Marketers have been making slow but steady progress over the past decade. 10 years ago, it was not uncommon for brands to focus primarily on their .com site and use search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) to drive traffic.

More recently, marketers have started using other channels as well, such as social media, mobile and programmatic display. Initially, these channels may have been managed separately, producing ‘multi-channel marketing’, but later, marketers integrated their channels delivering brand messaging ‘cross-channel’.

The latest marketing across channels, though, takes the integration one step further. Instead of just using channels to deliver messages, brands are now developing two-way communications with their customers, using the most appropriate channel to help people reach their goals.

Dubbed ‘omnichannel marketing’, this approach involves profiling customers using a wide variety of data points, mapping customer profiles to communication channels and employing machine intelligence so that customers get the right information, in the right place and at the right time.

Omnichannel sounds – and, to some extent, is – complicated but fortunately the technology is maturing so that just about any organisation can use it to improve their customer’s experience.

But how much progress has been made by brands who are aiming for omnichannel marketing? To find out, Econsultancy surveyed hundreds of marketers across Southeast Asia earlier this year and, in association with Resulticks, produced its latest report: The Omnichannel Imperative.

Econsultancy subscribers can download the report, but below are five highlights from the report for everyone.

For those interested in hearing more about omnichannel marketing, Econsultancy will be holding a webinar on the topic with Jay Pring, Head of Sales for Resulticks on Friday, 26th April at 11:30AM (Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines & Hong Kong), 10:30AM (Thailand, Indonesia & Vietnam). Click here for more information and to register for the event.

1) Omnichannel is a high priority for marketers in Southeast Asia (SEA)

One of the first questions asked of survey takers was about their priorities. From a list of eight (including ‘Others’), respondents were most likely to choose ‘Real-time marketing’ (65%) and ‘Omnichannel Delivery & Engagement (Offline-Online)’ (52%).

This result indicates that providing rapid responses to customer needs across all available channels is the most important task for marketers in SEA, currently.

Interestingly, two technologies which are relatively new in marketing, ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘Customer Data Platform’, were the least likely to be chosen as a priority in 2019.

Marketers in SEA are, apparently, looking for solutions to today’s problems over tomorrow’s.

2) SEA Marketers believe that they are prepared for omnichannel…

Survey participants were then asked to what extent they agreed with the following statement:

‘We take an integrated approach to customer engagement across different channels, leveraging 1st, 2nd and 3rd party customer data, with technology and processes to support this.’

Surprisingly, more than 2 out of 3 respondents (70%) said that they agreed with that statement and around half of those (32% of the total) said that they ‘strongly’ agreed.

With only 18% disagreeing, the report concludes that SEA organisations demonstrate a ‘strong level of confidence’ in their readiness for omnichannel marketing.

3) …and they have the fundamental omnichannel tech in place…

Probing a bit further, we then asked a few questions about the supporting technology that marketers already have in place.

One key part of an omnichannel solution is a database with consolidated customer engagement data. Having this in place allows companies to do more than just send targeted messaging. With customer engagement data at hand, brands can systematically initiate and maintain two-way conversations with customers based on previous responses or behaviors.

Supporting the high confidence from the previous question, more than 8 in 10 respondents indicated that they currently have consolidated customer engagement database and only 1% said they have no need for it.

Organisations in SEA are, therefore, both committed to and ready for omnichannel marketing.

4) …but many gaps still exist.

Confidence and readiness aside, many participants agreed that their current solutions could be better.

When asked more detailed questions about their customer engagement databases, fewer than 1 in 4 agreed that their current implementation was ‘excellent’ at:

  • Recognizing individual audience members irrespective of channel/touchpoint/time
  • Tracking individual audience members from first click to conversions
  • Responding to individual audience members across multiple channels in real-time

While around half said that their solutions were ‘good’ in these areas, a sizable minority indicated that what they were using were, at most, only ‘Okay’ at providing these fundamental omnichannel capabilities.

5) Omnichannel solutions are not currently meeting expectations in SEA

To discover what marketers think about current omnichannel solutions, we first asked survey takers to rate the importance of a variety of capabilities – and then to indicate how well their current vendors perform against them.

Respondents showed that the gap between expectations and how vendors are currently performing is vast for every capability.

While at least 74% of respondents indicated that each capability was ‘Critical’ or ‘Important’, at most 36% of respondents felt that their current solution was ‘Excellent’ at providing it.

Granted, some of these capabilities are sophisticated and difficult to do well, like ‘Multichannel campaign orchestration’ (84% at least ‘Important’, 26% ‘Excellent’) and ‘Multi-touch attribution’ (74%, 23%).

Yet the gap also exists for more routine capabilities, such as ‘User-friendly interface’ (81%, 32%) and ‘Ability to produce both quantitative and qualitative post-campaign reports’ (82%, 31%).

It seems, therefore, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done before brands in SEA will be able to deliver an omnichannel experience which matches their high expectations.

Learn more

Download The Omnichannel Imperative, in associaltion with Resulticks

Attend our omnichannel marketing webinar on the topic with Jay Pring, Head of Sales for Resulticks on Friday, 26th April at 11:30AM (Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines & Hong Kong), 10:30AM (Thailand, Indonesia & Vietnam).