The marketing landscape has changed in every way possible and is a gift for everyone. And the pandemic has only accelerated and sharply defined the change. The proliferation of digital channels, on the one hand, the completely changed expectations of customers on the other, and the advent of mobile devices have thrown many spanners in the works as it were.
Conventional modes of marketing, therefore, just won’t make the cut! There was a time – not very long ago – when all businesses needed was a basic website and a Facebook page to put them on the digital map.
But that is not the case anymore. Take a look at these stats from ImpactBND:
- 52% of consumers claim that watching product videos makes them more confident and guides their online purchasing decisions.
- 72% of businesses believe video content has improved their conversion rates.
So how does a business market to customers in this scenario?
Businesses must meet the new altered expectations of their customers
The customer has changed, along with his or her expectations. Omnichannel services such as store pickup, curb-side delivery and store-level delivery have become clear differentiators and give businesses the edge when it comes to the competition. Meeting the new expectations of the customers is an essential thing that businesses have to do, as this is not really going to change in the near future.
At this time, communication is vital. More than ever before. Businesses must connect with its customers where they are now – in the digital world – through mobile apps and social media. And the messaging needs to be true – clear and authentic and very personal. In other words, marketing must go digital.
Transforming marketing and going digital brings several benefits which include –
- Digitalization of Business Operations
- Better Resource Management
- Greater Customer Insights
- Better Customer Experience
- Easier Collaboration Across Departments
- Increases Agility and Innovation
- Introduces a New Level of Transparency
Going Digital can bring real-time information and greater visibility and insights into its operations, especially the performance of its people and assets. When everyone has access to information, it helps in the overall performance of teams. Effective collaboration is possible.
When processes and systems change in a business, it affects the way they relate to their customers. Marketing is no exception to that. According to Accenture, 75% of customers admit being more likely to buy from a company that:
- Recognizes them by their name,
- Knows their purchase history, and
- Recommends products based on their past purchases.
Data forms the pivot on which all this rests. A person produces about 1.7 MB of data every second. It has been said that companies collect about 75,000 data points about an individual. The Market Intelligence Company IDC predicts that the world’s data will grow to 175 zettabytes in 2025.
- Data helps a business gain a competitive advantage – you know how you rate against the competition and how you can overtake them!
- It helps a marketer focus on User Experience in order to boost digital marketing – data can tell you what the user clicks and hovers on so you know what works and what doesn’t.
- Data helps a business engage with its customers more meaningfully. Data helps you know your customers and therefore engage with them in a more meaningful way.
- Once you know your customers you can tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.
- It helps you find leads for marketing
The main benefit that data brings is that it helps a marketer really know his customer. Once he does that, marketing to him or engaging with him becomes incredibly easy. All this data is like gold in the hands of the right marketer. If he knew how to sift all the piles of data to find the nuggets that he needs, then he can derive all kinds of insights from it and base his strategy of engaging with him, on that.
So how does he do that? Enter Analytics
With Analytics it is possible to discover patterns – meaningful patterns and make sense of all this data. We now have sophisticated tools that can sift through these mountains of raw data and find interesting insights. And this is done through some statistical modelling and some computer programming. With these tools, you can process the data to derive meaningful and actionable insights. Without the insights, data is just data. But with analytics, you derive insights –
Broadly speaking, you get three kinds of insights.
Descriptive insights – These are all about giving you a description of things – they “describe”, or summarize all the raw data that is available and presents it in a form that us human beings can make sense of and understand. They pick up a moment and describe how things are at that time. So if you want to know or understand past behavior in order to understand future behavior, this is the tool you turn to. You can find out the total stock in an inventory, for instance. Or the sales figures over time.
Predictive is all about what will happen, as the name suggests. It is about understanding the future. Based on the data that it has been fed, Predictive tools have the ability to predict what is likely to happen in the future, based on the past. Based on probabilities, predictive tools will go through all the data and find patterns in it and forecast future trends – maybe in customers’ purchasing patterns or in their ability to repay loans etc. A good example could be the prediction of how a certain year’s holiday sales might turn out.
Prescriptive – this kind of analytics is all about giving you good advice. Based on the data, and the description of the past along with an understanding of possible behavior in the future, Prescriptive analytics offers solutions. It recommends what course of action to take – gives you options for you to take. It uses a blend of business rules, algorithms, machine learning and computational modelling procedures on historical and transactional data, real-time data feeds, and big data to offer multiple solutions.
And with these insights, it is possible to revolutionize the marketing process. Some of the best effects include –
- It improves the decision making process both in terms of relevance and quality
- Speeds processes up
- Speeds up decision making
- Reduces cost
- Increases revenues
- Gives businesses a huge competitive advantage
- Aligns processes with business strategy better
- It gives you dashboards with composite information across the enterprise in one spot
The combination of Analytics and data in the hands of the right people, asking the right questions and setting the right algorithms, can produce tremendous results. And that, in this day and age, with a pandemic for a background, is what every marketer needs.