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Re-thinking omni-channel marketing

February 7, 2017
A colleague asked me recently if there were any benefits to integrating Google Adwords to his outbound marketing tool.That question made me pause, and I thought about the bigger question: forget specific tools like Adwords for a moment…are there any advantages to integrating SEM/PPC and outbound marketing strategies in general?

My conclusion was: yes, absolutely. Furthermore, if you’ve followed my blogs or attended my presentation at the 2016 CRM Evolution conference, you would be entirely correct in jumping to the conclusion that the answer is yes because it has to do with the ideas around omni-channel marketing.

First, let’s set some baselines around the terms we’re using in this blog post:

  • SEM/PPC: Search Engine Marketing / Pay-Per-Click. That part-art, part-science endeavor of making *your* ad appears above the other guys’ ads, and on the first page of results, whenever someone searches for your brand on Google. And sometimes on other search engines too.
  • Omni-channel marketing: It’s not just a synonym for multi-channel marketing, rather, it’s taking multi-channel marketing to the next level. It’s not just engaging your audience in the channel they prefer, such as email, or your website, or social media, etc.; that is the definition of multi-channel marketing. Omni-channel marketing, on the other hand, is about making sure that your message is consistent across all those channels along with your brand, your logo, your promotions, etc.

Now that we understand the definitions, what does SEM have to do with your outbound marketing efforts, and how does omni-channel marketing play into all of this?

Well, think about the effort you are putting into coming up with just the right keywords for your Google ads, and the right target audience/segment, and the right ad content/call to action. Most likely you are already making sure that the landing page for that Google ad has the same look-and-feel, the same logo, etc as the ad itself.

Omni-channel marketing takes it further: it takes the same keywords, the same messaging, the same segment, and applies it to your outbound marketing efforts as well. Think email marketing: you’ve worked hard to come up with the right target audience/segment for SEM. Why not use that same segmentation with your email campaigns? What about your promotions/call-to-action in your Google ads? Can the same or similar message appear in your outgoing emails? And your social media posts?

If you agree that you can, and should, use the same keywords, segments, messaging, etc. across all interactions with your customers, in other words, if you practice omni-channel marketing, then integrating your Google Adwords to your outbound marketing tool is the right tactic.

How you do the integration is beyond the scope of this blog post and depends on which outbound marketing tool you are using. One of the advanced tools like Infor Omni-channel Campaign Management, for example, has built-in analytics that helps you build target segments that support your campaign goals. In that case, integrating Infor Omni-channel Campaign Management to your Adwords means exchanging segment data between it and Google.

Other tools will need other levels of integration to Google Adwords. The key concept here, is that yes, there *is* value to integrating your SEM efforts with the rest of your outbound marketing strategies.

By Bob H. Nguyen, P.E. – Principal Business Consultant
  • Worldwide
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