Data Driven Experiences

A few months ago, I was asked to give a speech on the future of Digital Marketing Strategies and how we might now reach these new audiences. Fast forward a few

A few months ago, I was asked to give a speech on the future of Digital Marketing Strategies and how we might now reach these new audiences. Fast forward a few months and I think it’s worth us exploring the subject again, as it’s even more relevant today.

Before we go into the future let’s explore a little history …

In the beginning...

In the beginning, if a person needed something, maybe one or two people in the region sold that something, and you could either buy it from that one person, or you do without.

Modern capitalism came along and enter competition and consumers. More and more businesses are making similar products all competing on price and quality.  This created the need for marketing and advertising.

Once everyone started advertising we opted to max out the supply chain, to future compete on price. Along the way we realised that it was easier to make more money from an existing customer than it was to acquire new ones. Actually it became imperative that we kept a customer longer as acquisition costs were rising.

Enter Customer journeys. We made sure our brands were top of mind at the right moments. We could sell more for longer. We could control the message and be present at the right touch points (no-one else talking about our brand and not many channels available -- hence we can control the message).

Enter the Internet. In the 90s.

Now research was being conducted online, from multiple sources, independent sources and competition or alternative choices arrived from the globe. Brands no longer controlled their own narrative.

Along the way, the tech giants gave us search engines so products and service research became easier (again from multiple sources not necessarily the brands).

The giants then gave us digital ads to expand our reach and with it online retailers emerged and offered the entire customer journey online.

We are all now able to target everyone with access to the internet across the globe and are able to create specific audiences to match our touch points. 

Online retailers are able to compete and some businesses never actually speak to their clients. Along the way they become a customer, and if they’re happy they stay, if they are unhappy they leave - and you probably have no idea why.

Enter Customer Experience (CX). 

We now need to differentiate ourselves from the ever increasing crowd. Our supply chain can’t be improved and our customers are no longer loyal.

Unless we enhance their experience. Unless we make it easier and convenient. It’s about being simple and complicated at the same time.

Data Driven Experiences 

Data driven experiences are brand experiences guided by data. A simple example is choosing to send a customers a €10 voucher on their birthday.  

As the digital footprint grows we're bound only by our imagination. Here's a bit more complicated example.

Imagine someone walking down the high street. He’s leaving work and catching the bus home. He opens his phone and is prompted with directions to the bus stop. Not only that, but Google is telling him to walk one more minute and there’s another bus stop that will get him home 10 minutes faster than this bus stop.

While he’s walking, he gets a notification that informs him that the Ralph Lauren store coming up has his favourite Polo Shirt in Blue—in his size, in store—would he like to buy now and pickup in store or buy now and ship home?

This is a data driven experience. An experience driven by location, profile, preferences and shopping history.

Another example is a portable speaker company analysing thousands of conversations and reviews online. Whilst their products got five star reviews; the data showed a desire amongst their customers for a waterproof speaker. Hey presto, they manufactured one and it sold out!

An apparel company does something similar. It mines Google queries and make T-Shirts to match; it predicts demand. #MeToo #BlackLivesMatter.

These are data driven experiences driving innovation and sales.

So, what does that mean?

Grown up Consumer 

For me, I think it’s about a grown up consumer with almost unlimited choice. We do our research online, we have no particular loyalty and if one brand provides convenience and experience we easily onboard as a customer. We are challenged with ever growing competitors and as tech gets better we have more opportunity to access specific individuals at specific points in time.

Grown up Internet

It’s about a grown up internet. The digital footprint has taken over the customer journey. Our customers are now experiencing our brand online— at every touch point—and we may never even be aware of these interactions until they leave the funnel or decided not to be our customers any more.

And it’s about grown up Martech

Digital Ads, Programmatic buying, Retargeting, Dynamic advertising, AdTech, Automation, AI, Analytics. Finding and segmenting our customers is now a science.

So what’s the challenge?

As business leaders, I believe the biggest challenge is to re-balance the discussions in the boardroom. Yes, business-as-usual discussions are important but we need to put more focus on the future of our business. 

The challenge is how to realign your business to put Data at the heart of the strategy. This means totally rethinking your approach and making data a core mission -- not another to-do but a strategic direction. 

The challenge is to identify all customer touch points, map them and start recording them. The challenge is to remember that when we store this data we have a great responsibility to protect it -- part of which is the choice to store this data in the first place. The challenge is to analyse this data in meaningful way that ultimately drives new brand experiences for the benefit of our customers.