A consumer’s journey to making a purchase happens in minutes, therefore why wouldn’t brands create an experience for your customers that reacts with their behaviour and interests – in minutes. Technologies, machine learning and automation are changing the shape of marketing and how businesses understand and engage with their customers. We walk around with mobiles and smart devices as an extension of self. If we need something, we get our mobile phones out for information, banking, communication and shopping, and our expectations are already high and increasing with each experience we have with a brand.

Combining the online and offline into a single marketing strategy called ‘bricks and clicks’ is key to meeting these expectations. Brands must be “discoverable” through their physical presence in shopping malls and districts as well as home websites, social media, online marketplaces such as Amazon and comparison shopping sites. And according to Lead Evangelist in Europe for Amazon Alexa, Max Amordeluso, voice systems will become a natural occurrence in consumer lives.

Max and Managing Director at GI Insight, Andy Adkins, spoke at a keynote in Manchester on Amazon Alexa’s voice recognition skills, the future of data and how brands are only just reaching the tip of the iceberg in terms of our capabilities with data.

In some cases, big data has been sensationalised rather than utilised by brands looking to understand their customers. The challenge created by multitudes of channels a customer’s footprint can touch is actually the biggest opportunity we have seen, until voice recognition Max would argue, in terms of profiling and targeting customers efficiently and meaningfully.

Channels and minutes

Speaking about targeting customer efficiently, Andy’s research into GI Insight campaigns had revealed a one-in-three chance of getting a consumer to finish the purchase if they are contacted with targeted information within 24 hours. If a company waits seven days, customers have a one-in-ten chance of returning and completing the purchase.

Intelligent automation behind ‘bricks and clicks’ campaigns are key to quickly reacting to customer needs after they engage with your brand. When a brand can detect when a customer visits their store or venue and send a timely email or SMS asking for a review, send a 10% discount for their first or third visit or offer a limited-edition item, there is a high chance they will increase not only their revenue but the customer experience as well.

Based on Andy’s own experience, sending birthday offers had the highest redemption rate of messages and converting online consumers into the physical stores. Brands need to streamline safe, secure and compliant methods of gathering information in order to create and design their customer journeys.

AI (artificial intelligence) is also developing these engagements with consumers as it removes the brand’s need to interpret single interactions, and enables greater time to report on insights and influence business decisions based on actionable data.

You want your customers to tune in, not out

When Max spoke about the updated skills in Amazon Alexa, he made an interesting point about designing simple and relevant marketing – and that is by making it natural.

Max commented that when something is presented to him that he didn’t request, he tunes out. Systems have to be simple enough of a conversation that people get a short, natural answer that makes sense. Then brands can move this communication on from a small to medium and large level of experience, test them, and repeat the ones that work based on the behaviour of customers on that level.

Once you have found what works, repeating it is key.

What do you need for engagement to work?

Andy and Max both agree that brands need data to create a routine that channels consumers back to their brand, either as repeat customers or loyal patrons. New marketing methods, such as virtual reality gaming and video streaming campaigns, are huge investments brands need to know how much to invest in to get the highest possible engagement based on interests and behaviour.

 

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