With great technology comes great responsibility.
Marketers aiming to craft customer-centric campaigns must heed those words—derived from Spider-Man’s wise Uncle Ben, no less. It is important to pause and think about your way of harnessing digital technology to design a delightful customer experience (CX). That is if you’re using the likes of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to inform marketing decisions at all.
There is a wealth of insight to be gleaned from such tools. It does not have to be gained at a high cost, either. Sometimes, the best course is to pay attention to the customer information already sitting, gathering virtual dust, on your company’s digital channels and computer drives.
Fast and Free: Social Media Insights
For starters, determine your target personas and where they’re present. Then be visible on those channels. For instance, a small retail brand can create an account on Facebook and Instagram. Now, these two are included in the list of top 10 social media platforms based on Quantcast, Alexa, and SimilarWeb rankings. You will find plenty of online articles about what time to post and what content type works on either site. But at some point, a business with a customer-first mindset has to deviate from these standards.
Sure, copying another brand’s method is easier and faster. It can also signal that you are listening more to what you want instead of what consumers want. Break free from this practice and start personalizing your posts according to the data found in the Insights section of your Facebook and Instagram for Business accounts. This way, you’ll know how people are interacting specifically with your brand.
The Combined Power of Big Data and Analytics
Big data refers to the “large volume of data that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis,” says software analytics firm SAS. They come from multiple sources, from traditional databases to text documents, emails, audios, and videos. They provide answers to questions like “Is something trending on social media?” In other words, there are endless streams of data that marketers can analyze and incorporate into their decision-making.
Take Netflix as an example. It has access to the habits of millions of international viewers. The online streaming service network then applies the insights to commissioning original programs and purchasing rights to films and series box sets. That it allowed the production of four Adam Sandler films in 2015, despite the actor’s dimming star power in the United States and the United Kingdom, was a result of big data analytics. He was apparently a hit in Latin American countries at the time. You don’t have to be as big and global to start realizing how you can offer something your consumers will appreciate.
With data integration in AI, you get richer information than ever. The process helps smooth CX issues out real-time, or it does so more widely and effectively.
The Dorchester Collection, a luxury hotel portfolio, did away with mystery shoppers and customer satisfaction surveys. Instead, it used AI to redefine its competitive advantage. To enhance its customer service, it employed Metis, similar to IBM’s Watson. It was Metis’ job to parse through thousands upon thousands of customer reviews, in multiple languages at that. Then, as described by Ana Brant, the Dorchester Collection’s director for global guest experience and innovation, it summarized key findings, put those findings in context with competitors, and showed them which stories were important.
Another thing Brant and company learned from this exercise: “It’s not what the data tells you; it’s what you do with what the data is telling you that makes the difference. Can you resist the temptation to standardize, and use the data to uncover what makes your business unique?”
Thoughts to Ponder
These channels and tools are sources of deep consumer knowledge, which in turn can direct marketing efforts. Your profound understanding of customer attitudes and behaviors will show in how you develop products and services, as well as in how you design CX. At the end of the day, brands exist to add value, to help people make sense of what they want. It is only apt for marketers like you to leverage digital technology not only to convert leads to sales but also to serve customers the best way possible.