Evolution of consumer tastes and preferences has been further accelerated, making it essential to stay abreast to make confident decisions
By Vinay Mony
2020 is a year that everyone wishes didn’t happen. The year ushered in the worst economic climate since World War 2. It has affected every person, every industry, and every country. The impact of the crisis is evident in changes in consumer preferences, behaviors, buying, and spending patterns. Marketers, who want to succeed in this new normal, are now having to completely reset, refresh and rethink. As a result, CMOs are increasingly turning to data and analytics to recalibrate their understanding of the consumer and stay relevant.
Here are the top five data and analytics trends that are transforming the marketing industry in the new normal:
Multi-source data for better consumer insights
Evolution of consumer tastes and preferences has been further accelerated, making it essential to stay abreast to make confident decisions. Customer surveys are generally leveraged to understand customer sentiment and preferences. However, with vast amounts of unstructured data available today, businesses are combining multiple data sources to gain deeper consumer insights. Moreover, marketers have access to Machine Learning enabled, advanced Natural Language Processing models. These models help in extracting insights from data sources like reviews, voice and chat conversations, transaction data, customer feedback, etc. This can help marketers gain a more complete view of the consumer, to inform better and more precise targeting.
Ensemble modeling to improve marketing ROI
Continuous reassessment and fine-tuning of marketing budget allocation for maximum ROI has always been critical for marketers. This became even more critical in 2020. Traditionally, Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) was used as the primary technique to inform the allocation of marketing budget. With the increasing use of online channels in recent years, Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA) has caught the attention of marketers. That said, one can’t be used as a substitute for the other. To gain true value, marketers are leveraging MMM to inform long-term, strategic planning, while MTA is used in tandem for short-term, tactical insights.
Analytics on cloud to improve customer-level marketing
With the rise in online shopping, businesses have vast amounts of consumer data. It is important that this data is appropriately stored, where it can be easily leveraged to gain consumer insights. As a result, several marketers are increasingly shifting to cloud to tap into its numerous benefits. Apart from the obvious cost and productivity benefits, it also offers vast compute power and open-source analytics. Leveraging these can significantly change how marketers reach and engage with their audience, especially at customer-level marketing.
New-age technology to deliver connected customer experiences
Today, consumers don’t just expect value but also demand a good and connected experience. Often, this can be tricky as customer journeys may span various channels and touchpoints. For a comprehensive customer view, marketers are using data from multiple customer touchpoints. This is enabled through an identity match of customers across various channels, combined with complex matching algorithms. In addition, there are several customer experience (CX) platforms like Qualtrics that help track and measure customer experience for different touchpoints. Using holistic, actionable insights through these new-age technologies, marketers can deliver better, relevant customer experiences.
AI / ML models to accelerate hyper personalisation
Consumers are often inundated with a large amount of mass marketing ads and messages. In order to stand apart and build deeper consumer relationships, marketers are turning to hyper-personalisation. To help them do so, there are complex, ML-based algorithms that help in analyzing large amounts of consumer data, developing robust consumer profiles, and enabling real-time customisation of messages and experiences. Implementing such a strategy not only improves consumer experience, but also drives brand loyalty and overall marketing effectiveness.
As much as we wish 2020 didn’t happen, it did help accelerate almost a decades’ growth in a matter of months. With 2021 will come even higher expectations of customer experience and personalization. Marketers will need to continue staying abreast of evolving consumer tastes, preferences and expectations, and responding with agility. Data and analytics will play a critical role in this.
The author is vice president, Ugam, a Merkle Company
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