Midnight Oil’s Denise Wong On The Difference Between Multichannel And Omnichannel Marketing

"Multichannel Marketing is making sure you have matching luggage; Omnichannel is when you have a roller bag that converts into a backpack," says experiential marketing vet Denise Wong.

After the past five years of helping to shape the experiential marketing strategies for George P. Johnson clients such as IBM, Jeep, Under Amour and others, Denise Wong is joining international marketing shop Midnight Oil as president.

Wong also held the president role at GPJ. The Toronto native has previously served in executive roles at agency networks McCann, Grey, Ogilvy, and DDB, over the past 20 years. She’s specifically worked with brands such asProcter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Master Card, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Nissan, Acura, Dodge, Cisco.

As brands and agencies shift focus to creating unique “experiences” beyond just ad messages and creative placements, we checked in with Wong about her philosophy of omnichannel marketing and the role of artificial intelligence-powered voice-activated connections between marketers and consumers.

On AI and voice:

Most marketers are only scratching the surface with voice AI. As voice applications are still one-directional, brands are trying to develop better content strategies to respond to voice searches. When we can change that, then we will really change the game.

For example, while we can tell our voice assistants to do something or ask them something and usually get a good response, there is still not an understanding of WHY we are asking. That’s the next evolution, when Alexa, Okay Google, Siri etc. come back with suggestions or a smart response. This will lead to smart retailing, smart buying, and increased consumption.

There is also tremendous potential to integrate crowdsourcing, reviews, and feedback into voice. The future will be when we can effectively search for new products, give feedback on an experience that can then be shared with others, or complete a return transaction via voice.

Lastly, when voice becomes intuitive and can recognize a change in tone like frustration from not providing the answer sought by a user, it can pivot and respond more accurately.

Multichannel vs. Omnichannel

Multichannel Marketing is making sure you have matching luggage. Omnichannel is when you have a roller bag that converts into a backpack.

This is huge and is most effective for brands that truly put the consumer at the center of their strategy (versus corporate department silos with competing priorities which is the old “multi channel marketing”). As omnichannel can be very complex, there is a need to simplify it and make the experience seamless.

An example is when a consumer may be looking at a product on a shelf in a physical store, but looking up a review of that product on her phone. Some brands are doing this well and have brought together a physical experience (concert, sporting event, theme park) with a strong mobile component that includes everything from Wayfinding to social sharing to transactions like purchases or dining reservations.

We already know about the power of experiential, which is where advertising meets the “Amazon review” in real time on a 1:1 basis. Done right, omnichannel marketing will enable a powerful and personalized experience with brands.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.