Five Ways Agencies Can Solve the Omnichannel Problem
“Agencies are going to need to invest in entirely new divisions focused solely on managing multi-channel marketing.” So said Chris Gomersall of Atomized in an Ad Age op-ed last week.
No one questions that channel fragmentation is a big problem for marketers and agencies. As a matter of fact, “omnichannel” has been the buzzword du jour for quite a while, which is indicative of how acute marketer woes are. Mr. Gomersall correctly points out that it has become extremely difficult to manage a campaign coherently, cohesively and efficiently across channels with different formats, tech specs, audiences, platforms and metrics.
Most importantly, this issue goes way beyond difficulty of execution for brands. The fundamental problem is that often, consumers are confused or dissatisfied with the brand experience. Have you ever tried to conduct an online banking transaction, just to be told you needed to call via phone? How did that feel?
However, creating a new division within the agency (or marketer), as advocated by Mr. Gomersall, isn’t the solution.
The irony is that “new divisions” are a standard agency response to market challenges and one of the reasons the industry is struggling with fragmentation today. Years ago, when marketers began shifting spend to digital, agencies created digital divisions led by the chief digital officer. Later would come chief officers for mobile, social, analytics, data, programmatic, native — the list goes on. This is a problem that adding an “omnichannel” layer won’t solve. It will actually compound the effect: another team, with a set of goals different from other teams’ goals, metrics, methodologies and so on. In the parlance of our times, too many cooks.
What if, instead of adding divisions, we actually simplify and have existing ones cooperate? It is harder to do, but it may actually work. Here are five ways agency teams can cooperate to solve the omnichannel problem: