Who Are You Building Your Omnichannel Solution With?

A lot goes into integrating omni channel communications into your company. It doesn’t happen overnight. And you can’t do it alone. The question is: who do you need on your team to make the project go smoothly?

Integrating omnichannel communications into a company is like building a castle. It’s big. It’s ambitious. And you need to include the entire town to make it work.

Here’s how we see it.

The Benefactor

When castles were built, sure it was nobility that wanted it, but often someone else bankrolled the operation—the benefactor. For omnichannel this is the person who is driving the project as a strategic priority for your company. It doesn’t matter if they are C-suite, VP, or Director, this is the person who wants it done, done right, and needs to be kept happy.

Some benefactors understand that building a castle takes time and can run into snags along the way (war, famine, plague, the usual), but others are more ruthless. Understanding your benefactor is key to the project running on track.

Now the work diverges into two paths. There is the work of building and then there is the work of bringing to life. For an omni project this is the separation between the technical side of implementing and the marketing/business side of workflows, content, lists, and execution. Let’s start with the technical first, because you need walls before you can adorn them.

The Architect

The architect is the person with the vision of the completed castle. This is the person who works through all the engineering parts and figures out how all the pieces fit together.

In an omni project this means figuring out what all the components of the system are and how they fit together. Things like which internal systems need to be included, what SaaS tools are important, which communications tools are going to be used and what’s going to interact with what. The architect has the big picture and, together with the benefactor, ensures that plans will work.

The architect does the planning, and often some of the work, but like building a castle, managing the work day-to-day falls to the master builder.

The Master Builder

The master builder is a craftsperson of the highest order. Probably an expert at one or two facets of building, but experienced and knowledgeable about all facets of turning stones into buildings. In omni projects this is a senior developer who knows their stuff. This person is part project manager and part craftsperson. The master builder keeps the plans on time, on track, and has the skills to overcome problems as they come up.

All important projects need a master builder. If you’re short on resources sometimes the architect and master builder are the same person, but having two people lets you leverage each person’s strengths. The architect needs to have the big picture in mind, while the master builder must manage all the details.

With the master builder come a bevy of people who get the work done; the trades and craftspeople who are the experts in their fields.

Trades and craftspeople

The work of building has to be done by someone. Sure the master builder gets their hands dirty now and then, but it’s the myriad of experts—coders and developers for OMNI — who make it happen. The master builder keeps all the various people from dropping rocks on each other’s heads and out of each other’s way. The person working on connecting the CRM doesn’t need to know the details of setting up the SMS or voice connections, but they need to be aware of each other and how their work interconnects. If the master builder does their job, all is well. If not, you have systems that aren’t integrated properly and delays because key parts of the project are out of sync with each other.

Now that the building is under way, it’s time to add the the touches that turn a giant stone building into a work of art. The first person to do this is the visionary.

The Visionary

The visionary is usually a person in Marketing or Customer Success who, with the benefactor and the architect, sees the potential for omnichannel messaging to improve, if not revolutionize, the business. The visionary is the other side of the coin from the architect. The visionary looks at what the business needs are for an omni system and outlines those requirements to the architect. It’s no good to the visionary if SMS with email failover isn’t put into the architect’s plans when an SMS campaign is launching.

Like the architect, the visionary sees the big picture. How all the pieces fit together. How Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success can all benefit from omnichannel communications. The visionary needs to win over the villagers to help them see how amazing things will be when there is one view of customer communications; when you can segment customers and tailor messages to them, and not just the words, but the channel too.

It’s a hard job, but the visionary can do it. The architect will help by releasing pieces and parts of the system to tantalize everyone with what’s coming next. Like the architect and master builder, the visionary works with someone who weaves the vision into something tangible. That person is the bard.

The Bard

In the past a bard wasn’t only a multitalented entertainer, but also a communicator and bringer of news. In this case, the bard creates the message workflows and messages for customers. The bard takes the visionary’s plans and turns them into stories and conversations that engage customers and meet business goals.

Without the bard, the system might be there, but there would be nothing to see. It would be like a castle without entertainment, without song and dance. Sure it’s a nice building, but what’s the story?

The bard isn’t the only person the visionary works with. The visionary also needs three more people to help bring the omnichannel castle into being.

The Counselor

The counselor isn’t someone with whom the visionary talks to when the project gets tough. No, the counselor gives you legal advice. Yes, a lawyer. Regardless of where you are in the world there are rules for sending emails, text messages, and calling people on the phone. You need to know the rules and make sure you follow them.

That’s it. Full stop.

Now if your counselor wants to approve everything your bard writes, that’s a battle this bard can’t help you with. Sorry.

The Merchant’s Guild

The Merchant’s Guild (aka Sales) owns the relationships with people before they become customers. The guild does not want you messing up a deal by sending an ill-timed or ill-segmented message. The visionary must work with the guild make sure the right messages are sent to the right people at the right time.

The guild will be asking the visionary and bard for words to make leads and prospects swoon. Which, of course, they are happy to do. Done right, the guild can be the visionary’s strongest ally in putting an omnichannel plan together. The guild wants people to know about all the amazing things they have to offer. They want that message to go far and wide. What better way to make sure guild members can use email, chat, and SMS to nurture leads?


The Pastor

The pastor helps the visionary win over the rest of the village. Omnichannel communications is an ambitious undertaking. There are going to be naysayers. There will be people who say resources are better spent elsewhere. Wondering why their department needs to integrate into the system. “We want to talk with our customers how we want, don’t tell us how it should go”. Sound familiar?

The pastor and the visionary act as champions in the organization for omnichannel marketing. Usually the pastor is someone in marketing who is marketing, dev, and business savvy. They can translate the vision into something that everyone can support. It’s not an easy job, but the results are great.

Yes, it does take a village

Every big IT-Marketing project truly is like building a castle. There is a lot of planning. There are a lot of stakeholders. And sometimes it seems like it will never get finished. However if you think about all the roles people need to play in your project, and find the right people to fill them. Then, the entire project will go smoothly.

Mar 5th, 2017
6 min read