Big data has transformed the way business interact with their customers. Marketers can now harness data from previously untapped platforms, such as personal social media profiles and online and offline purchasing habits.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is opening doors for companies to glean intelligence that enables them to enhance their offering down to their customers’ most personal insights; for instance, smart home control systems can beam information about homeowners’ lifestyle patterns. As artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) also become developed for mainstream use, people’s interactions with their everyday devices will start to transform.
The influx of these intelligent technologies will take predictive analytics to a whole new level and will no doubt impact companies’ marketing strategies. According to recent studies, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created on daily basis[i]. Consumers are constantly sharing insightful information with companies, but the challenge is how to best utilise this data and convert it into sales.
In future, the better use of predictive analytics will translate into better customer insights and improved conversion rates. Yet, boundless possibilities and exciting tech trends can distract a company from their primary obligation: to be relevant and serve their customer’s need. Marketers must remember their purpose first and foremost is to serve the customer. As Peter Drucker famously stated “The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.”
This means getting the basics right first. In terms of marketing, email remains the most effective channel for mass customer communication. For many organisations, simple elements such as personalisation, segmentation, delivering relevant and interesting content and so on, are largely not well used.
Believe it or not, there are still companies using emails blast to the masses, without harnessing available data and customer insights. Understanding your customer’s purchasing habits, interests, location, birthday and so on delivers a wide range of possible marketing successes, without the need to invest in AI technology. A birthday or post-purchase cross-sell offer can also be highly effective, as the customer is already engaged and likely to be receptive to this degree of personalisation.
Ignoring these “basic” practices in favour of more advanced predictive tactics would not be recommended. Above all, the basic capabilities that strategic email marketing can offer will deliver real advantages that should not be discounted.
Here a few tips on how marketers can begin to prepare for these intelligent technologies:
- To harness the basic practices, marketers must ensure their email marketing tactics are in great shape. This means they must sort out data silos first in order to be ready to apply AI; otherwise AI data could become another silo.
- Like any marketing tool, VR, AR and AI can only be powerful if marketers know how to use them. With the wealth of intelligent technologies at their fingertips, it is crucial that they fully understand the tools currently available before integrating with new software. In addition, it is important to ask questions such as ‘how this will impact my marketing strategy’, ‘what will be the outcome’, ‘will this deliver the expected outcome’ and so on.
- It’s a given that implementation will always lag behind innovation; yet a common mistake is to rush and invest in the newest technology before optimising the potential of what an organisation currently has. Taking the time to identify what new tools match with the business ambitions will improve integration and help avoid unnecessary spending.
- If marketers are not making the most of email marketing automation tools, they should prioritise this first and focus on understanding and harnessing the potential of their current marketing solutions. AI, VR and AR will then be used much more efficiently.
It’s very easy to get swept away by the multitude of opportunities that come along with any new technology. But the first step is to always evaluate based on core marketing concepts to see how it all fits together.
About the author
Tink Taylor is founder and president of dotmailer & dotdigital Group PLC (founded in 1999). He has 20 years’ experience in the field of digital communications and has introduced digital marketing to companies large and small. Tink first launched dotmailer in the US at the back end of 2012 and later took dotmailer to Australia in 2015.