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The Key to Omni-Channel is Containers

There are two challenges to enabling an omni-channel marketing strategy. The first is having a central location where a unified customer strategy can be accessed by any channel.  This part of the solution is straightforward through the implementation of a central decision hub that runs behind all your channels. The second is a more challenging component —  How do you communicate from the central decision hub to each of your various channels, many of which have different interfaces and different needs? For example, a call center may need to show the top three reactive offers, a website may need to show eight offers in separate sections, and a mobile device might need to show just one. It sounds like a tricky problem, but the answer could be quite simple: Use containers.

Imagine a fictitious healthcare provider web portal, broken up into various sections. Conceptually, this can easily be expanded to other industries by keeping the layout and changing the specific content.  In this example, these sections include:

The hero image is the main message, calling attention to the upcoming flu season.

A secondary section shows a message about ordering samples.

Another section has used analytics to predict that the customer is likely to want to reprint an invoice from an order made a couple of days ago.

Other sections provide contact information, offer details about trials, educate the customer, inform them of a local charity event, and provide emergency contact details.

Healthcare provider web portal

Now, re-imagine the sections of the website as a series of containers. Each container is its own self-reliant marketing strategy — its own next-best-action served up by the central decision hub.

Website broken into containers

Now let’s eliminate some of the containers and re-arrange them slightly.  We can use this as our email strategy. These are the exact same containers we used for the web channel, the same next-best-action and the same marketing strategy. What we’ve done here is bridged the gap between digital and outbound through the use of containers.

Rearranged containers

Let’s review one more example. Imagine that we reduce this down to two containers. The first container now returns the top three reactive offers to deal with customer need, and the second container returns the top three proactive offers with a focus on cross-selling and proactive retention.  Let’s use this as our inbound call center strategy.

Reduced down to two containers

Again, it’s the same containers used in the web and email examples above, but something is different — the presentation of the offers. Once the call center representative clicks on an offer, a pop-up window appears with detailed information on the offer and clear disposition buttons for the agent to give feedback. Notice that the image is much smaller than in the web and email channels and that agent scripting is now provided. This change in the presentation of the offer is known as the “treatment,” and it can vary by channel. What remains the same across all channels, is the marketing strategy which has been served up through containers. This concept should expand to all your channels, with the only variations being in channel-specific treatments.

Bringing this all together,

The solution is to communicate to your channels through a single interface using containers.  The alternative would be to create a unique interface for each of your channels, which can lead to significant work and is not a scalable solution for integrating future channels.  Containers are the key.

Want to learn more? Check out our white paper, The Evolving World of Omni-Channel Orchestration