From manufacturing automation to personalized healthcare, data is the key to unlocking untapped potential across industries. And the marketing industry is no different. Marketers have been faced with previously unimaginable competitive pressure to best identify, craft, and deliver high quality digital experiences.
Luckily for them, the push for digital transformation into the era of Business 4.0 has brought a new wave of digital technologies that provide marketing professionals with the tools needed to collect, analyze, interpret, and utilize massive data sets in real time. For example, artificial intelligence and machine learning offer new and imaginative end-user experience capabilities that not only help marketers better perform, but also deliver hyper-personalized experiences for those end-users—making their experience as enjoyable and successful as can be.
These tools indeed exist, but many marketers still struggle with putting them to use and with finding innovative ways to utilize the massive amount of data at their disposal. Recent studies have shown that up to 73 percent of company data isn’t used for analytics.
Here are some key ways that can prompt marketers to start thinking about data differently, thus deliver exceptional end-user experiences that drive measurable ROI.
Target individuals, not target markets
Marketers are in the business of delivering experiences and messages that are relevant to their target markets and consumer base. Today, these previously widened target markets are replaced by a foundational need for personal connections with individual consumers. Whether it’s due to the rise of social media or the birth of ecommerce, consumers not only expect immediate, hyper-personalized experiences—they demand it.
Businesses that have adopted these hyper-personalized experiential processes on a massive scale are reaping the benefits. A recent study shows that over half of all businesses see higher customer profitability (60 percent), increased value of customer interactions (59 percent), and an increase in the volume of said customer interactions (58 percent) when investing in mass personalization.
Marketers are sitting on a gold mine of data to help them craft the best individualized solutions—they just need to invest in the right technology and practices to bring that data to life.
For example, by adopting AI and ML-based tactics, and experimenting with on-hand big data sets, marketers can predict, plan for, and activate campaigns where each individual consumer is most-likely to see and act upon a piece of content such as a banner ad or sponsored post. There are thousands of data points tied to each individual customer—beyond simply their age, gender, location, etc.—that can be utilized to craft personalized experiences.
Marketers can tap into data that highlights a person’s favorite foods, preferred clothing styles and colors, family history, and relationships, unique hobbies, and much more—of course with careful consideration of maintaining the privacy of said person. They can then instantaneously craft personalized messages and identify the optimal delivery strategy in order to have the highest percentage chance of success to engage in an interaction that will lead to purchase.
Delivering next-gen customer service through AI and ML
Marketers can learn a lot through ongoing consumer interactions throughout all branches of an organization. By understanding customer pain points and evaluating positive feedback, marketers can implement new tactics, or tweak existing ones, to best fit the general consensus of one’s customer base.
AI and ML should be implemented throughout every stage of the consumer life-cycle—from initial outreach and intake, to pre-sale sales associate guidance, point-of-sale (POS) terminal services, and post-sale support. It is integral to providing the consumer with an ecosystem of connected experiences, all tailored to the individual preferences of each consumer.
For example, AI can be embedded into chatbot services that allow retailers to change the landscape of a website or service experience in real-time in reaction to consumer input. Retailers can then take this data and compare individual experiences alongside one another to re-evaluate how interactions will be approached prior to a consumer even asking a question. This data can further help retailers organize their product and service offerings online to best-match the individual needs of consumers based on the preferences of others like them.
ML can offer similar services to individuals, by studying and adapting to the behaviors of an individual consumer. If a consumer regularly navigates and purchases from a specific sub-site or landing page within an ecommerce platform, ML software can automatically direct the consumer to that page when they visit a site. Also, the software may be able to provide new product recommendations based on previous purchases and other online interactions. Every second counts when attempting to provide a customer with the right experience that ultimately leads to a purchase.
The average session duration for ecommerce sites is just over three minutes. AI and ML integration can help retailers get the most out of this short amount of time.
Content delivery and platform variation
There’s more to creating hyper-personalized experiences than just showing a customer a tailored message or reaching them during the right time of day. Customers growing up in this digital era value new, innovative experiences on emerging tech platforms—such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), social media, and more.
Brands need to be creative with the ways that they distribute their content in order to reach these tech-forward and experiential generations. Investment in AR and VR technology can provide end-users with enhanced branded storytelling—allowing for marketing materials to become more than just a sales pitch. By putting narrative purpose behind content and delivering said content on next-gen digital platforms, end-users will connect with brands on a much deeper level—and in-turn develop a deeper relationship and loyalty.
Brands need to invest in innovative solutions if they want to keep up with the demand for individualized experiences—and the next generation of consumers is going to expect these services as an industry norm. Those who invest early and often will reap the benefits, leading all who follow into an era of hyper-personalized, creative marketing tactics.
Abha Bajaj is the head of marketing and communication of TCS’ HiTech Business Unit and Alliances and Technology unit.
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