight’ experience.

An omnichannel marketing strategy should focus on creating a seamless customer experiences, so we can connect all the touchpoints using the data collated, unify them and deliver. 

We should tie each interaction of the customer to all other channels to spin a singular, delightful, seamless, and a joyful experience. In short, it is a unified service offering. A happy customer is ready to give you more business and information in the future.

Example: 

A customer visits your store through a Twitter Ad, puts a few items in the basket and leaves without making a purchase. How do you handle the abandoned cart communication? What should you do to retain or regain the customer?

  • Since Twitter is a preferred channel for the customer, send a Direct Message along with re-targeted ads.
  • You have the email address of the customer, so you should email with suitable content.
  • Since the customer comes from Twitter, he is a heavy social media user. Re-targeted ads on other social media platforms using demographics would be a great idea.

Understanding Cross-channel, multichannel and omnichannel

The objectives of all these marketing strategies are similar, conversion, however, the difference lies in the perspective of a customer. We execute all these strategies in bespoke ways and get different conversion rates.

Look at the comparison table below:

omnichannel marketing

Why adopt multichannel marketing?

There are many advantages to adopt an omnichannel marketing strategy. Let us discuss the three major ones.

  • Enhanced data collection through customer journey analysis: Collection of insights and analytics becomes easier and comprehensive because of enhanced customer experiences through omnichannel marketing. You can trace and collate engagement data across channels and touchpoints [Cookies, device id’s, tracking pixels CTRs, open rates etc.] resulting in deeper insights into customer journeys. Customer preferences, interactive behaviour combined with insights can help you identify profitable opportunities to grow faster. Identifying the best performing channels will help create better experiences and you have to tweak them as required.
  • Build better and better customer experiences: While building better and effective campaigns, you can promote better personalisation using internal synergies and collaboration. This will help deliver amazing customer experiences by reducing marketing funnel friction, improving website flows, and creating relevant content. Use enhanced customer experience to drive better targeting through personalisation.
  • Spend more and save more: Fine-tuning your marketing spend gets easier. Increasing spend on channels that work and weeding out others can be an initial strategy. However, more effective campaigns bring better revenue. So, by cutting marketing spend and increasing ROI, it turns out to be a win-win to adopt omnichannel marketing.

Planning an omnichannel marketing strategy

We at efficaci believe in bespoke digital marketing strategies and omnichannel marketing is right up our sleeve, because it is unique to each business.

An omnichannel strategy results from collaboration within a well-integrated business where the major stakeholders are: 

  • Customer Success
  • Sales
  • Product
  • Marketing

Internally, your business has to ask and identify what the above departments expect from customers. The information needs to be collated and frozen. This information should contain, from each of departments:

  • The need to improve the present strategy
  • Recommended touchpoints
  • Touchpoints that are not effective
  • Touchpoints your business is ignoring
  • Touchpoints of core customers

There is no right or wrong marketing strategy. The way ahead is to create an omnichannel marketing strategy, A/B test it, and tweak it as you go. Wash, rinse and repeat.

Critical headless CMS

We have discovered that using a headless CMS is the way to go to create omnichannel customer experiences that are truly effective. The creation part of the strategy, like visual assets, messaging etc. should be segregated from delivery mechanisms.  

The delivery mechanisms and collection of customer data and insights should be a unique process. This is highly critical to collect enhanced customer insights. Again, customer experiences depend on delivery logistics and there are too many delivery platforms out there.

Conclusion

Simply put, customer experiences are highly effective. For experience, wear the customer’s shoes in a buying journey from a business that practices omnichannel marketing . As a marketer, that will be an eye-opener.

At efficaci, we strive to empower brands, accelerate their digital transformation and create bespoke customer experiences for them to succeed and sustain.

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Minimalist branding – A comprehensive guide

Minimalist branding – A comprehensive guide

The current ongoing trend in marketing, minimalist branding has been trending for years. According to the grapevine, this trend will speed up and overtake the detailed and gratuitous marketing. Subtle, sleek and crafted with care, minimalism is more complicated than the detailed. 

This minimalist trend stresses upon the use of intellectual and psychological abilities of marketers instead of design skills. It is also called ‘more from less’, minimalist branding used very little variety of colors and images to get the message across. 

Minimalism is already clear in the simple landing pages, ads and Instagram. For many businesses, it is a combination of digital and physical. Therefore, for business that stick to a single channel, minimalism is as important.

Though simple and ‘more from less’, minimalism takes a lot more understanding of the brand, its objectives, mission and vision to put in place. 

In this thought-provoking article, let us look at some critical information on how minimalist branding can weave across digital and traditional assets to bring best results. Do keep these in mind while branding in 2022.

Minimalism explained

Minimalism has its roots in Japanese design. The Japanese Zen Monks practiced creating sand gardens with the ‘yohaku-no-bi’ technique, meaning “the beauty of blank space”, to improve focus and concentration.

The minimalism movement has its roots in WWII and started just after in the art and music domains. It was born out of reaction to the chaos of urbanity and excess of abstract expressionism, minimalism has since expanded beyond the founding ideologies. At core, minimalism is design at its most basic form. Removing excessive use of textures, shapes, colors and other design elements to address an intention or creation is the primary focus. It is known that architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe pioneered minimalism, and he was also the pioneer of modernistic architecture who believed in ‘less from more’.

minimalist architecture

The above architecture is a Ludwig Mies van der Rohe design from over 70 years ago. It is under construction after 50 years of the architect’s death at Indiana University in the USA,

Minimalism emphasizes on exacting focus using a cohesive and unified framework like the building above. The aim is to turn the focus on the product or service, subtly, by calming the mind and enhancing concentration. Do not mistake minimalism to be an art of bringing focus to an image or product with a dark background. No, it is the art of bringing focus and intent by removing all redundant elements.

A minimalist brand expounds the business personality clearly. And, creating a new brand or rebranding with a minimalist approach requires brainstorming with all stakeholders in the business. Consider customer analytics and current marketing practices as critical elements while working towards a decision.

Minimalism is holistic

Just having a minimalistic design on your brand is not enough. The minimalism should come through in all imagery, content, design and all other digital and traditional elements used to create collaterals, ads or websites. Clean imagery, to-the-point text and lots of negative space are mandatory to create the required minimalist brand. Remember, minimalism doesn’t work half way.

For digital businesses, holistic minimalism is critical. The website design, the content, the blog, social media platforms, and all branded ads that go through the gate should have consistent branding. For traditional business too, all collaterals need to send the same message to the world.

Minimalism is all aspects of business is demanding and creating and continuing the process is hard work. However, over time, when your brand grows, it would be a very satisfying experience to see it occupy a special place.

Minimalist branding is highly elegant and pleasing to the eye. Any inconsistency in such branding, during any exercise, can disconcert to the eye.

Elements of minimalism

Minimalism is about decluttering. Just like the human mind that gets distressed when decluttered, your brand will come across as truthful, simple, trustworthy and focusses on products and services. Minimalism, believe me, is classic and timeless. Ask any fashion designer worth his or her salt and they will agree, even if they do not embrace it.

Minimalism is also about consistent simplicity that not only captures the viewer’s attention, but keeps it too.

All of us keep a lot of unnecessary stuff at home because of our own internal needs. Maybe it is not such a bad thing, however, clutter is clutter, irrespective of the thousand reasons to keep them. Did you ever think to throw all that unnecessary stuff away and getting some clean breathing space?

Anyway, minimalism stands on four pillars:

  • Less is more
  • Negative space
  • Colors, textures, contrast
  • Visual consonance

a. Less is more

I was talking about home a few seconds ago, decluttering your brand does not make it bland. Can you imagine the happiness, when your friend comes home, sees all the decluttered space and exclaims “man, it looks so clean…”. What is your feeling? So, when you keep what is necessary and discard the rest, that’s minimalism for you. 

Back to business. Minimalist branding would mean letting your products and services shine through by cutting across unnecessary elements in your logo, website, product design and everywhere else. This is not emptying the space. We require this to ensure that the focus is on relevant elements.

Such an exercise makes your brand look elegant, like your shiny home, and impresses eyeballs. Remember, you cannot just go minimalist by changing collaterals, someone should ingrain the concept into every element and aspect of your business.

b. Negative space

It is normal for a human eye to be drawn to an object that has space around it. For example, you can see a lot of photographs around homes that are frames with negative space around them.

minimalist branding

So there is nothing negative about negative space. The absence of elements in a space is the negative space (designers jargon). Negative space makes minimalism powerful.

The above website template is a good example of website design. You are seeing different shades of gray on a wall and a human sitting on the stairs. Think, if the white background had a different color or assorted elements, you would have missed this entirely, especially the person sitting. This is creative use of negative space to help the viewer focus on what is important.

No wonder many businesses are adapting to minimalist branding to set and attract consumer focus to grow.

c. Colors, textures, contrast

Minimalist branding does not mean black and white, with shades of gray. You can use colors, but choose them wisely. High contrast and loud colors do not go with minimalist branding. Matching colors and tonal gradients will make your brand much more appealing. Using same colors across collaterals but altering the textures can bring in better minimalist design with a variety.

Use low saturation colors, complementary colors and stick to 2 or 3 colors, no more. These are enough to achieve the desired minimalism by experimenting with placements.

d. Visual hierarchy and harmony

Visual hierarchy is the secret to bring viewers focus to elements that you want them to focus on. It is the relationship between visual elements. Designer use grids to place elements and create a hierarchy. This helps them to use sizes and shapes to create the effect that they want.

Visual harmony is to create the correct relationship amongst all elements of a design to get the desired effect. This includes colors, pictures, typography and all other elements that are used in the design. 

Visual hierarchy and harmony together create the symmetry and breathe life into minimalist branding.

Examples of minimalist branding

Most luxury brands are minimalist, however, minimalist branding can have other takers. Luxury brands use minimalist branding with a sense of finesse and not as a science. Now, let us look at some great examples of minimalist branding that most of us use, one digital and another traditional.

Google

Google’s search page has forever been like this with minimal changes. Other search engines, like AltaVista and Yahoo, had too many attractive elements on their search pages. The reason why Google has not only survived but thrived…

For google UX has always been a priority. All of Google’s products like Maps, Gmail, AdSense and AdWords come with intuitive controls and simple minimalistic branding.

Apple

THE man that founded Apple, Steve Jobs was a minimalist himself. He followed Zen Buddhism, and it comes as no surprise that Apple’s first ever brochure said “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Apple has always followed minimalist branding in its product design and marketing strategy.

minimalist branding

Therefore, all of Apple’s products have minimum moving parts and revolve around the same philosophy of minimalist design integrating circles and straight lines as the basic elements. Apple has always advertised its simplicity even in iOS and other apps that it built.

Minimalist branding – The pros and cons

As we found minimalism has focus and concentration, it has the highest ‘signal to noise’ ratio. However, ‘minimalist may not set the tone for all domains or businesses. 

Pros

a. Classic design with timeless shelf-life

Minimalism is not new. Every wardrobe has the little black dress or the dinner jacket or an Oxford shirt tucked away for the occasion. It has existed for centuries and these classics never age or even if they do; they do so gracefully.

b. Better branding

Similarly, minimalist branding ensures brand recall owing to the minimum elements it uses, because of the absence of distractions. The elements present create focus, and it will be difficult to forget a minimalist brand.

c. User experience

Minimalism is about printing the minimum number of elements to the users to absorb information quickly. This weeds out clutter and is definitely a better UX than most quirky designs that we see elsewhere.

Cons

a. Not suited to everyone

A media website that needs to display news, videos, images and text cannot be minimalist and it would defeat the purpose. All domains cannot integrate minimalist branding and it is wise to ponder and think through before you opt for rebranding. 

b. Audience approval

If you already have a long running successful business, you will want to consider audience acceptance. Your target audience may not relate to minimalist branding and the entire exercise could fail. So, please analyze with market reports and data before you take the plunge into minimalism.

c. Negative space risk

Too much white space can be hard to handle. Yes, your design could go either way – elegant and classy, or tacky and bare-bones. And white space projects everything. A minor mistake can be risky. Optimum use of white space is very essential to minimalist branding.

Conclusion…

Minimalism is not a passing trend and is a deeply ingrained philosophy because it is classic and timeless. Consistent simplicity is what you need to achieve from minimalist branding. Think Apple or Google. 

There is no compulsion to adopt minimalism. It is your choice and a business decision. As a CMO, if you are looking to opt for it, let us know how we can be of help.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Is cloud computing for you? A perspective

Is cloud computing for you? A perspective

Cloud computing is no simple term, but it is neither as complicated as you may think. This post gives you the simplest definition of what cloud computing offers and its potential in the coming years. Once you read this completely, you should be completely convinced that you should move your website to the cloud immediately.

Why cloud computing?

Everyone is connected to the internet these days, at least everyone I know is. So, it does make sense to keep all your data and apps over the internet instead of your hard disks, USB drives and other storage devices, isn’t it? Simple, has the internet instilled enough confidence about the security of your data or apps to make use of it it on a regular basis, professionally? For example, whenever you use Google Drive or tune into iTunes you are using cloud services. So, it did, isn’t it?

In this article, we will see the advantages of keeping your data on the internet a.k.a, the cloud.

Before I come to that, I remember it was 2013 when I was backing up my data on to Dropbox since I was quitting my job. Though I understand software, it seemed that I did that quite well and viola, I got home and never could access the data again, not even today, it’s just vanished. Dropbox has been there since 2008, the problem was that I was not an early adopter and never could figure out where I went wrong. What did you think I did? Of course, swore, never to use cloud storage again. I am sure many of us have gone through such harrowing experiences, some, more than once.

cloud computing
‘You’re pretty new to cloud storage aren’t you?’

But then, somewhere along the line, I got used to using the Google Drive [probably found it much simpler to use] and today I use many other cloud spaces including Dropbox. In fact, this very website is hosted on Google Cloud. Along the learning curve, I found the cloud storage helped me to:

Be flexible with my data

Yes, I can access my data anywhere, anytime I need to including on the mobile phone. Dealing with AI databases, I do store huge volumes of data out there and believe me, it is so simple to use. And, since I run a small business, it also opened my eyes to using it as PaaS [Platform as a Service], SaaS [Software as a Service] or IaaS [Infrastructure as a Service]. Nothing to be confused about, it is just about how you want to go about using the cloud to suit your business needs.

A little more explanation – PaaS is used to host a customised application for your business so that your employees, vendors etc. can use it to fasten your business processes. SaaS deals with applications that are already on the cloud or your own application built on the cloud to offer subscription for business to use [Example – Google Drive].

In a nutshell, we can say that PaaS allows companies to come up with customised applications suited to their needs, while SaaS requires them to choose an application to subscribe to. So for SaaS, the service is provided by a host that also manages the application itself. IaaS is about using the resources on the cloud to get your work done. [Example – Hosting your website]. Again, all these can be used in tandem, as required for your business.

Why I use cloud computing?

Available all times: Resources on any cloud computing platform are available all the time or you could say it is on-demand. You don’t need all that paperwork and the IT department to do the job for you.

Device independent: You can call and use any resources you need using your mobile phone, laptop, home computer or even a tablet, all you need is a consistent internet connectivity which is not a challenge anymore.

Shared resources: Cloud computing or storage is a multi-tenant model which means that the same resources can be shared at the same time by various users without any security risks since privacy is controlled through multi-layered security protocols and passwords. This kind of resource pooling is like living in a gated community but sharing the resources provided without any security risks. You still have to lock your house though!

Scaled resources: If you are running a business, you can well understand that you will need excess resources, probably for a short period of time and those requirements will be needed ‘yesterday’. Cloud computing is equipped to take care of such needs at a second’s notice. You can scale your requirements as needed, for as much time as needed and billed for it, as used, no more, no less. And, remember, in most cases, this is automated with detailed reporting.

Pay per use: Yes, cloud computing is based on a pay-per-use model, with detailed reporting of what you have used over a period, you are billed accordingly, so no extra money wasted or extra resources lying idle somewhere.

Why I moved to the cloud?

I am a very orthodox businessperson and believe in cost-cutting but not by cutting corners or at the cost of customer satisfaction. I look for value for money and cloud ensures that I get it. How?

Reliability: Assuming that your cloud provider is down due to some reason, which doesn’t normally happen, your data is automatically backed up on a parallel cloud where you can access it easily. So, the cloud is highly reliable. Cloud technology works on a distributed data management system [OMG, another acronym DDMS].

Flexibility: You could have employees or providers across the globe and yet get the best out of them using the cloud. Since it is omnipresent, the flexibility of scaling, costing and accessibility that a cloud can provide is enormous.

Recovery: Since your data is on the cloud, for example your WhatsApp chat data is backed up on Google Drive, it is very easy to get that data recovered in a matter of minutes even if your phone is bricked and you get a new one and login with the same credentials. In a business scenario, this becomes highly important once a local server or a laptop go bad suddenly.

Environment friendly: As a result of using cloud computing, your cost of maintaining IT infrastructure reduces drastically. You are not only cutting costs but also running a business that does not contribute to global warming.

Security: Believe it or not, cloud computing is the most secure way to store your data. Since most cloud providers use Linux servers, they are not prone to virus or malware attacks. Also, since clouds are simpler to configure, access level securities are quite possible offering no chance to the hacker community to test their skills.

Instant monitoring: Since the cloud is always at your disposal, it is very easy to figure out your reporting in a jiffy. It is easy to check how many tissue rolls you have sold in Indonesia and what is the inventory left sitting at your plush corner office in Chicago. You don’t need to send emails to-and-fro and find out inventory or sales requirements.

Implementation: Many still think that cloud implementation is a complicated process. Yes, it is, depends on the purpose of implementation, But, again the advantages it brings are enormous and implementation is only a one-time process.

Investment: Cloud computing is an investment, yes, but look at what it is going to save you over the next two years in terms of resources and time, and how it can bring efficiency into your business and elevate the opportunity costs. Not to mention, having that ever heavy-headed IT department around. Compare costs, you will see that the investment in cloud computing initially will only be a fraction of benefits it will bring.

Competition: Last but not the least, adopting cloud computing is going to shoot you up through your competition. Take for example, hosting your website on the cloud – your website becomes faster than most of your competitors and speed, as you may know is one of the marketing factors that matters most to your customers as well as SEO.

Conclusion…

Cloud computing has been there for a decade now and it has improved leaps and bounds to create ripples in the business and technology arenas. In fact, most businesses are making it a priority to shift to the cloud because of the advantages it offers. More and more cloud services are taking birth every day, so it caters to more needs of your business than you may think. I can well understand that following the cloud industry is not your forte for you as a businessperson, but giving it an hour of your valuable time in terms of research and your competition can give you important insights that could boost your business.

If you are looking forward to migrating your website to the cloud and need some expert help, we are always here to help you make the transition.

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