Traditional marketing, such as print, broadcast or direct mail are being left in the dust as technology advancements spur digital innovation. Even more modern tactics such as push notifications could be considered “traditional,” as they have become the new norm and standard marketing practice for global organizations. Customers now consume most of their content – marketing and otherwise – via digital channels. Mobile phones have now surpassed laptops and desktops as the most popular devices used to browse the web, with 51% of consumers reporting using mobile phones to access the web, compared to 43% using laptops or desktops.
It’s clear that your customers (and potential customers) are using digital channels to interact in the world they live in. But simply sending them digital messages is not nearly enough; you need to start a conversation with them at the right time, in the right channel, with relevant content. Even “personalization” strategies need to be taken to the next level; just knowing someone’s name or location is not enough – you need to go beyond. Achieving this means much more than implementing new technology; it means rethinking the customer experience, the entire customer journey and how you interact with them along the way.
For one, firms need to be leveraging all the data they have on customers to make more intelligent decisions. This means not only proprietary data, but third-party data as well. Start with business objectives that are informed by an advanced data strategy. That means having contextual insight on your customers; not just historical data, but information about their environment and – a continuous, ever-evolving feedback loop of data in real-time.
The personalized approach is already top of mind for many of the leading companies globally. Take Walgreen’s as an example. As quoted in Ad Age, Walgreen’s VP of brand marketing strategy noted, “Our approach entails leveraging real-time data to personalize the customer experience for individual shoppers based on their unique preferences, whether they’re in the beauty aisle, seeking a cold remedy or browsing our website or mobile app. It’s about understanding what our customers value and delivering meaningful content that reflects that across all channels, including in store, mobile and social.”
This also means utilizing predictive analytics. For example, a brick-and-mortar marketing team might use all the information available on customers to make data-based decisions about which products and services are best to bring to market. By parsing data on which types of customers live in a store’s neighborhood, marketing teams can hone in on important guiding questions: should they buy more hard goods or soft? Is there an age-range density that shows what should be stocked? Does the desired product make-up change as you move towards or away from competitor locations?
But while some forward-thinking firms are already planning how they can go beyond traditional marketing, many are still struggling. According to a Smart Insights poll, 32% of marketers reported they are currently trying to integrate digital and traditional marketing activities, while 29% reported having only “limited integration.” Only 14% of those polled reported being “fully integrated” in these efforts.
It’s not just about having a robust dataset. There is so much more marketers can be doing with their data. Using the proper technology is the key to get the most out of your data. Data-driven businesses that use machine learning to serve more relevant experiences for their customers are better positioned to take share away from their competitors. In fact, Bain Research shows that leading companies are 3.2 times more likely to have the right analytics talent embedded in marketing.
The importance of personalization cannot be overstated: according to recent Epsilon research, 80 percent of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience. According to the 2017 online survey of 1,000 consumers ages 18-64, 90% of respondents indicated that they find personalization appealing – this further reinforces the need for hyper-personalization as organizations move beyond conventional and traditional marketing strategies.
By working with a firm that can help you quickly scale data sources and provide easy access to third party data via APIs –thus avoiding arduous and costly IT projects –you can go beyond conventional marketing and deliver the contextual experiences your customers want.