Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 | 4 min read
Our fundamental job as marketers is to drive stronger and more meaningful connections between customers and brands. Everything we do must start with the customer. So actually… it’s all about them.
Today’s customers lead fundamentally digital lives. They’re freely engaging and transacting with brands via multiple devices and touchpoints in real time. They expect their desires to be met and their questions answered with no more than a click – whenever and wherever they want. They are more connected and empowered than ever before, and brands have no choice but to acquiesce.
To succeed, every business should reevaluate itself and ask, “Are we truly building more meaningful connections with our customers?”
The proliferation of data we can now gather from the customer journey has given us incredibly deep knowledge about customer behavior and preferences. We know in abundant detail what drives each transaction, and we can draw on a vast expanse of external data for even greater insights.
With this much information at our fingertips, there’s no excuse for creating irrelevant customer experiences.
The challenge (and opportunity) for today’s marketers is interpreting and effectively using data in order to drive the point of engagement ever closer to the point of transaction. It’s about finding that “segment of one” in an efficient and scalable fashion. It’s all about relevance. Marketing’s true art lies in managing the science – by combining data-driven consumer understanding with unbounded creativity and a smart distribution strategy.
If we can use data to target individuals on a very personal level, and focus on creating value for them, we can then create meaningful connections and build a loyal customer base.
Enlightened brands are beginning to take more control of their own data, outsourcing their data less and less. Rather than asking an agency to build an audience, they’re using their own first- and second-party data to build audiences, then challenging agencies to tap into that data for their targeting. It is this new approach to data management and data consultancy that is beginning to shape the future of the agency/client relationship.
Relevance goes hand-in-hand with transparency. This is true when it comes to the relationship between customers and brands, and also the ones between agencies and clients.
Ben Wood, iProspect’s Global President, recently challenged all agencies to be more transparent. “Clients want to know how agencies are using their data, how they’re structuring commercials, what tech is being used and why, and whether their ads are being seen,” he explained. “The industry likes to hide behind complexity as some kind of justification for what it is. Simple should be the new complex.”
I agree. It’s time to speak less nonsense. It’s time to help our clients embrace the seismic shift that placed digital at the center of the marketing world. It’s time to lead our clients to understand the business impact digital media has on their businesses, and to see the impact modern customers have on brands’ abilities to not only grow, but exist in the future. It’s time to lead our clients to understand the data behind the art, and it’s time to truly partner with our clients to shape relevant experiences for customers by leveraging both our data-led capabilities and our creativity.
Half of the Top 100 Advertisers are losing market share, or at best are flat. Even worse, 40% of companies currently in the S&P 100 are projected to be out of business altogether by 2020. The malady? An ability to adapt to the rapid change of technology, data, and digital consumption.
We’re in uncharted territory, yet we’re still playing by the same old rules.
As marketers, we must drop the old notion that “digital” is just one of many subsections of the marketing universe. It can no longer be seen as a separate marketing channel – a small part of the big picture.
Today, digital is ground zero. It is the foundation for all marketing, and we must treat it as such.