In the post-pandemic era, companies are seeking new methods of targeting and connecting to consumers. According to McKinsey, B2B companies are seeing digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions. Supporting this claim, in the latest round of industry analyst reports, the majority of responding companies are saying that 90% of their sales have moved online. In this article, we highlight three technologies that are helping to transform marketing to serve the digitization of the industry.

1. Customer Data Analytics

Whilst commerce has gone digital, it has not removed the need to understand what matters most to customers. One of the more effective ways of doing this is to capture customer feedback.  Even a decade ago, getting good research data from customers wasn’t easy.  In the digital age, it’s almost impossible for brands to get research surveys completed.  To listen to customers in the 21st century means tapping into their online interactions and profiling their buying behaviors.  It’s about harvesting data from multiple data points to build a picture of what makes buyers tick.

Combining traditional data analysis and visualization tools with big data and machine learning enables companies to build effective data analysis platforms to gain more accurate and real-time understanding of their customers and site visitors.

According to [Wikipedia]—’..big data is a field that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software.’

Machine learning (‘ML’) on the other hand is about writing computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience and by the use of data.  ML technologies have become more affordable and democratized over the past decade, so the number of IT people with ML skills has mushroomed, bringing this technology within reach of companies of all sizes.

Using these mechanisms to harvest and rationalize data, marketers are uniquely able to interpret the needs of their target segments and design strategies that help to improve customer experience and satisfaction touching every conversational channel.

For instance, Twitter applies machine learning technology to identify and evaluate tweets in real time and rank them using various metrics to display tweets that have the potential to drive the most active engagement.

2. Innovation in Chatbots

The state of the ‘customer service’ art over the last decade was the human customer service agent. What we’ve seen in recent years has been the proliferation of self-service vehicles for customers, like chat and voice bots.  Today, there are over 300,000 Facebook chatbots and 367% of people on a mobile phone would rather have access to a chatbot to answer emergency questions.

For instance, Twitter applies machine learning technology to identify and evaluate tweets in real time and rank them using various metrics to display tweets that have the potential to drive the most active engagement.

A chat bot is any form of computer program that simulates a natural human conversation. Chatbots allow customers to self-serve their answers quickly. The real fascination these days lies in smart AI chatbots that can understand the intent of enquirers, not just blindly look to capture common phrases in chat text that result in the wrong answers to questions being presented (what practitioners call ‘false positives’).

Chat and voice bots allow companies to go beyond the traditional “one to one” form of customer service. Rather, they act upon consumers’ request with speed and accuracy. Another major benefit for organizations looking to serve an always-on buying audience is that chat and voice bots don’t need to rest. They don’t take holidays.  They never go on strike.  Furthermore, resources can be easily scaled to serve peaks in demand.

Chat and voice bots improve customer experience by providing personalized and customized experience across multiple channels. For instance, they can detect user emotions or offer different language options that customers feel comfortable with.  Furthermore, chatbots are proficient in capturing what matters to customers and offer deep insights into buying trends, behaviors, preferences, likes, dislikes, etc.

Voice-based communication solutions are gradually transitioning chatbot use cases to voice bots.  In future, don’t be surprised if your customer service needs are being served up by Siri or Alexa.  Firms can leverage these intelligent voicebots to fully understand consumers’ needs and maximize every voice interaction with relevant and practical care.  Voice applications have more potential to shape brand tone of voice and personality to deepen the emotional connection made with customers and prospects.  

3. Rise of Personalized Digital Advertising 

Digital advertising has grown to become one of the most important forms of advertising and Statista shows that digital advertising spending worldwide amounted to 378.16 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, increasing significantly compared to the previous years.

The popularity of digital advertising is unsurprising. Facebook and Google Ad platforms are already using machine learning and data analysis to analyze customer trends and behaviours.  These extend into themes such as interests and demographics to better understand and target different customer segments.

Such techniques allow companies to detect the best and most suitable customers for their products, increasing sales revenue. What’s more, AI enables marketers to personalize their message to customers on an individual level to increase experience and satisfaction.

Business Team

As Meghan Keaney Anderson once said, “don’t push people to where you want to be; meet them where they are.”

The algorithms work by predicting customer behaviour based on their past browsing or shopping history. What is changing over this period is the fact that online advertising has gone more and more personal, from mass media advertising to personal targeting. This will help the company generate richer data about their target segments and bring a profound two-way impact.

The Takeaway

These modern marketing tools—big data, AI, personalized digital marketing—are transforming the field of marketing by equipping companies with deep insights into their customer audiences. Businesses would be wise to invest more in AI to be well-positioned to benefit from the shift in consumer behaviour and advancement in technology. It is important to note that companies have to be the first mover of the technology. As Steward Brand once said,“once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road”.