With 2018 almost coming to its end, it’s time to start making those New Year’s resolutions work smarter and not harder by looking ahead at what the future of marketing holds. So what is the secret of staying ahead of the competition in 2019?
As any marketer worth his salt knows, AI is no longer the future of marketing. In fact, adoption of AI under marketers has grown 44% since 2017. But it’s not enough to implement and sit back.
A satisfied customer is usually one who is engaged on a personal and emotional level. This shouldn’t be so surprising. Creating a connection and building a relationship that goes beyond the functional is just as effective in marketing as it is for developing personal relationships with friends, relatives and colleagues in our everyday lives.
However, most engagement in marketing remains locked in the transactional phase, which doesn’t create sustainable engagement. At Digital Alchemy, we believe there is a better way to engage customers. Scalable customer engagement is one of the least understood aspects of marketing, and we see that as a big opportunity for 2019. So, how do we build these meaningful and personal relationships at scale?
1. Connect with customers beyond the transaction
Mastering the art of emotional engagement means knowing what is relevant to each customer on an individual level. But with the increasing amounts of data being produced, how is it possible to tailor communications to every single customer in your database? Imagine having 700,000 customers, 878 products on offer, 130 promotions running, and 50 different content communications. You would already be looking at 35 billion+ unique possible conversations you could have with your customers.
The answer to that question is, of course, with the help of technology.
Emotional connections at scale means automating the decisions on which individual customer to talk to, what to talk to the customer about, and which psychological technique to apply. If you want to connect with a customer, you need to know what motivates them and which psychological technique resonates most. For example:
- The Sunk Cost Fallacy works by prompting people about their initial investment: “treat yourself to dessert for only another $5”
- The Commitment Principle gets people to convert by starting small and making it easy to commit: “Get started with a free account”
- Social Proof drives people who want to follow the crowd: “250k customers have already said “yes” to this offer”
By integrating these techniques with AI-decisioning technology, it’s possible to determine the most relevant technique for each individual customer. In other words, AI automates who to talk to, what to say, and how to say it in real time. That is how marketers move customer engagement beyond the transactional phase and start building an emotional connection.
2. Empower AI with data that matters
Before implementing AI, understand that your data is your main resource. The saying ‘garbage in, garbage out’ couldn’t be more relevant here. In order for AI to create more value from your current data and to be successful, it’s necessary to have the right data sets, processes and resources in place.
Instead of collecting as much data as possible, think about the data that really matters, the metrics that dictate where your marketing should go. On top of that, data enrichment can help fill the gaps between unknown and known data and deliver valuable insights.
3. Get chatbots to do more
Many organisations are already using chatbots as a cost effective means for their customer service. 2019 will likely see the rise of the conversational chatbot leading to more personalised and relevant experiences.
Integrated with a real-time inbound marketing solution, the new generation of chatbots will be able to detect Transition Moments and even identify cross-sell and upsell points based on the customer’s real-time data input. Integrated with an analytics system, chatbots will be able to identify behavioural models, adjust accordingly, and respond to the ever-changing moods of each customer with a relevant offer.
In 2019, much of our job as marketers remains the same, we’re still trying to understand our customers and build closer relationships. Technology helps us achieve this at scale. However, it’s important to understand how technology can serve you and your customers best. Make sure you have an implementation strategy and the right resources in place to ensure success. Besides, don’t forget to take a good look at the assets you already have in place. There’s always more value to be gained from your current data or optimising your MarTech stack.
Regan is a subject-matter expert in analytical database marketing and customer relationship marketing, as well as an in-demand presenter and keynote speaker at national and international events. He also authors thought leadership pieces on data-driven marketing that can be found on the DA Blog.
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