Blog / Omnichannel

How to Stay Afloat in the Ocean of Omnichannel Terminology – Part 1


by Duncan Hendy

Jan 31, 2018

We love omnichannel, it makes us feel like we can really connect with our customers, speak their lingo, and become their best buddies. While it’s not a necessarily new idea, it does come with some pretty specific terminology.

In the first of this two-part blog series, we will be dipping our toes into the murky depths of omnichannel terminology. So, what are we waiting for? Dive on in and let’s traverse that omnichannel together.

Intelligent Content

Imagine you are a supermarket owner. You have various goods that you need to sell. And as all good supermarket managers know, there is well-founded psychology in how you arrange the items in the shop so that people buy more. Flowers and fruit and vegetables near the entrance, dairy produce as far from the doors as possible, impulse goods such as confectionary near the checkout. The other items you arrange based on the behavior of customers, and finally, bingo, you have an intelligent content layout.


Now, if you open another store (channel), it could be that it differs in size or location. Maybe it’s an express store or a smaller outlet based in a gas station. So in order to deliver the right content for that channel, you need to approach your goods as content types. Because the “essential” items remain essential for every channel, some others are not possible to include due to the limitations of the channel’s size, functionality, etc. So by keeping this is mind when “delivering” these items, you can ensure you are displaying your goods in a consistent and effective way, regardless of the channel.

Adaptive Content

I seriously hope that the one-size-fits-all approach to content has been left behind with dot-matrix printers, floppy discs, and mullet haircuts. If your content doesn’t transcend the limitations of just being aesthetically pleasing, and it still isn’t so integral to the customer as an individual that it lives and breathes with them, then you might as well burn your keyboard and give up.

Adaptive content is visually appropriate, delivers and recommends content particular to that visitor, and does it consistently, regardless of the channel they are viewing it on. It adapts to their needs and is not limited by the channel they are viewing it on.

For example, with your content distribution strategy, you need to think beyond just responsive design. By specifying how the content functions on different devices, you can control the appearance based on achieving meaningful interactions. And this is the goal: customized delivery over just layout. I know who they are, where they are, how they access the content, the context, device, reason, and whether short or long-form versions are necessary, as well as display-rules are dependent on device.

Content Governance

As the channels you can communicate through expand, so does the amount of content you are “theoretically” delivering to them. When I say “theoretically”, I mean that you know that your omnichannel strategy should define that you deliver your content to the devices or channels your audience chooses to consume it through. And because the content display capabilities of a smart watch do not compare with those of a desktop PC in terms of the depth of detail, you need to establish that the content is delivered to a level that is acceptably effective enough for each channel.


But delivering across these channels should not mean that you are creating the content in many locations and duplicating the work, and multiples thereof. Just as hearing the cry of a newspaper seller telling you that “The president is dead” does not differ from the story inside the paper, and unless a revolution in defibrillation technology leads to a miraculous comeback during your journey home, you would expect the bulletin on the evening TV news to tell the same story. As with content governance, you must deliver a consistent message, and do so no matter the channel. And in order to accomplish this, you have the ability to create once and publish everywhere by having a flexible approach in your publishing environment that allows you to repurpose the same content without the need to recode it or rewrite it.

In the next part of this two-parter, I will be looking into the content modeling, content strategy, and content marketing. Please leave us your comments below and give us your feedback on any of the terms covered in this article, we’d love to hear them.