It’s a multi-channel jungle out there.
And now that social platforms are running wild and digital devices outnumber the global population, marketers are having to shape up or ship out.
Inspirational Instagrams – tick. Facebook recommendations – tick. Trending Twitter hashtags – tick. Customers are being bombarded with brands, trends, products, and services – personalised and on-demand. With multi-channel engagement, brands no longer have to commit to big-budget TV and billboard campaigns.
Kings and queens of the digital jungle
For instance, Krispy Kreme donuts and Kiehl’s hair and skin care treatments have found global success by driving community excitement through digital, alone. YouTube videos, social media endorsements and key influencers are the tools they use. Digital transformation and innovative business models are changing consumer expectations – Airbnb (largest accommodation provider – has no property), and Uber (largest taxi firm – owns no cars) – so is it any wonder that traditional companies are vanishing?
Fifty years ago the life expectancy of a firm in the Fortune 500 was around 75 years. Today, it’s less than 15 years (and declining). Starting a new business can be done without leaving the desk. Physical shop fronts and physical products are replaced by code. Big-budget marketing is squeezed into 140-character tweets, and smartphone pictures with product and brand recognition create consumer engagement as well as building brand awareness and loyalty.
How do traditional businesses survive the pressure?
The answer to that question is simple: by changing their culture and go-to-market strategy. With customer expectations changed forever, marketers need to find new ways to connect with prospects. Operating in business silos on traditional channels no longer cuts the mustard.
Moving from broadcast messaging to holding meaningful customer conversations is essential. Replacing quantitative metrics that measure audience reach with the qualitative analysis of individual engagement, is key. Traditional marketing focuses on ensuring a message reaches the biggest audience possible which, inevitably, delivers low response rates. Now, capturing ‘moments in time’ is being superseded by tracking ongoing customer interactions.
Avoiding the Vote-Off
Customer centricity calls for maximum personalisation and customisation. That means using data and analytics to drive targeted leads, generating more-precise customer segments, and realising the next-best action or offer. Data-driven marketing can massively increase response rates while reducing costs (picking out target customers only). Consequently, retailers are no longer obliged to offer blanket discounts to all customers, which maintains their margins. Because by analysing customer behaviours and actions, retailers can determine the minimum level of discount needed at the optimal time on the customer’s channel of choice, to drive a sale.
Adopting disruptive technologies and new data sources can help drive customer engagement, as these examples show:
- Location and preference details collected from smartphones and mobile devices.
- Creation of new mobile applications that can recognise songs, videos, and brands, that interest the customer.
- Full-body scanners, such as the 3D-A-Porter used by Bloomberg and Selfridges which act as personal shoppers, allowing life-like garment visualisations via email.
Until now, customer centricity has been a bit of a pipe dream. Drawing customer behaviours and preferences out of transactional data used to require a massive effort. But now, we can collect not only transactions, but every interaction a customer has with the business across all channels and technologies, simply and efficiently.
The fact is, analytics has moved on. No more relying on econometric modelling alone. A myriad of marketing messages are received across multiple channels and platforms. Marketing attribution techniques allow for the modelling of these complex messages. They help us understand how marketing is linked to the bottom line, and what impact marketing interactions have on each other.
That’s the true measure of marketing ROI
Traditional campaign calendars will only get you so far and throwing money at the problem is not cost effective. Become part of the disruption. Experience your own culture shift and start thinking beyond business as usual. Be one of the Fortune 500 to survive.
Or be the market disrupter that knocks a Fortune 500 off the list.
Over the years, I have worked with many businesses to identify challenges and understand business context, providing an analytical perspective for achieving solutions. This has meant using new, or untapped, sources of data coupled with innovative analytics to enhance competitiveness. Techniques have included event-based analytics, predictive modelling, natural language processing, time-series analysis, and attribution strategy development. My work takes me to all parts of the globe, covering a wide range of industries including finance, retail, utilities, and telecommunications. I speak regularly at international conferences and events. After an undergraduate in computing, I took a tangent into the world of Life Sciences, completing my PhD in Data Management, Mining, and Visualisation, at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression. Following this, I worked as a data scientist, building analytical pipelines for complex, multi-dimensional data types. Along the way, I’ve provided leadership, training, and guidance, for many analytical teams, creating actionable insights and business outcomes through the development of analytical use cases. I have also lectured on Masters programmes for BI and Data Science. I grew up in Scotland, and love the great outdoors. Consequently, I’m an avid hiker (the Scottish Munros are perfect) and sea kayaker. Oh yes, and a keen traveller, too.