One of the reasons that marketing leaders and other professionals attend conferences is to get a reality check on what their peers and other companies are doing. Are we in-line with industry best practices? Is anyone else struggling with this marketing activity? While attending the DMA2014 Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Diego on Monday, I decided to apply this theory to see how both small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) and enterprise companies are faring with their omnichannel marketing strategies. The responses I received from attendees were enlightening.For instance, one of the people I spoke with at the event is the head of direct marketing for a large bank. The bank has about 750,000 customers. However, the bank is just starting to dip its toe into the omnichannel marketing waters following a few years of heavy IT investments in other areas.
I point out this example for a reason. There's a general perception that because enterprise companies have deeper pockets and more resources than SMBs, they're further along the omnichannel path. However, many attendees I spoke with at DMA2014 say this isn't necessarily the case.
"Everyone is at various stages (with omnichannel marketing strategies) and no one seems to think they're doing it well," says Renee Badura, vice president, omnichannel sales strategy at QuadGraphics. As Badura and other executives at the conference pointed out, it's more difficult for larger companies to be as nimble as SMBs at executing on omnichannel strategies.
A big part of the conundrum plaguing enterprise companies with their omnichannel efforts are the organizational silos which prevent different marketing teams from coordinating customer messaging across channels, says Kerry Reilly, director of product marketing at Adobe Campaign. Plus, silos between marketing groups often result in inefficiencies and missed opportunities with customers, says Kristin Flor, managing director of business development, marketing, & PR at HackerAgency.
One of the perks to being smaller is that SMBs often have a single marketing budget instead of individual budgets that assigned to different channel marketing teams within enterprise companies, says Reilly.
It's not just a question of whether companies have the wherewithal to expand their omnichannel marketing reach. As Targetbase president and CEO Mark Wright notes, "smart companies aren't just looking to add channels. They're looking to improve their use of customer intelligence and using that to connect to the bigger picture with consumers."
Still, many enterprise companies are struggling to integrate their omnichannel marketing teams. Bill Burkart, president and COO at KBM Group, points to a large retailer where print campaigns are driven out of the East Coast by one team while email campaigns are handled by another group in California. Customer communications aren't integrated and the company risks bombarding its customers with redundant and/or irrelevant messaging.
"It's almost like they are two different companies," said Burkart of the retailer's marketing teams.
This omnichannel divide maps with a study released at the conference by Yes Lifecycle Marketing which finds that two-thirds of marketing executives surveyed at large companies fail to coordinate campaigns across channels.
There are other factors that play into the omnichannel journey for both enterprise companies and SMBs. For enterprise companies, "more customers means more data to contend with," says Christopher Lester, vice president of sales at Emma, Inc..
However, there's at least one aspect of omnichannel marketing that SMB and enterprise marketers have in common, says Emma's Lester. "Everyone (in marketing) is feeling the pressure to prove their worth."