Data, context, insights: Making better customer engagement happen
I never cease to be amazed when someone reminds me that 90 percent of all data recorded since the beginning of time was collected in the past 12 months. It amazes me first because one year is such a tiny slice of the continuum of time, and second because the start date for the past 12 months changes with every tick of the clock.
This underscores, of course, two of the modern marketer’s most perplexing challenges:
1) the sheer volume of customer data hanging around out there, and
2) the fact that it expands and changes with every customer click, like, and share, at every communication, interaction, and transaction touchpoint, and very often across multiple devices and channels.
Wrestling with data is not new for marketers. For decades, they’ve collected, analyzed, and used data to segment and target audiences with messages and offers that will appeal to individual customers and prospects. In the very recent past, however, the challenges of doing that have become greatly amplified. What’s changed is the pace at which marketers must gather, process, and apply data-driven insights to meet the demands of their digitally empowered audience members, each of whom expects a tailored brand experience on demand.
Fortunately, marketing technology is doing a pretty good job of keeping pace with the data juggernaut. Marketers with the will and nerve to embrace this advanced technology actually can have the capability to engage customers on a highly individualized level at the precise moments of greatest impact. At Resulticks, we have something of a structured approach for doing that with AI-powered customer engagement in an omnichannel, real-time environment.
Marketers know that data is the backbone of customer engagement, but actually collecting, consolidating, and analyzing it from every available source can be a serious challenge.
Overwhelmed by the size and complexity of so much data, many marketers struggle to harness its power. But, there’s hope. With a methodical, rigorous strategy that includes setting specific goals, you can determine what data you’ll need, where you’ll have to go to get it, how much, and how often.
It’s a fact of life that you’ll have to make an investment in technology to make the most of your data. To invest wisely, assess your current infrastructure’s capability to integrate with the different systems and channels you utilize in order to create a robust data foundation, one that is continuously updated to ensure the latest customer intelligence is always at your disposal.
What’s the benefit of this? Your customer data will no longer be a disparate, unmanageable mass scattered across silos. Any and all customer data—demographic, psychographic, behavioral, social, and more—will be unified when captured.
In fact, with the right identification capabilities in place, consolidating customer profiles can be further simplified and executed at scale. A unified customer profile view that is constantly enhanced is key to targeting and engagement efforts that are relevant, meaningful, and rich in returns.
Communicate in context
Knowing when and where to communicate with your audience is not enough. Eye-catching creatives won’t always guarantee success. Consumers expect meaningful conversations that change with mood, time, or place and feel comfortably personal. Here, context is everything. It encompasses a host of relevant factors that can tilt each conversation in the right direction.
Within that very fluid conversation, a wide range of cues and triggers can signal the need for action—often in real time. To be contextual, then, requires a level of speed and precision that simply cannot be achieved manually and often evades the capacity of legacy martech solutions.
To start, you need to be able to immediately identify a customer upon contact or click, whether via a browser, a beacon, or any other channel in use. “Identify” in this instance needs not mean a name or email, it could be any set of data signals that give you access to their entire history with you and all the other relevant information you’ve managed to gather from them—with consent, of course.
Once identified in this way, the customer should be motivated to action—and nudged towards eventual conversion—through the most relevant response at any given moment.
A robust omnichannel rules engine, powered by AI and machine learning, enables you to specify in advance detailed business rules and customer actions that will trigger communications along divergent customer pathways. For even greater impact, technologies that enable individualized audience tracking and identification can ensure that every member of the audience is not just known but engaged with communications that build on past exchanges and resonate in the moment.
A unified and comprehensive view of the individual customer requires time and patience with an eye always towards uncovering ever more valuable insights. Across evolving campaigns, interactions, and transactions, assess the results—and leverage additional resources like surveys and polls on social media—to answer key questions such as:
- On which channel and at what time are they most inclined to respond?
- What are their interests?
- What is their interaction pattern?
- How do they feel about your brand and competitors?
- What offers elicit the best responses?
AI and machine learning are extraordinarily valuable in deepening your customer and campaign insights. A quickly growing number of marketers are beginning to connect audience insights to individual customers.
Lead, North America Operations