I recently had a chance to participate in Minnesota PRSA panel discussion about omnichannel marketing. More specifically, we talked about how to create a holistic PR and social media strategy by breaking down corporate silos. Believe it or not, my fellow panelists, Crystal Schweim of Olson, Bernice Neumann of Exponent PR and I had scarcely more than an hour to tackle this gargantuan topic. Under the expert facilitation of our moderator, Heather Cmiel, agency pro turned 3Mer, we managed to have a smart, focused conversation about what really matters in omnichannel marketing: customer experience. We spent a surprisingly small amount of time wrangling about who “owns” onmnichannel marketing and whether or not PR deserves a seat at the omnichannel table. And we quickly agreed that yes, omnichannel has a role in B2B marketing as well as in B2C. Why? Because at the end of the day, whether companies are selling medical supply equipment, bank loans, athletic apparel or pizza, there is a real human being, with a real life, real interests and real challenges making the purchase decision. And that person is looking for an exceptional experience — online, offline, in person, at midnight, or in their car — every single time they engage with a brand. So how do companies create seamless omnichannel experiences? The panel shared a few insights that seem to cut across industries: Be collaborative. Tap subject matter experts and gather ideas from all parts of the organization — marketing, R&D, sales, IT, and certainly HR, to name a few. Speak up. Good ideas will always get a hearing, but it may take a few attempts to find the person who is willing to take a risk or try something new. Find the right advocates and keep the ideas coming. Use data. One of the best ways to support a new idea or approach is with good data. Be prepared to demonstrate why your approach is a good one. On the flip side, don’t get sucked into analysis paralysis – the temptation to keep researching is strong, but action is the name of the game. Be human. When considering a new approach, ask yourself — is this helpful? Fun? Interesting? Easy to use? Better yet, would I use it, like it, share it, recommend it to a friend? And just in case you are wondering who our panel thinks is killing it in the omnichannel game today, here are a few of our personal and professional favorites:

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