Consumers’ expectations for personalised content and experiences are mounting—we want to receive what we want, when, where and how we want it. At the same time, today’s brands are also requesting more and more personal information from consumers, meaning we expect to receive tailored content and customised, high-quality user experiences in return.
Consumers aren’t quiet about these demands. According to Ernst and Young’s 2017 Digital Australia: State of the Nation Report, over half of the people surveyed said they want companies to tailor the content they are offered to reflect their own interests. Failing to tailor the content consumers receive results in an inevitable frustration and, more disturbingly, a loss of confidence and trust in brands. The onus is on brands to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Luckily for today’s marketers, it’s now possible to deliver on consumers’ increasing expectations. Marketing platforms now use artificial intelligence marketing (AIM) and machine learning to collect and analyse consumer data to craft detailed consumer profiles. Marketers can leverage these profiles to create highly targeted, personalised content, campaigns, incentives, and experiences.
Marketers no longer have to send generic messages to huge audiences. Instead, AIM makes it possible for marketers to create, optimise and customise interactions across multiple channels, with little to no added manual work. This means marketers can engage with consumers in meaningful ways, on a personal level, at every step of the buying journey.
So how do marketers actually achieve this level of personalisation? The answer lies in emerging and innovative technology.
Today’s personalised marketing technology can use customer data to predict buyer needs, align brand offerings to those needs and then proactively recommend products and offerings that benefit both the customer and the brand.
Here are some types of technology that can help marketers deliver consumers what they want, before they even know they want it:
1. Automated marketing
Automation enables marketers to create complex workflows, turn them on, and let the technology take over.
Many marketing automation solutions allow for enhanced personalisation in addition to optimisation. These advanced workflows can be expanded to include personalised content and messaging based on specific triggers or predetermined rules. Marketing automation allows marketers to do more with less, all while creating a seamless consumer experience.
2. Tech savvy offline
This is one trend garnering a lot of attention in 2017. It refers to bringing a digital, online experience to bricks-and-mortar stores, through in-store experiences like robots, virtual reality and other tech-savvy gimmicks.
While these types of customer draws may seem trite, they can actually be a great way to collect customer data for an offline audience. Marketers can then use this data to supplement digital marketing profiles, creating even more opportunities for personalisation and refinement.
3. Conversational commerce
Another trend is the rise of conversational commerce in marketing, which comes on the heels of new artificial intelligence offerings such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home and Apple’s Siri. Brands have already begun partnering with these innovative companies to bring a whole new level of 1:1 communication to consumers.
Conversational commerce, like AIM, is a technology that would not have been possible just a few years ago, yet is now looking to be a must-have strategy for the future. These types of technologies go to show how quickly marketing solutions can change; where consumers go, marketers must follow. These emerging solutions are the keys to predicting consumer expectations and delivering exceptional experiences that drive sales.
4. Omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel marketing, while not a technology itself is the strategy that ties these innovative ideas together and depends upon emerging technology in its execution.
Omnichannel experiences are seamless across channels, platforms and devices, ensuring that consumers never lose sight of a brand’s purpose or the value it provides. It’s important that marketers work toward an omnichannel strategy as they create complex campaigns on these new technology platforms.
Consumers are smart. They know when a brand isn’t being genuine or honest. Omnichannel marketing ensures that consumers receive consistent, steady interactions with a brand regardless of channel, safeguarding against forced interactions or faulty messaging.
The aforementioned consumer profiles are critical components of omnichannel strategies, as they help brands maintain personalised and meaningful engagement with consumers throughout the buying journey, all the way through the sale.
At the end of the day, personalised brand experiences and meaningful engagement are what turn consumers into loyal brand advocates. The sky-high expectations of consumers are no excuse for a sub-par attempt at personalisation. Marketers have the tools available to understand their customers and predict their future behaviours and AIM means marketers can now engage with consumers in meaningful ways, on a personal level, at every step of the buying journey. It’s time for brands to step up.
Heath Barlow is the Australasia market lead for Emarsys.
Want the latest retail news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up to the weekly retailbiz newsletter.