A Day With Irvan Permana: An Insider’s Guide to Omni-Channel Marketing
Yours truly, the writer of this article, has been in constant contact with Ivan Permana for almost a full decade now. Working on a handful of projects together, we’ve been through the ins-and-outs of the many facets of marketing; from the many branches of digital marketing, social media marketing, SEO optimisation and content marketing to name just a few. And of course there’s the varied and wide reaching webs of ‘multi-channel marketing’.
It’s the last section that got my head scratching when hearing the first instance of ‘omni-channel’ marketing. What is its difference with the good old ‘multi-channel’ marketing? After all, for all intents and purposes, both ‘omni’ and ‘multi’ stem from Latin origins with generally the same meaning: ‘more than one’.
And Irvan Permana, being the Head-of-Unit at Pathfinders, was the perfect person for me to enquire about this distinction. After all, Pathfinders describes itself as ‘a brand and retail design consulting unit that helps define the optimum direction for your brand. Starting from brand audit, strategic brand development, communication strategy and brand visualisation, Pathfinders redefines the brand and retail experiences that are relevant to the consumer behaviour’. In specific and more succinctly, Pathfinder is about ‘Brand, Retail Design and Omni-Channel Marketing Services’.
So we sat down on a bristly Tuesday afternoon at NAVA+ headquarters to settle this matter once and for all.
I’ve been pondering this issue for a bit. Upon further research, apparently the words ‘omni’ and ‘multi’ are indeed similar, but distinctly different. The former means ‘all’ and the latter is ‘many’. Can you clarify the difference in the real world of marketing?
Well, good point. To clarify this further, I’ll need to take the ‘scenic route’. Because a simple explanation would just not cut it.
What you mostly see these days is the more ‘traditional’, shall we say, multi-channel marketing. As to why that is, it’s quite simple: because it’s simpler and easier to grasp. As you say, in its literal sense, it simply means ‘many’. So in essence multi-channel marketing simply means utilising various channels of marketing in order to promote a brand.
That’s where you get ‘Above the Line’, ‘Below the Line’, ‘Digital’, etc. And that spawns into social media, billboards, TVCs, digital marketing and so forth, that are the most obvious ways for a brand to promote itself and raise awareness. And of course there’s e-commerce, which is needless to say, one of the most efficient ways of ascending one’s brand into the consciousness of the market.
Yet in most senses, these are simply marketing tools that stand on their own. They’re not necessarily ‘interconnected’ with each other. In essence, there isn’t a good degree of ‘one-consumer experience’.
Then may I deduct that ‘omni-channel’ marketing addresses this imbalance?
Indeed. As with what you alluded to before, ‘omni’ means all. So it’s all encompassing. It includes everything and connects all the marketing tools to provide a wholesome experience for the customer, which of course in turn, provides the brand with better awareness.
What happens with omni-channel marketing asks the question “how can we define one consumer-experience across any channel?”.
Can you give me a concrete example of what you mean?
Let’s say a clothing brand runs a physical, brick-and-mortar, store. Through this channel, customer interaction is part and parcel of the business. Customers are able to experience the entire journey: from pick-and-choosing, trying it on, interacting with the staff and so forth.
Yet the journey usually ends there. The customer goes home and won’t think about the brand until the next time they need to purchase an item of clothing.
And this is where the omni-channel ‘frame of mind’ comes kicking in. We try look for different ways of answering the question I alluded to before. How can we continue keeping the brand in the customer’s consciousness after their journey experiencing one specific channel (purchasing at the store)?
By getting the customers to shop at the online store?
But it goes deeper.
The other question is how is the customer able to experience the same levels of comfort and convenience when shopping online as opposed to the physical experience? What will make them visit the online store in the first place? What incentive can a brand provide them to go and click that ‘purchase’ button on their digital screens?
To answer those questions, the idea is to use as many marketing channels as possible. Let’s say the brand offers customers vouchers to be used online. Let’s say it’s a discount for their next purchase online.
The voucher marketing ‘tool’, shall we say, reinforces the other marketing tool they’ve experienced, namely their in-store experience. Once they’re happy with what they experience in-store, they’ll be more likely to attempt the online experience. Especially with the added incentive of vouchers.
And once they’ve experienced the joys and convenience of online shopping, another marketing tool comes into play.
Got it. That’s already three marketing tools that are working ‘inter-connectedly’.
That is indeed the whole point of omni-channel marketing.
Digital ads, be it banners, targeted campaigns, online bulletins. The list is very extensive really, and it’s certainly not just digital marketing. You can take it further with billboards and physical advertisements and a whole host of other tried and trusted marketing tools.
But the goal remains the same. It’s to keep that particular brand on the ‘top-of-mind’ of the customer by using as many marketing tools as possible, while keeping them inter-connected.
One marketing channel doesn’t stand independently from the rest. They work seamlessly with one-another.
While Irvan’s answers gave me a deep insight into the workings of omni-channel marketing, our interview didn’t end there.
We went deeper into specific case studies as well as a comprehensive profile of Pathfinders and its universal goals.
Click on the hyperlinks below to read more.