In the previous column, I wrote about how technology is transforming marketing. One of the benefits of the emerging marketing technology MarTech is that businesses now have an opportunity to create what I like to think of as 100% Customers.â These are customers for whom a business gets all their spend (or time). They are thus a marketer’s dream where a business has a monopoly on the category spend by a customer.
Some businesses have achieved 100% Customers by the sheer strength of their products and brand. Google has a 100% monopoly on search for many of us, while Apple has a 100% monopoly of our spend on gadgets (iPhone, iPad and Macbook) for some of us. Once upon a time, Jet Airways used to have a 100% monopoly on our air travel budgets and for some of us, Indigo has that now. For many years after Independence, the Congress party commanded the loyalty of a large base who voted only for it in every election.
Can MarTech help businesses to create 100% Customers?
Today’s customer is different from a few years ago digital and dropping data pheromones. So, while there is a transactional channel exchange of money or attention for product or service — with a customer, businesses now also need to create a communications channel. And therein lies the secret of developing 100% Customers.
There are four elements in creating 100% Customers: multi-channel hotline, single view of the customer, content journey and personalisation, and analytics and data augmentation. All of them are themed around transforming the customer relationship and experience.
In the digital age, customers have the ability to directly interact with the brand and vice versa. The primary device is increasingly becoming the mobile, there are at least five different options on the mobile SMS, voice, email, USSD and app. Customers can also interact via Twitter or Facebook. Thus, one can think of these as coming together to create a direct connect a hotline between a brand and a customer with either being able to initiate the exchange.
So, building a multi-channel hotline is one of the first priorities for a brand. For greater ease of communication, the mobile number or email ID can serve as the identity to initiate or authenticate over the hotline.
A single view of the customer is what pulls together all the customer transactions and interactions. Having such a view available in real-time is very important. For example, for a political party, it may be useful to know if a member has attended specific events or sent in comments on proposals or participated in surveys. All of these actions need to be aggregated together to create the unified view.
Based on the single view, content can then be pushed to customers automatically and personalised to their interests. Brands can lead customers down a content journey, and track their actions, feeding them back into the single view. Cross-channel automation and data-driven personalisation are the twin building blocks for content marketing. Think of this as the persuasion phase interesting and relevant content delivered at the right time helps maximise the probability of the next spend of the customer being with the brand.
To enable all of this, analytics and algorithms will play a critical path. Customer data is the foundation for this. Transaction data, profile/demographic data and behavioural data all needs to be combined together to search for patterns and answer the question what next. Third party data can also help augment profiles though this is still a nascent industry in India. Data will increasingly become the bedrock of cultivating the 1:1 relationship and crafting an individualised experience.
This is the new world of MarTech that is now being built combining delivery engines, automation platforms, and databases. By using the emergence of MarTech as a disruptive innovation, brands and businesses have a unique opportunity to reshape the competitive landscape and build 100% Customers.