Picture this – a man wakes up. He quickly checks any messages he has on Social Media on his phone. He has a look at the headlines on his tablet as he sits down for breakfast – even probably on his commute to work. He checks out a couple of possible gifts for Mother’s Day, stopping at the retail outlet to pick them up. And once he gets to work, he might sit down with his laptop or desktop computer to read an article in depth.

Apart from the gift buying, this might well be a typical day for many people – throw in some fitness bands and smartwatches and you will quickly see that the number of devices that a person uses has grown.

What this translates to is a huge opportunity for a marketer!

But the reality is something else. Very few brands have managed to integrate the journey of a customer across all these channels.

Think of all the data that a customer leaves in each of these channels. Despite having that, and the technology to connect it all, each time a customer switches channels, it feels like you have to build a view of the customer from scratch!

On the other hand, the customer has evolved demands – he wants a highly personalized experience across every touchpoint he uses: he wants to pick up where he left off previously.

There may be multiple channels. In fact, most businesses today have them – they have an office, a brick-and-mortar store, they have a website, and they have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. These are multi-channels until they all work together to represent one entity and offer the same consistent experience across channels. A business moves from a multi-channel approach to an Omni-Channel one, when every platform or device that a customer would use to engage with it, is tracked and accounted for. The data that is gathered from these offer the customer a completely integrated and consistent experience. So as you can see, while many might have multi-channels, not all of them offer the Omni-Channel experience, says eminent Astro Strategist™ cum Business Astrologer™ Hirav Shah.

How can you do digital presence count ?

Hirav Shah says, “This is called Digital Presence Management – with an Omnichannel strategy, powered by data.

Think of all the channels as under one umbrella. Don’t think of them as separate entities. This will only create more trouble. When everything is connected – the marketing strategy covers all channels from one point. They are all not individual channels with separate strategies – but this one strategy covers all. When this happens, multi-channel becomes Omnichannel – and customers can hop from one channel to another, pick up where they left off and not feel like they have switched touchpoints. Marketers don’t formulate strategies for independent touchpoints – but cover everything with one umbrella master plan. This will avoid things like trying to sell (online) a customer something he already bought in a brick and mortar store! Which will only end up annoying him!

Hirav adds, “By thinking from a customer’s point of view. If you think from the business’s angle, you think of Multiple Channels. But when you see things through a customer’s eyes, you will see how you can bring it all together to form an Omni-Channel experience. Times have changed. And with it, the way businesses and their customers engage with each other. So forget the old way of doing things – don’t think of customers as a bunch of leads but as individuals. Try to find different ways to personalize each of their interactions with the brand.

It is very important to get a single view of your customers. This might be a challenging thing to do, but it is very important. A customer may interact with your brand through many channels and the data from all these touchpoints must be consolidated in order to get a single view of a customer and understand him well. You can also sensitively ask the right questions and use the information along with all the data that you pick up from the touchpoints to understand each person and his personality. Engage with your customers in the channel that they prefer – not the way you would want it. Keep all the channels open and work towards providing the same consistent experience on all of them.

At the end of the day, it is all about using the data that you have!

Wrapping up the discussion, Hirav Shah explains, “You don’t have to tear your hair out trying to figure your customers out. Or know who they are. Your data! At every touchpoint – and all you need to do is get it all together and draw insights about each of your customers from this. You can understand their online behavior – you can tell what they would like and what they wouldn’t – and so what messages will work with them and what won’t. That way you can send him the right messages at the right time through the right channel.

Managing customer data carefully and safely is very important when it comes to building your customers’ trust.