Omnichannel Engagement—The Final Frontier

I love Star Trek. I have since I was a kid. Back then, the only way to experience Gene Roddenberry’s science fiction mythology was through reading paperbacks and watching syndicated re-runs. So you can imagine my great joy when Paramount Pictures decided to bring Star Trek to the big screen in 1979. Millions around the world shared my enthusiasm and an entire movie franchise was launched that spanned the 1980s.

It was then that I discovered Star Trek Conventions—a new third “channel” by which I could experience my beloved sci-fi. Later in the 1990s, new technology allowed the launch of the first Star Trek website. Now I had access to content about all my favorite Trek shows and movies. I could even chat with fellow Trekkers in forums and buy overpriced memorabilia!

Seamless Brand Experiences

Warp speed to today. No doubt you’re asking: What does this have to do with healthcare? Well, stay tuned. I’ve set a course for a relevant industry tie-in! As time went on, the good folks at Paramount developed a smart, integrated multi-channel marketing strategy that provided for a seamless “brand experience”—whether I was sitting at my desktop, or using my tablet or smartphone. I could now “beam up” from anywhere I wanted. So I did. I joined a fan club (Translation: CRM), and began receiving a mix of integrated tactics (based on my preferences) designed to reinforce the excitement, provide a consistent user experience, and drive me to further offline engagement (conventions, movie theaters, themed attractions, etc.) and online engagement (official Star Trek site, app, YouTube Channel, Facebook, Pinterest, Hulu and Netflix, to name but a few integrated channels).

This approach, which unifies live and virtual customer experiences, is called omnichannel marketing. It goes far beyond simply ensuring your brand is represented across major channels (multi-channel). Instead, it provides full integration of personal and non-personal touch points via a customer-centric solar system of tactics that delivers on your brand promise where, when and how your customers want it to. I know the story I just told seemed to be about Star Trek, but it was truly about me—a customer—being catered to in ways that are meaningful to me. And because I was engaged, respected and made the focus, I did more, bought more—and plan to do more.

Join “Healthcare: The Next Generation”

Paramount yet again made the customer the focus last year at CES when the studio, in collaboration with Qualcomm, released a truly innovative approach to user-centric marketing for Star Trek Into Darkness. Paramount actually helped fans become a part of the story through a contextually aware mobile app. It took advantage of geo-location, audio scanning and image recognition to bridge the physical and digital worlds—and allowed fans to complete integrated missions to win awards and gain access to exclusive content.

As healthcare marketers, with tons of high tech innovations at our disposal, we can do something just as exciting as the crew at Paramount. How about starting with the mobile-enabled wellness programs we already have? And adding wearable health devices that collect attitudinal and behavioral data—the key to tailoring the ongoing support necessary on a 1:1 basis.

Today, you don’t have to travel to distant solar systems to find this kind of excitement. Omnichannel marketing is real, it’s here, and it represents a highly logical model fueled by an understanding of the emotional and educational needs of our crew (healthcare providers, patients, caregivers, etc.). We can boldly go, right now. Ready to beam up?

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