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Term of the Week: Omnichannel

What is it?

A marketing approach which endeavors to provide customers with a seamless user experience, no matter through which channel or device, or during which stage of the content, product, or customer lifecycle.

Why is it important?

Successful omnichannel marketing depends on delivering the content appropriate to their stage in the lifecycle through the most appropriate channels.

Why does a technical communicator need to know this?

Omnichannel, in the context of technical communication, is the recognition that customers consume content in various ways, in various forms and times during the customer lifecycle. Creating unique content for every medium (print and online), channel (marketing brochures, data sheets, specification sheets), knowledge base (information hubs, print catalogues, online catalogues), and so on would be prohibitively expensive and a maintenance nightmare.

The way for technical communicators to work in an omnichannel environment is through multichannel publishing, where a superset of content is stored with the multiple variations tagged for use toward omnichannel efforts, often driven by marketing but critical to producing technical communication.

The content can be segmented by audience, market, language, product, product version, information type, output medium, or any number of variations. Content can be delivered to downstream systems, ready to be used in the appropriate way. This not only ensures that the important details are consistent across channels, it also means that maintenance is a more efficient and reliable process.

A simplified version of how a superset of product content feeds an omnichannel initiative might look like this:

Omnichannel initiative

About Rahel Anne Bailie

Photo of Rahel Anne Bailie

Rahel Anne Bailie is Chief Knowledge Officer at Scroll, an STC Fellow, an industry author, and a results-driven content strategist. She has a strong track record of developing successful digital content projects, tackling the complexities of managing content for clients globally. Her strength is diagnostics: calculating how to use content to deliver compelling experiences.

Rahel is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits (XML Press, 2013) and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy (XML Press, 2014).

Term: Omnichannel



Twitter: @rahelab