Dealing with an Omni-Channel World

Big Marketing Industry Problem #5: How San Diego leaders are addressing the issue

The AMA has identified “Seven Big Problems in the Marketing Industry” to provide critical context to the challenges all marketers face. The fifth major problem is “Dealing with an Omni-Channel World.”

With the proliferation of social media, mobile devices, always-on communications, the Internet of Things and multi-channeled markets, marketers are now tasked with incorporating omni-channel methods in strategies and tactics.

Firms need new capabilities to take advantage of the omni-channel world. Focus is not on how to maximize one channel but on how to link between channels. Further, the transfer of information is no longer from organization to consumer; communication now flows from and to the consumer.

In this article in our Seven Big Problems in Marketing Series, we outline the solutions to the AMA’s fifth big marketing industry problem articulated by leaders in the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective.


Ideally in an omni-channel world the customer experience would include a flawless transition between the all engagements with a brand, regardless of the type of engagement. Essentially, all available outlets for interaction with the brand would work together to form one consistent and seamless experience.

omni-channel marketing, omnichannel marketing

A simple example would be the content on a company’s website about product availability in-store, would be accurate when the customer arrived at the store.

It is common to see consumers in-store with a connected device. The goal in this situation is that capabilities on mobile applications would enhance the customer experience such as provide opportunities for customers to access relevant content on a product of interest, rewards/loyalty program access, or instant online ordering (if a product is not readily available).


Participants in AMA San Diego’s 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective are aware of the importance of presenting a unified brand across all possible engagement platforms.

  • There is a need for marketing generalists in-house who can direct and oversee marketing campaigns regardless of whether the digital and traditional output is performed in-house or with an agency. Those working within marketing departments are not assigned to one area or another (e.g. digital or traditional). All are involved in strategy and execution of tactics.
  • For some, understanding how consumers make decisions drives the channel and content choice. For instance, in the Tourism & Hospitality industry, guests do research online and then book their trip directly with the brand. As a result, messaging on review sites is different from messaging on the brand’s owned digital properties. Responses to online reviews are posted immediately to guide guests along their booking journey, as if they were in-person or on the telephone.
  • Food & Beverage organizations use multiple communications channels regardless of the ability to directly measure ROI, to assist in keeping their brand top-of-mind at the moment of purchase.
  • Arts & Culture and Sports, Recreation and Lifestyle Industries are incorporating both brand-generated video content and consumer-generated video content in marketing plans to induce an immersive experience for those not engaging with the brand in-person.

Ultimately, marketing leaders are working to evolve marketing practices to align with customer behaviors.


An important trend associated with the omni-channel world among brands that participated in the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective is the pendulum swing to supplementing digital marketing with traditional marketing. There seems to be a resurgence of interest in integrating traditional tactics with digital approaches to engage target audiences from multiple perspectives.

While some brands are not fully onboard with integrated marketing, many marketers no longer make decisions about digital marketing without considering the traditional and vice versa. They fit together and each is treated as valuable when looking at the marketing big picture.

The act of integrating marketing with all forms of communication (advertising, direct marketing, public relations, social media, etc.) works to form a holistic and unified experience for consumers. One organization in the Government & Community category recently implemented a multi-channel campaign to target high level executives planning to attend a tourism conference. The overall campaign was positioned under a rebrand. Marketers integrated direct mail, advertisements in industry publications, out-of-the-box marketing ideas such as using Fitbit to track the number of steps required to get from one destination to another, public relations and social media tactics into the campaign. Feedback received and analysis conducted throughout the multi-faceted campaign will be applied to future campaigns creating a continuous cycle for improvement.


Customer experience is a “hot topic” in marketing circles and dealing with the omni-channel world adds a new level of challenge in the evaluation of the entire customer experience. While some are just starting to look at and consider the customer journey others have done extensive work to understand what customers truly want or expect at each touchpoint. By getting to the core of what customers really want through research, companies can provide more appropriate services and build stronger brand loyalty across all platforms.

Considering every point of interaction with the customer, not just those in-the-moment instances, provides opportunities to improve the customer experience.


Knowing and understanding your customers and how they interact and behave relative to your brand is critical to successful marketing campaigns as we deal with an omni-channel world. Being present where your customers are, especially when they are actively looking for what your brand offers, can increase return on investment (ROI).

Q2 Insights, Inc. in partnership with FreshForm designed, implemented and reported on the AMA San Diego Marketing Leaders Study.

Marketing is changing. The mindset of your customer is changing. The most successful companies understand and embrace change.

Today’s marketing leader must be more agile, data-focused, and customer-obsessed than ever before. We spoke to CMOs, VPs, and Director-level marketers from a variety of B2B and B2C businesses to learn how this shift in marketing is impacting San Diego.

Our 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective is available now at no cost!

About Heather

Heather Hatty is a Project Manager at Q2 Insights, Inc. a research and innovation consulting firm with offices in San Diego and New Orleans. she can be reached at (985) 867-9494 ext. 2 or