There is No Offline

February 27, 2018

Close the Gap Because Consumers Have!

Consumers do not consider brands, products and services in terms of online versus offline. We live in a physical world, informed by connected content. We browse in-store, buy online, and have things delivered to our homes—or the other way around. To have the widest reach, the deepest loyalty and the highest conversions, today’s marketers need to have one content strategy when considering all the ways that consumers interact with their products and brands. Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart put it best when he said that he doesn’t have a digital strategy but rather an everything strategy.

As marketers, we simply cannot think of online and offline separately. At any moment, consumers are searching, browsing, reviewing and discovering products and services across smart and wearable devices, formats and environments. Marketing messages have to come first, before allocating resources to online and offline channels. In the digital age, figuring out what to say to consumers is far more important than figuring out where to say it.

Here’s an example of how this might work: Your retail store—with a brick and mortar location and a robust e-commerce site—just launched a new new product.

Retail is no longer diverged between physical and digital. Consumers just want a seamless experience. So that is what marketers need to solve for.

The best way to win customers is by offering an ingenious blend of all options.

The research is out there—very few companies think their integration process is completely optimized, yet most actively prioritize integration.

But erasing the online versus offline dichotomy goes even deeper. Hidden behind those e-books, apps, magazines, catalogs, blogs and news-feeds are real people. As consumers, we each expect businesses to communicate with the same level of care and respect regardless of how we choose to interact with a brand, product or service. We expect to be recognized, acknowledged and rewarded for our time and money and loyalty.

Be more effective with integrated marketing by thinking from the customer’s viewpoint. Create personalized messaging for the full range of channels and experiences. This moves customers.

Abandoning the notion of online versus offline makes it possible to create a unified experience for consumers that rewards them for staying engaged with your business or brand. Giving consumers a seamless experience rewards them for their loyalty and prompts them to reward you with word of mouth referrals and positive online reviews. And more purchases.

As far as consumers are concerned, there is no gap between online and offline — it’s time marketers close it as well.