Omnichannel and Multichannel: Separate Words (Worlds Apart)

Just as marketers had grown comfortable with the idea of the multichannel opportunity, an even shinier object came into view: omnichannel marketing. And because no one wants to be caught using last year’s lingo, omnichannel has quickly jumped into the vernacular. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they represent two very discrete notions. The more marketing technology matures to support true omnichannel campaigns, the more important knowing the difference will be.

So, let’s rewind and clarify what makes a campaign omnichannel versus multichannel before we look at why omnichannel is an increasingly vital approach to reaching and persuading consumers. Then, we’ll explore some of the challenges that we currently face when attempting to run true omnichannel campaigns.

A multichannel marketing strategy is one delivered through more than one channel. You see a TV commercial for a product. Later, you may see a banner ad for that same product while you’re on the internet or hear an ad while listening to the radio in the car. The marketing wisdom is if you know your customers are splitting time between a myriad of different touch points, hit all those touch points to ensure that, at some point and on some device, the customer gets the message.

Omni, on the other hand, means in all places. However, an omnichannel marketing strategy is more than just delivering a single message in all places. Unlike the more brand-centric multichannel, omnichannel is very customer focused. The goal is to deliver messages that are relevant to where customers are on their journey with a brand — to be omnipresent and omniscient about each customer’s needs at different points in time.

An easy way to discern the difference is if you imagine your campaign is a story. With a multichannel campaign, there’s a good chance your customer may hear the same chapter through different channels. This repetition is boring, and it may make the customer shut down mentally.

With an omnichannel campaign, you’re revealing a different chapter at every touch point. They may be exposed to one part of the story as they drive by a billboard. Then they’ll hear another part on the radio while in the car. Perhaps a third part will unfold as they’re browsing the internet on their PC at work. When they get home, they hear even more of the story during a podcast they listen to on their mobile device.

It’s more personal, and the holistic story builds deeper interest and better understanding — and, hopefully, drives purchase intent with customers. It is as if you’re walking alongside, helping them on their customer journey.

Omni Challenges

Multichannel campaign executions have become common. There are few brands that would only advertise on TV or solely on social media, for example. Omnichannel, on the other hand, is far from ubiquitous. In fact, full-fledged omnichannel marketing deployments tend to be rare because following a customer from device to device and from online to offline is incredibly complex, as is the identification of what stage a customer is at in the buying process.

A multichannel plan tends to make assumptions about a customer’s position in the purchase funnel, according to the type of media with which they’re interacting. TV, for example, is often considered good for general awareness-building, whereas digital retargeting is used for pinpointing customers who have indicated purchase consideration by their behavior, such as having looked at shoes on a particular merchant site on that same device. In the latter example, however, to leverage this as a truly omnichannel experience, the fact that they looked at those shoes and the ensuing offers related to this knowledge would also need to follow them from device to device.

How can a marketer possibly know that it’s the same person from device to device? There needs to be a “glue” that can hold together all the messy moments within the chaos of consumers’ ad-infused daily lives and preferences. While we know the main ingredient of that glue is data, it’s still a huge challenge to link together the multiple mobile moments and other digital touch points created every day. We leave a little trail here and another trail there, and sometimes those trails just don’t connect.

Siloed organizations are also a big part of the problem. Different departments have control over different parts of campaigns, and the data they collect can be found quite literally underneath different desks in different offices, stored on various hard drives, for who knows what reason. If there’s no single place to centralize and unify an organization’s data, then there’s no way to see the connections or to leverage them as part of an effective end-to-end journey.

Technology is another challenge. Legacy systems designed to run basic single-channel customer interactions are also typically unconnected. A marketer may have a sophisticated programmatic or social platform, but lacking interconnectivity across and between systems can create huge gaps in the ambition for a holistic campaign.

But all hope is not lost. Marketing technology is evolving rapidly to meet these omnichannel needs. And while no single, simple, plug-and-play solution has yet emerged, we can work with our existing tech stacks to get our data in a place where we’re close to the omnichannel dream.

In my next article, we’ll explore in more detail how marketers can better align the components of their tech stack to position their brands for omnichannel success, from ways to centralize data and implement workflow solutions for easier campaign set-up to the types of analytics needed to understand how different channels work together to drive your best performance.

Kerry Bianchi is President and CEO of Visto, a technology company bringing transparency, interoperability and accountability to digital advertising.

Forbes Technology Council is an invitation-only community for world-class CIOs, CTOs and technology executives.

Originally published in Forbes on 12/26/18.

What Will Drive The Adtech Conversation Come 2019?

Kerry Bianchi, CEO of Visto talks “What’s Hot for 2019 vs. That’s so 2018”

Goodbye Multichannel, Hello Omnichannel

How can you up your customer engagement game in the new year? Make 2019 the year you focus on omnichannel. Unlike message-based multichannel campaigns, true omnichannel campaigns are customer-centric. Instead of repeating the same message in every marketing channel, tell a multi-faceted story – one that unfolds as customers continue on their journey with your brand at different touchpoints and different stages of discovery. It’s more personal and relevant and will deepen the relationship in the end.

Out with Outsourcing and in with In-Housing

This past year, the buzz continued about brands’ struggles with inventory quality and fears about the lack of financial transparency. Even so, programmatic media buying is still outsourced more than any other marketing function. But that’s changing, and in 2019, expect mounting concerns about trust and control in digital advertising to drive more brands to take back the reins and either look to bring this function into their own organizations or garner more control and transparency over the process.

LTV Supplants ROI

ROI metrics tend to be focused on a point in time and assigned to specific marketing expenditures and actions taken close after the marketing has been seen. Lifetime value requires deeper understanding of customer behavior over the long term and better analytics about how loyal, engaged and valuable they will ultimately be to the enterprise.  While it’s certainly simpler to divide a monthly or annual spend by the associated number of registrations or downloads in that period – the deeper nuance about how those customers then renewed or purchased additional products and services over a longer period of time versus canceled or let their engagement expire after the initial term provides important and necessary information about which marketing is working the best and deserves additional investment.

2018 was the year of Transparency, 2019 will be about Accountability

With continued marketer and governmental scrutiny on advertising practices this past year, the digital advertising conversation was once again focused on transparency which in turn drove the creation of tools, standards, and industry groups all working to ensure marketers got a better view into where their ad spend was going. But sheer transparency and reporting is not enough. In 2019, we expect to see a new emphasis on accountability, and all of the partners in the supply chain will be under increasing pressure to be more proactive in how they protect advertiser investments and also take responsibility if things go wrong.

From Marketer-driven to Customer-focused

Marketers have often approached their media plans through a purchase funnel lens and selecting different media channels for each stage of the funnel – TV and out of home for brand awareness, print and digital during the consideration stage, search at point of purchase, and the like. However, marketers are getting more customer focused, thinking not only about media and marketing by channel, but focusing on the end to end customer journey – learning how, when and why customers engage with their messages so they can be customized and placed for best impact. We see this manifested in the ad tech world through the growing interest in CDPs versus just DMPs and more granular attribution and creative testing software and analytics.

Headlines Change From Agencies Versus Consultants to Agency Reinvention

Last year’s headlines were riddled with speculation about how consultancies like Accenture and Deloitte would continue to encroach on ad agency turf. Agencies were forced to play defense against the onslaught of this new competition, exacerbated by public statements of client dissatisfaction and concerns over transparency and trading practices. What we’re seeing now are agencies ready to go on the offense, many with fresh C-suite changes, sweeping reorganizations, rebranding and repositioning which we expect will be watched closely to see which reimagined agencies will truly reinvigorate the agency landscape.

Originally published in Adotas on 12/18/18.

Visto CEO, Kerry Bianchi Wins 2018 Silver Stevie

Congratulations! Visto’s, CEO, Kerry Bianchi for receiving The 2018 Silver Stevie for Most Innovative Woman of the Year – Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations category. The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honor women executives, entrepreneurs, employees, and the companies they run– worldwide. The Stevie Awards have been hailed as the world’s premier business awards.

More than 1,500 entries were submitted this year for consideration in more than 90 categories, including Executive of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Company of the Year, Startup of the Year, Women Helping Women, and Women Run Workplace of the Year.

“In its 15th year, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business received a record number of nominations. With the new Women|Future Conference preceding the announcement of winners on November 16, it was a day to celebrate the achievements of working women around the world,” said Michael Gallagher, founder and president of the Stevie Awards. “We congratulate all of this year’s Grand, Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners for their achievements.”

Details about the Stevie Awards for Women in Business and the list of Finalists in all categories are available at www.StevieAwards.com/Women.

Eric Siu from Growth Everywhere Podcast shares the mic with Kerry Bianchi, CEO of Visto

GE 274: CEO Kerry Bianchi on How Visto’s Sales Team Became Key to Their Customer Acquisition Success (podcast)

Hey everyone! In today’s episode, I share the mic with Kerry Bianchi, President and CEO of Visto, a company dedicated to bringing transparency and accountability to digital advertising.

Tune in to hear about how Kerry started from the agency side which set her up for success, what spurred Visto’s desire to democratize the process of trading media and marketing, why marketers are freaking out about transparency, and how she helped enact a major change in the company by enhancing the internal communication.

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • [00:45] Before we jump into today’s interview, please rate, review, and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast!
  • [01:45] Kerry came up through the agency side of the business.
  • [02:25] Seeing it from the other side has set her up for success.
  • [02:40] Visto is a command center for management programmatic ad buying.
  • [03:10] Plug everything in, use all the partners you want, and track how your money is being spent in a very transparent way.
  • [03:45] She loves that there is a robust marketplace.
  • [03:59] It’s her job to bring great tools together into one place.
  • [04:20] Visto came from Collective, an ad network.
  • [04:50] Visto thought they could democratize the process of trading media and marketing.
  • [05:30] They split the Collective into two divisions: one for Visto, one for a legacy managed services business, which was later sold off.
  • [07:41] There are three core channels to which Visto is selling: ad agencies, media companies, and marketers/brands.
  • [09:25] Visto has a subscription fee that runs in the multiple thousands per month.
  • [09:56] Marketers are freaking out about transparency.
  • [11:05] Transparency in pricing, but also ad fraud and viewability.
  • [12:15] At the end of the day, whether you call it “performance” or not, there is a focus on having a KPI at the end of the day.
  • [12:45] There is a greater focus on measurable steps and proof that the advertising is working.
  • [13:30] The legacy business already had great relationships, which gave Visto access to clients.
  • [14:40] Referral streams are really helpful.
  • [15:15] The Visto business model is completely different from that of a SaaS company.
  • [16:10] Some people had to move into new roles, while they also had to bring on new people.
  • [17:15] Communication is key.
  • [17:30] Change is unsettling, so make sure people always understand what is going on (internally).
  • [18:30] They have a quarterly all-hands and share info from board meetings.
  • [18:50] They also have bi-weekly meetings where they update everyone on the sales cycle.
  • [19:06] The Visto teams also have a lot of one-on-one’s.
  • [20:00] When Collective was transitioning, Kerry was brought on to help implement the change.
  • [20:30] The company wanted to put their existing business on the Visto platform.
  • [21:05] By the time that they launched Visto, they were ahead of all the potential questions that could be asked.
  • [21:25] Visto was a complete product when they launched.
  • [21:38] The sales team has been key to customer acquisition.
  • [22:06] Content and thought leadership has also been great for marketing and outreach.
  • [22:55] Unlike a pure start-up, they had to make sure they didn’t drop the ball on the existing business.
  • [23:15] They had to make sure one side of the business didn’t suffer at the hand of the other.
  • [24:05] They had a lot of employees who were dual-focused for a long time.
  • [25:25] The older business became a client of the new business.
  • [26:33] Make sure you build in rest/recuperation time so you don’t burn out.
  • [27:15] If an email is not urgent, write it out and schedule it to send later, so you don’t interrupt people after work hours.
  • [28:40] Tools Kerry thinks has added value to her life are the connection tools (LinkedIn, etc.).
  • [29:20[ Kerry recommends the book Catch: A Fishmonger’s Guide to Greatness.

Originally broadcast September 24, 2018, on Growth Everywhere.

Amazon is Breaking New Ground in AdTech with ‘Video in Search’

Amazon, the e-commerce retail giant, is all set to test mobile video ad placements in product search pages – a bold step in taking its advertising business to new heights, in clear competition with Google and Facebook.

Amazon’s ‘video ads in search’ feature is currently being tested and the organization has invited various global brands to participate in the test process. Amazon has not yet confirmed or conveyed all the details about this new ad product, publicly.

Features and Aspects of ‘Video in Search’

As per company sources, ‘video in search’ will aim to engage Amazon customers with rich audio-visual content in the form of video ads, which are to be shown below the search results. Users can view them when searching for products using selected and relevant keywords (chosen by advertisers). These video ads will support two types of campaigns: a) product detail page campaigns and b) custom landing page campaigns.

MTA spoke to the following industry experts regarding this news:

Kerry Bianchi, President and CEO, Visto

“As Amazon builds its advertising empire, it makes sense to put its energies into one of the fastest-growing ad segments: video. And I expect advertisers to be quick to test it out. Amazon is already an attractive ad platform for the unique insights into buying intent it can derive from search and browsing behavior. I would expect advertisers will welcome the addition of video, with its power to connect on an emotional level while delivering deeper brand messages. That said, Amazon will still need to prove strong ROI before there’s widespread adoption, as advertisers will need proof that the premium pricing and minimums required to get started are worth it.”

Krish Sailam, VP, DWA

“These ads will help set the stage for brands to use video for direct response, similar to what YouTube is doing with YouTube for Actions. The difference with the Amazon use case is that these videos should be used to explain key product use cases or highlight reviews rather than traditional brand messaging. The storyboard for the videos has to be different – it has to be more customized to the mindset of an Amazon customer who is in the app actively searching for a “solution.”  These videos can be a great vehicle for building trust with the user, rather than just awareness. This trust is more powerful than consideration in my opinion.” He further added, “I think it presents a great opportunity for brands to crowd source video reviews and use those as the video ads in search.  So in summary, the new offering is relevant, but I think Amazon has to work with Advertisers to find the sweet spot in terms of what video in search means for the consumer. You can’t assume a regular 15s or 30s spot will make sense in a search result, especially in a commerce flow like the Amazon app.”

Craig Benner, Founder and CEO, Accretive Media

“Amazon’s in-search video ads should be highly successful as long as they don’t overdo it.  Video has already proven to be the most emotive, response-inducing format in online.  So now you couple sight, sound, and motion with a consumer that has already shown explicit interest in a specific product segment by searching for it.  That’s as powerful a combination you can hope for.  It’s like showing someone a TV commercial for your restaurant the minute they say they are hungry!”

Ryan Lester, Director of Customer Engagement, LogMeIn

“Video is a great way to engage with a potential customer assuming it’s the right customer.   Blanketing video ads can feel invasive or annoying to customers that aren’t serious buyers.  On the flip side, seeing a product in action or hearing positive reviews can certainly help convert a sale.   In order for video ads to be truly effective and deliver strong ROI, they need to be reaching the right audience and be a seamless part of the customer journey.  Meaning that if a customer takes the time to watch the video, it’s imperative that customers are able to ask questions or buy the item right from that experience otherwise it can feel disjointed and you run the risk of losing them.   In a world where consumers expect companies to be able to almost predict what they want, retailers need to have a better understanding of their audiences, their demands and expectations. This is where AI can play a key role in helping brands identify consumer intent, know how and when to market to them, and provide a better overall experience.”

Fernando Saiz, CMO, Tappx

“Amazon’s recent announcement confirms a trend that we have seen at Tappx, which is that mobile in-app advertising is significantly growing in video formats and complexity. There is no doubt that video is an information superconductor i.e. highly effective, engaging and fun. Video ‘superconductivity’ is priceless in the mobile app environment, as moving images and sounds can convey a huge amount of information in a very short space of time. Whereas with static ad formats e.g. banner ads, buyer immediacy and intent can be diminished when consumers access relevant information i.e. friction is created, and micro-moments are lost. So, if video ads improve the buyer experience, should one expect an expansion into organic product listings? At present, Amazon customers have to experience premium advertisements within the Amazon mobile app. In the mid-term, we are likely to witness a highly visible increase in video advertising across the entire e-commerce ecosystem, and it probably will be extended to search results, specifically in industries where visual appeal is most important in the buying decision process e.g. travel or real estate.”

This article was originally published in MarTech Advisor 8/27/18.

The Tech Blog Writers Podcast – The Company Bringing Transparency and Control to the Advertising Industry

By Neil C. Hughes. Tech Podcast – Discussing Tech Trends Such As Blockchain, Crypto, AI & Startup Stories..Discovered by Player FM and our community.

With ad fraud, click fraud and bringing programmatic in-house becoming a hot topic in the news, I invited Visto, CEO, Kerry Bianchi onto my daily tech podcast to learn more about Visto and insights from the advertising industry.

Visto is a technology company dedicated to bringing transparency, interoperability and accountability to programmatic advertising. Most recently, Visto released its white paper on multi-platform optimization, which discovered that the best programmatic ROI requires a multi-platform strategy.

The goal was to help marketers, agencies and media companies find the best path to performance, and through this test, they were able to see without a doubt that the ability to evaluate and transact centrally across multiple platforms will drive better return on advertising spend.

Kerry Bianchi discusses what Visto is doing to help the digital advertising swamp as well as upcoming partnerships and product announcements.

Copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio streamed directly from their servers.

Study: Programmatic Works Best For Publishers On Multiplatforms

Advertising technology provider Visto released a study yesterday highlighting some of the ways advertisers can gain the most traction from their work with publishers.

As the study notes, on average, 80% of purchased digital ad placement is done using programmatic exchanges, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The results of the study conducted by Visto shows advertisers that use a multi-format plan to execute across platforms and publishers increase their supply path optimization by 10 times.

The study used the Visto Enterprise Ad Hub’s Multi-Platform Optimization tool to compare campaigns running on 50 publisher properties in 10 metro areas through four industry-leading execution platforms built to access premium inventory.

The study found that using the highest cost platform might not yield the best results;  multi-pronged approach worked more effectively.

Video and display impressions were evaluated across desktop, mobile and video screens side-by-side in real time. Visto found that no single platform performed the best under any scenario and that conditions tended to influence the outcome, even for the same site.

When comparing differentials between the lowest and highest performers for various KPIs, Visto found the following: a 10 time improvement in cost per completed view on Weather.com; a six time difference in viewable CPM for ads served on TheGuardian.com; a $250,000 higher CPM cost for 100 million ad impressions on AOL.com; and a five times difference in cost per click for Zillow.com.

Additionally, the study reported the average advertiser used 4.2 DSP partners for programmatic buying in April of 2018. This doesn’t include channels like Facebook and Google Adwords. Visto’s tool is meant to offer transparency and control across “the programmatic ecosystem,” while offering advertisers “the benefit of unified performance and pacing metrics.”

Kerry Bianchi, President-CEO of Visto, stated: “Those who elect to use just one DSP, SSP or exchange partner, will unfortunately find one size does not fit all.”

Originally published in MediaPost: Publisher Insider on June 22, 2018.

Can Omnichannel Marketing Exist in a World of Walled Gardens?

Adweek Opinion: Others in the industry are already working more cooperatively

The advertising and marketing industries are currently facing two seemingly contradictory problems. First, there’s the confusion of “too many,” the result of a vendor ecosystem that has grown at an unbelievable pace. Second, there’s a problem of “too few,” stemming from the overwhelming dominance that Facebook, Google and, now, Amazon have in the digital advertising ecosystem—dominance they’ve achieved through walled garden strategies.

The too many problem will, most likely, work itself out, whether through acquisitions or companies simply throwing in the towel in a too-competitive environment.

The too few problem, on the other hand, may be growing. And if you’re an omnichannel marketer, for whom the holy grail is centralized audience management, anything that closes access to the invaluable consumer data that powers your campaigns could be a potential disaster.

Add to this tempest the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which institutes stricter requirements for consumer opt-in for data processing, and Facebook’s data use changes in response to recent furor over data misuse. With the announcement that Facebook is shutting down its service that enables third-party data providers like Acxiom to offer their targeting directly on Facebook, it seems like the walled garden has been encircled by a brand new moat.

So, what is an omnichannel marketer to do? If we’re not able to connect data sets, how can we properly execute, measure and evaluate cross-platform campaigns? If external data sets can’t be widely used on Facebook, will that platform essentially become a customer-relationship-management tool? And if GDPR limits the ability to do advanced granular targeting, will we end up with strategies that look more like the old, mass, blunt reach of traditional media?

Unfortunately, for those in digital advertising, this is not a new problem. In an ecosystem where the dominant platforms’ walls were already high to begin with, we are all too aware that unification is not the natural state of our industry. We’ve always needed multiple systems to manage and measure campaigns if we wanted to operate in a sophisticated manner, but that’s becoming unwieldy. The alternative—“settling” on a single partner for the sake of ease—comes with the knowledge that the lack of choice can result in missed opportunities for richer and more profitable performance.

So, how can you get the ease of operation that comes with having a single partner, along with reach, flexibility and visibility across multiple vendors? What we need is someone to normalize and unify the data, as well as the results, which would enable us to transact more freely and more effectively across the entire ecosystem.

We’re already seeing demand for action from the brand side. In fact, in a recent report, Forrester Research marketing analyst Joanna O’Connell recommended that brands audit their existing tech partners based on what “omnichannel” means to them and to look for the vendors providing the “connective tissue” of the ecosystem that helps various marketing technology and advertising technology tools talk to and work with each other.

And while that omnichannel definition may vary from brand to brand, it’s unlikely to include current status quo of siloed metrics and transaction methods.

I’m hopeful that the impact of these recent developments will bring about positive change, increasing industry cooperation and development of tools that will support data unification and ease of execution across both walled and open systems.

And even as some are building up their walls, others in the industry are already working more cooperatively. For example, media giants Viacom, Fox and Turner worked together to create OpenAP, a cooperative, advanced advertising platform that has already signed on more than 800 media agencies.

Another step in the right direction is the IAB’s acquisition of DigiTrust, a neutral ad ID service that, with the support of the IAB, should see rapid, global adoption. Other industry darlings like blockchain and ads.txt also smack of greater cooperation and unification of measurement and shared data ownership.

Omnichannel is a wave that will not be denied. As marketers increasingly demand the ability to find their audiences across a growing number of screens and formats, it’s the partners who support unification and communication across the ecosystem that will have the strategic advantage.

Kerry Bianchi is president and CEO of programmatic technology company Visto.

Originally published in Adweek 6/8/18.

MarTech Interview With Kerry Bianchi on the World and Future of Programmatic Advertising

Episode 116: Kerry Bianchi Shares the World and Future of Programmatic Advertising

In this MarTech Interview, Douglas Karr interviews Kerry Bianchi, the CEO of Visto. Kerry is the leader in the programmatic industry, a board member of IAB, a Top 50 Women in Brand Marketing, and 2017 Silver Stevie Award winner for “Female Executive of the Year, Business Services – Computer Services and Software. Kerry is the CEO of Visto, an enterprise programmatic advertising platform.

Visto is at the center of programmatic media, bringing transparency, interoperability, and accountability to programmatic advertising. In this discussion, we speak to the opportunity for brands to leverage programmatic advertising, the challenges of ad fraud, the impact of GDPR, and the evolution of the industry – including artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Douglas Karr has worked in the marketing and technology space now for over two decades, preceded by a decade in the newspaper, direct marketing, and direct mail industries. He’s respected throughout the world as a passionate and relentless marketer who has helped hundreds of companies advance their digital marketing strategies.

Founder of MarTech Zone, a publication and podcast reaching over 1 million visitors and listeners each year. Keynote and Public Speaker who speaks on technology innovation, B2B and B2C buying behavior, and digital marketing. Podcast Co-host of Dell Luminaries, a leading podcast interviewing the greatest minds in technology. Published Author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies, the original Content Marketing guide for businesses.

The Visto Enterprise Advertising Hub is a vendor-agnostic platform that unites all of your programmatic media technologies in a single user-friendly interface. Gain ease of control over disparate systems and more transparency into performance analytics to optimize ad spend, drive efficiencies and increase ROI.

Originally Published on MarTech Interviews Internet Radio.

IAB Women Visionaries Panel Video

Bring Your Full Self to Work: Building an Inclusive Culture

Danielle Lee and Kerry Bianchi focus on the importance of fostering workplace environments where our cultural roots and our unique, multifaceted layers of attributes, skills, and experiences are acknowledged, understood, respected and allowed to flourish. Check out the IAB video of the conversation here.