Omni-Channel Marketing is dead, long live this thought

I happened to be at Paul Writer’s Great Indian IT Marketing Summit and Awards in Bangalore recently at the gracious invitation of Jessie Paul. Plenty of exciting stuff no doubt, but this one  hit a nerve. Does Omni-channel really not matter anymore? See the video

Frankly, I am not sure I agree with this premise on Omni-channel’s death so easily. My problem is with the over simplistic either-or argument put forth in favour of face-to-face marketing, vis-a-vis omnichannel communication. By first principles, omnichannel marketing would include a very wide variety of channels including online and offline. And within online you have many classifications such as mail, mobile ads, content marketing and so on. And within offline you have print ads, pole kiosks, signages at airports, outdoors, event based marketing and sports marketing etc. In rural India ( called ‘upcountry’ in sales/marketing parlance), the best channel for consumer goods, for example, is the wall painting. But they don’t necessarily result in conversions, but act as reinforcing cues. I consider F2F to be part of this offline media.

In long transaction based buy scenarios such as IT, where the sales cycle is long, has multiple touch points and multiple influencers within the target organisation, no single channels can suffice or act as a substitute for the others. The buyer – influencer combine has also become more complex over a period of time, more receptive to messaging via different channels.

How many times do you get to do F2F at the outset itself and win the client based on this? Probably a minuscule percentage.

So what am I saying: While F2F is a great opportunity, other elements of omni-channel tend of ‘soften the target’, to borrow a combat terminology. In real life, F2F happens much later in the cycle. So if you can wait for a CXO to give you a time after six months, well, in that time, competition would have reached out to his team and him in ways more than one and well, isn’t that called omni- channel anyway.

Anyone agrees?

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