From demographic to social and transactional, Connected Consumers are happy to offer personal data in exchange for more personal service and experience. Relationships between brands and consumers have changed. The way we consume products, services – and even marketing messages – is not the same as it once was. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets along with the rise in the value of the subscription economy is leading this change. Consumers are now hyper-connected in ways that never existed before.
Digital innovation has given consumers unprecedented levels of flexibility and has redefined expectations of what brands can provide. Hyper-connected consumers are creating a mass of data and information. From demographic to social and transactional, consumers are happy to offer personal data in exchange for more personal service and experience.
The power rests with consumers today and keeping up with changing needs and delivering the kind of optimal experiences that today’s new breed of consumers demand is emerging as the way forward for brands.
The Connected Consumer
Consumers know they are highly sought after and they know they have the power to switch off when they want to. This means they want amazing brand experiences and they want what they want when they want it. When they are unhappy with a brand they can delete, unsubscribe, ignore, scroll past, and uninstall in an instant. Once you give someone that power, you can’t take it back. They are empowered! They want instant gratification, recognition, speed, control, and results. And they’re prepared to move to a competitor when brands fail.
For example, it only takes one negative experience for 49 percent of US and UK consumers to switch hotel providers, and 41 percent to switch their airline, according to research by Lithium. This means that brands have to actively listen, not just through the usual feedback channels, but through known consumer data, in order to use that data to predict and respond to pain points and opportunities as they arise.
In this post-GDPR world, consumers are increasingly aware that their personal data is valuable and that it holds the key to personal experiences. In fact, today’s connected consumers now want personalized messages and product recommendations at every touchpoint with a brand. In a global study of consumers, Selligent found that 71 percent agree that personalization is very important when interacting with brands, and over 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that knows their name as well as their purchase history and recommends on-taste products, according to research by Accenture.
This shows that brands must treat consumers as individuals by recognizing who they are and what they need in the moment, and deliver relevant and personalized value to them. Brands that don’t will lose customers to competitors that adapt a consumer-fist mindset faster because they will keep consumers engaged in personal relationships that grow over time. A consumer-first Marketing approach is a key to achieving this.
Consumer-first Marketing is a model of Marketing strategy that begins every initiative with the consumer at the center, not with a channel or product or message. It requires marketers to begin from the perspective of the value you can deliver to the consumer, as opposed to the value you can extract from a consumer. By knowing a consumer as an individual, by understanding the context of their interaction with the brand, by knowing – or trying to identify – their needs, marketers can deliver the greatest value to a consumer in each and every interaction.
The aim is to continuously build out a rounded profile of your customer by looking at available information like tracking behavioral data, transactional data, data from social media and much more. As a result, marketers will be able to engage with entitled consumers in the long term while maximizing the lifetime value of each individual consumer’s relationship with the brand.
Hyper-Personalization Through AI and Machine Learning
According to the Selligent Connected Consumer Index, 51 percent of consumers are willing to share personal details for a more personalized experience. Using AI to serve relevant content is the foundation to build long-lasting relationships with your customers. AI allows marketers to identify their audience and tailor experiences, content, and delivery, which drive better conversions and Marketing ROI.. AI helps marketers to achieve hyper-personalization, which requires knowing previous likes, purchases, and behaviors, while factoring in current situational needs. This delivers a level of insight which is only made possible through AI and Machine Learning
Using Machine Learning, it became possible to answer questions like: what is this person most likely to buy today? What is this person’s overall predicted spend? What is the best channel to use to reach this person to maximize the probability of her buying again in the next month? Answering these kinds of questions on a per-person basis and in real-time is a game-changer that allows brands to foster long-lasting relationships with consumers based on data.
For instance, if we look at retail, the shift to digital channels creates massive amounts of customer data, but brands need help transforming this information into actionable insight. AI engines crunch terabytes of data per second to connect Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) – think customer behavior, purchase history, and demographics – with retail inventories and business policies. Then Machine Learning-algorithms create predictive offers, individually tailored towards individual customers. Distributed via Omnichannel solutions in dynamic messages, predictive offers bring one-to-one personalization into emails, websites, and push messages. Retailers are also increasingly personalizing website content based on location. This is reflected in dynamic advertising, offers, and in-store-pick up at the store located nearest to customers. Geo-optimizing retail locations is money well spent since over 30 percent of all searches are already based on location (Google).
Ultimately, to succeed at marketing to the connected consumer you need a consumer-first mindset combined with the best possible consumer intelligence in order to grow and maintain long-term relationships based on mutual trust and understanding.