When it comes to marketing strategies, there are three major factors businesses need to keep in mind if they want to remain successful: the advantages of big data, the risks of intelligent disruption, and the importance of customer experience.
The Advantages of Big Data
It’s easier than ever to get loads of information from your customers. With so many digital advances changing how we advertise online, one of the best things about modern marketing is the easy access to consumers’ locations, interests, and even browsing habits. And when you harness the power of big data to get to know your customers better, your business has a much better chance of coming out on top.
In the past, data collected from customers has typically been used for things like segmented targeting. Today, as the data we get grows exponentially, we can utilize AI and machine learning to create useful algorithms for us, helping us advertise even more effectively. (Just don’t let your AI do all the work, especially when it comes to things that directly affect your customers—a human touch is still needed.)
“Personalization and big data can help provide a single view of the customer—a strategy that is becoming critical for modern retailers to succeed in today’s omnichannel world,” says Ryan Wheeler, Principal Consultant for Data Science at Clarity Insights. “Modern retailers can leverage the power of big data and customer data management to create real-time, multifaceted data sets for email campaigns, online optimization, assortment planning, and more.”
The more information about your customers you have to work with, the better you can serve them. That’s why it’s more important than ever to figure out the best ways to organize it and analyze it, whether you’re using human brains or artificial ones.
The Risks of Intelligent Disruption
Staying true to your brand is important, but that doesn’t mean your business has to remain in the past. In fact, remaining in the past is one of the easiest ways for intelligent disruption to rear its ugly head and negatively impact your company.
Forcing a pivot—for instance, abandoning traditional advertising to focus solely on digital, or dropping your editorial staff in favor of video—isn’t a good idea if it means risking the loss of your voice, identity, or functionality. Likewise, while it may be tempting, it’s not practical to simply buy the latest tech everyone else is using if it doesn’t make sense for your business.
Don’t assume this means you can never make advancements, though—according to Forrester, your company’s strategies should never be stagnant.
“Don’t write a five-year business strategy and think you’re done. You’re not,” says Nigel Fenwick, Forrester’s Vice President & Principal Analyst. “Your business strategy must constantly evolve, just like your business.”
The risks of intelligent disruption are often mitigated by companies remaining agile, but not turbulent. In other words, don’t attempt a shake-up just because you’re worried you’re falling behind. Instead, keep one finger on the pulse of your business strategy, testing it and adjusting it periodically in order to figure out the best plan for your future.
The Importance of Customer Experience
RIP, Sears. They ignored what customers wanted, and that’s why they’re dead. Instead of entering the current age to accommodate their customers, Sears remained in the past—and that’s where we’re leaving them.
One only has to read anecdotes from former employees to be transported instantly back in time to the musty, depressing environment of a mid-aughts Sears. Even well into 2018, their outdated products, technology, and even decor all communicated the same thing to the customer: we don’t care about you.
So is it really that shocking that they’re gone?
Successful companies “recognize their customers’ expectations are evolving,” says Fenwick. “These companies are obsessed with helping their customers achieve their desired outcomes, and they continuously explore new ways to do that profitably.” Perhaps if Sears had bothered to listen to their customers instead of trying to get them to sign up for a credit card every time they shopped, they’d still be with us.
In other words: just as you shouldn’t use a “set it and forget it” approach when developing your business strategy, you shouldn’t do the same when thinking about customer experience. Bored, unhappy customers are bad for business, so it’s imperative to analyze what really clicks with them. (And, yes, that includes aesthetics.)
Are you harnessing the power of big data to get to know your customers and experiment with new strategies? If not, 2019 is a great time to start. Contact Kirkpatrick Creative today. We’ll be glad to help.