“Every [customer] choice is a demand signal,” says analyst and author Ray Wang.
With industry-leading analysts predicting a surge in increased enterprise spending on bots and voice search in 2021 and beyond, we’re witnessing a point of inflection for customers in their hungry adoption — and abandonment — of devices, platforms, and connected ‘things.’
The subject of loyalty is raised time and time again in terms of how to sustainably engage customers, leaving brands scrambling to generate true loyalty in this “post-sale, on-demand attention economy.”
We need to be better at balancing technology adoption to address customers' needs, especially as Generation Z and their Millennial predecessors continue to build on their digital native’s expectations. These generations demand better experiences and value, and brands must learn how to stitch together seamless, real-time, relevant moments, experiences, and journeys if they expect to find long-term success.
Changing consumer demands are already creating a make-or-break situation for the travel industry, where businesses like Uber have demonstrated that winning travelers hinges on the ability to deliver a more convenient experience. This is the time for brands to take control of their destiny and look to technology, not for the sake of innovation, but as the means that will allow them to develop and roll out a strategy for mass personalization — a strategy for change. A strategy that can be sustained no matter what the future holds.
2020’s marketing technology landscape lists a remarkable 8,000 solutions, with data solutions taking the cake and seeing a 25.5% increase in growth since 2019. To be precise, there are currently 1,258 data marketing solutions out there. That's a lot of solutions, but we're also all sitting on a lot of data. As chiefmartec puts it in the tech landscape article, "the challenge now is figuring out how to harness [data] effectively. That's driving a lot of software innovation in the space." We're all trying to crack the code to maximizing data.
The proliferation of marketing data solutions spurs a lot of questions, and for many of us one very big one: where do I get started? There are probably as many approaches as solutions, and each business will have to look at their biggest needs to decide their priorities.
If you're just getting started weeding through your platform options, we suggest starting with your goal and working backwards.
There are just a few examples of key questions to ask to get down to the core of your project. It sounds logical and like simple work, but there's always one caviat: you don't know what you don't know.
Do you know — and we mean, really know — what you can realistically achieve with data today?
Since approach and vision are paramount in making data-driven customer journeys effective, we will explore another approach to technology adoption and marketing effectiveness that turns customer focus into a sustainable reality. An approach that incorporates the flexibility of best-of-breed technology to drive tangible business goals, but with the additional built-in value of Intelligent predictions, and Orchestration of data and relevant content, across organizational silos and data sources.
We call it Intelligent Journey Orchestration (IJO) It is the data-driven marketing strategy that mirrors customer behavior across all channels to deliver true one-to-one personalization in real-time throughout the entire customer journey.
IJO platforms work on several levels to automate this kind of personalization at scale. By activating customer insights in real-time, it lets businesses generate individually personalized customer journeys across online and offline channels. It recognizes and remembers individuals across a lifetime of interactions, and it allows businesses to apply industry-specific AI models to optimize unique journeys for individuals rather than segments.
As a result, customers get highly relevant, personalized messaging when it matters most: in the moment. As a result, businesses are easily able to deliver individual journeys that increase conversion, loyalty, retention, and growth.
Though marketing is perceived to be moving into a post-platform era and heterogeneous marketing stacks have become the norm, marketers still need a centralized data management solution to strategically unify and activate valuable 1st-party data from owned apps, back-end systems and devices.
Your 1st party data delivers a baseline of quality, and the ability to apply it across contexts builds a strong foundation that can then be enriched and extended with 2nd and 3rd party data from the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook. Learn more about different types of data, where they're collected and how they can be leveraged in this article >>
This forms the first step in an enterprise’s bid to bring disparate data sources together in a way that best suits a brand’s customers and benefits business performance.
It is fundamental to set a flexible baseline that considers data collection from unlimited existing and future screens and marketing silos, wherever it matters most to customers.
Of all the many ways software solutions profess to develop and put AI to practical use — from playing chess to diagnosing diseases — one of the most beneficial for businesses is the ability to leverage high-quality data as a baseline for industry-specific machine learning. This doesn’t make marketers or data scientists obsolete, but instead makes their lives easier by freeing up their time to focus on strategic operations, rather than manually organizing and analyzing huge vats of data.
The ‘Intelligent’ part of Intelligent Journey Orchestration refers to AI that has a targeted enough knowledge base of what makes up your industry, with all its nuances and variables, and even the pathways your customers take. IJO makes it possible to create AI-driven customer journeys that keep getting better, because your platform is continuously learning from your data.
In a practical sense, this means brands can specify a predetermined end-goal for each customer journey, which is then complemented by AI-driven recommendations to help reach these goals. This could be anything from selecting the right audience, to serving more relevant content and creating an optimal channel mix.
The role of the marketer continues to lean more heavily towards technology and digital, and we believe this shift has the customer at its heart.
Technology’s promise of personalization at scale has become less of an empty promise and more of a pressing necessity (and a real possibility). It’s now in the hands of brands to deliver dynamic messages in real-time, with content and context that hit the right note to mirror their customer’s movements.
Of course, it’s not enough to simply collect and analyze customer interactions across channels. Knowing is one thing, acting is another. Orchestration means engaging with customers 1:1, in the environment that makes the most sense for them, and for sustainable business. It means the ability for marketers to decide that when their airline passenger opts for extra legroom on their upcoming flight, they should stop receiving ancillary ads across channels. It means that they then automatically become eligible for a series of pre-engineered emails and push notifications related to service updates and destination guides, to add value to their journey.
From a user perspective on the brand side, orchestration should mean a control center of customer journeys that can be orchestrated and optimized as they happen in order to create customer experiences focused on meaningful interactions in the moment, rather than based on daily or weekly imports or exports from various different databases.
Now is the time for enterprises to reclaim their brand’s independence in agility, innovation and customer obsession. It's time to remove all traces of vendor lock-in, slow-down or strategic compromise with a comprehensive, centralized approach to marketing technology that goes beyond limiting data management categories. It's time for Intelligent Journey Orchestration.
The race is on to be where your customers are, and Intelligent Journey Orchestration means staying relevant. Remaining responsive enough to shifting preferences and taking back the ability to anticipate behaviors in real-time is the difference between staying ahead of your competitors and losing your loyal customer to a brand who got there first.
The window of opportunity is still open for established companies to continue setting their brand on the right tracks. With a bold and decisive step which makes sense for today’s customer, marketers are set to embrace AI in a practical way, revitalize customer experience through real-time engagement, and let go of what used to work.
We hope that now, brands will take control of their own destiny. It's up to business leaders to catalyze actions to transform, evolve and do better by their customers.