Our collective understanding of omnichannel marketing has evolved rapidly over the last half decade amid head-spinning advances in technology, data analytics and customer demands.

The next phase of omnichannel may be the most exciting of all, three Quad leaders said during a roundtable discussion at The Millennium Alliance’s February Transformational CMO Assembly in Austin, Texas.

The reason: Brands are increasingly focused on harmonizing online and offline efforts to produce more impactful work that lands with greater authority on chosen audiences.

They are doing this by integrating data across channels to provide a full-spectrum view of customer behaviors — something that moderator Aaron Horowitz, Vice President of Business Development at Rise Interactive, a Quad company, describes as “data transparency.”

Rather than narrowly viewing and then acting on data from just one channel at a time, the most successful multichannel marketers today are seeking a single source of actionable cross-channel data to inform their campaigns.

But not just data; marketers need insights, Horowitz added. The whole idea is to see how marketing efforts are working across the customer journey while delivering a common, frictionless experience. “Are you getting the insights you need to inform your campaigns across all your channels and across the full customer experience?” Horowitz said.

Horowitz was joined by Vicki Shamion, Quad’s Vice President of Enterprise Solutions and Client Strategy, and Erin Slater, Quad’s Head of Financial Services Strategy, in facilitating an hour-long roundtable discussion for an audience of 20+ leaders from media, technology, retailing, consumer packaged goods and other sectors. The conversation revolved around leveraging insights, building stronger relationships and maximizing impact through omnichannel marketing.

One of the biggest opportunities in the evolving omnichannel ecosystem, the Quad leaders shared: The ability to integrate digital-centric marketing methods with print that results in seamless online-to-offline campaigns, such as digitally and physically optimized catalogs.

“For our business partners, connecting the customer journey across all marketing touchpoints is critical,” Shamion told the audience, referencing Quad’s capabilities in intelligence, content production, media, direct marketing and in-store. “So, we’re on the front end helping with connections planning, as our clients are progressing through multichannel journeys for their respective customers.”

One of the big challenges for brands in omnichannel marketing is building a robust and integrated tech stack for aggregating data, Quad’s panelists said. For marketing and IT teams, that creates a unique opportunity for collaboration between IT and marketing in creating strategic road maps and capital plans to realize the full potential of omnichannel approaches.

“Customers today want to participate in a conversation with marketers and not be talked to,” Slater said. “I think that’s an important theme in building meaningful relationships with your target audiences.”

The ultimate goal is to make the omnichannel journey frictionless for both marketers and customers, which helps encourage engagement — another especially important element of the modern customer experience.