Every brand, every marketer has gathered huge amounts of data from its customers. Big data has been big news for a while. But the story about what comes next, how this data can actually be used and what the new frontier of data-driven marketing will look like is not clear for many in the industry.
In the digital age, data has the power not just to tell you what your customer wants, but can help you actively create meaningful connections with customers about these preferences and build true relationships.
Consumers want brands to ‘get them’, to know what is important for them – this is why they give so much data away. Their expectations are changing, their instincts are finely tuned and patience with marketing messages that serve the interests of the brand, not the customer, is low.
Consumers are spoiled by choice. And they have newly-developed survival instincts making them experts at instantly filtering, deleting and ignoring messages that they deem irrelevant or uninteresting. So while digital marketing channels are more dynamic and have made message distribution easier, influencing and making authentic connections with a new generation of consumers through these channels is now far more challenging.
Knowing minds, winning hearts
In an age of unparalleled consumer choice, a ‘set and forget’ marketing strategy developed at the beginning of the year won’t give you the agility you need and you will inevitably miss countless opportunities. Sure, capturing data might get you inside the head of your customers, but the next step is to use data to win their hearts as well. You can only do this if you stay in touch, show you care with meaningful, timely messages and actions. So you need to continually fine tune your approach.
The abundance of choice has also created more consumer behaviours to understand. The path to purchase can be extremely random and much more difficult to predict. Considering that 90 per cent of customers who engage with a brand on a social network will then proceed to purchase (Internet Advertising Bureau, 2013) demonstrates how much behaviours and customer expectations have changed.
Unlocking data opens the door to the most valuable customers
Knowing that a customer received a catalogue in the mail and then ordered online or interacted on Facebook and went on to purchase not only quantifies what channels are working for the brand, but enables the brand to tailor the communication and promotion to an individual’s personal preferences. Understanding and harnessing the customer’s own behavioural clues is the future of influencing consumer behaviour and brand loyalty.
For instance, Amazon follows their customers’ online browsing to offer suggestions or highlight special offers, much like a really good sales assistant would do for customers browsing a bricks and mortar store. So if a customer viewed a pair of sneakers and possibly added it to the cart, but decided not to proceed to checkout, an email from Amazon might follow a few days later asking “are you still interested in these shoes” with a discount offer to complete the sale. Companies should be seizing every opportunity to make a positive mark about their brand, product or service, and using data effectively allows you to do this.
Data-driven decisions in action
You can’t connect the dots without sophisticate data analysis and automation tools. Marketing automation software can regulate offers, creative and messages sent to a particular customer or customers. It can manage large volumes of messages to different channels: email, social and SMS to name a few, in an automated fashion, freeing up the marketing team to invest more time in crafting the strategy and learning from the results.
Here in Australia, shopping aggregation brand, Lasoo, is using the Salmat Influence marketing automation platform to great effect, and will soon be able to crunch the behavioural data from million of users into quantifiable knowledge and action. Coupled with Lasoo’s new Analytics platform, Lasoo Learner, Influence will be used in a highly sophisticated way, sending out customised email content based on what people are engaging with on the website. In a world that is increasing its demand for targeted messaging; this empowers businesses to now create a personalised experience with very little manual labour.
Irrespective of what industry you operate in, marketers are concerned about a common set of goals; growing engagement, growing the customer base and retaining or turning customers into brand advocates. With globalisation and the low barriers to entry in most industries, more brands are seeking a share of the Australian pie. For new and existing brands wishing to grow their slice the focus must be to continuously define and refine investment plans based on what you learn from your customers’ most recent interactions with your business. Essentially, this means treating individual customers as individuals through customised marketing strategies.
The consumer is leaving many more clues about what their preferences along the brand interaction journey. The next frontier involves decoding these in a meaningful, timely and actionable way. Times have changed and what was once a winning marketing formula, such as having an established brand or cheaper product, simply won’t cut it anymore.
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