That chilling warning, from RP Singh, chairman and producer of Content Marketing Summit Asia, highlights the flip side of online marketing.
Unprecedented volumes of data, effective analytics, and ubiquitous connectivity are now making it possible to develop a granular understanding of the customer. These insights, gleaned and applied wisely, can mean enhanced loyalty and growth. But failure to act can result in lost customers—and potentially your business—while nimbler rivals step up.
Both possibilities will be discussed at this year’s Adobe Symposium 2017, May 23 to 24 in Sydney.
“Customer delight is the only step towards building a long-term and sustainable business. Many organisations focus on profitability today, but if they can delight their customers, that leads to sustainable profitability,” Singh said. “Customer delight builds loyalty and results in repurchase behaviour. It also helps raise the competitive barrier for rivals wanting to poach your customers.”
To that end, technology can help. Analyst Forrester recently cited predictive analytics among the technologies most important to retailers in 2017. Leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify patterns and forecast user demand and expectations can give organizations a leg up on providing consumers what they want before they know that they want it
Forrester also pointed to content-driven personalisation, particularly via website and email, as critical to success.
Alice Manners, head of marketing at Cash Converters, noted that to do that successfully requires a deep, rather than superficial, understanding of each customer before bombarding them with content they may not want.
“What some customers consider stalking, others may view as relevant. It’s the main reason so much focus is placed on understanding every aspect of your customer,” Manners said. “Consumers today expect near- to real-time interaction, meaning they want it now. Efficient data collection can now create an accurate customer profile. When done well, this means the data helps create optimal customer messages or offers. Subsequent feedback can then be integrated and the loop continues.”
Manners’s comments about data-driven insights are backed by Telsyte’s recently released “Big Data & Analytics Market Study 2017.” The report shows demand for high-volume data processing and real-time intelligence is growing strongly, with sales and marketing applications one of the top three use cases. However, the report also revealed that just 15% of marketing departments have deployed big data analytics, suggesting many companies have yet to fully commit to delighting their customers.
Indeed, many companies still struggle with metrics. “This occurs when too much focus is placed on top-line metrics or there is lack of clarity on which metrics matter most and why,” Manners said. “For some, it’s the disconnect between business performance and the metrics, or not having a culture to absorb customer feedback.”
Added Singh: “Whatever method you choose, you need to be careful about what questions you ask and what exactly you measure. Customers are more likely to respond to an indirect question than a direct one related to products and services.”
In the end, the ultimate measurement of success comes from revenues and profits--and that demands enterprise velocity, he added.
“There is nothing more important than the speed of your response to the customer. You delay, and your competitor nabs them,” Singh said. “The digital world has increased problems for businesses where they need to be almost real-time in managing customer expectations.”