How do you deliver hyper-relevant, cross-channel customer experiences that boost loyalty, increase average order value, reduce churn, and turn browsers into buyers fast? Programmatic CRM can make it all happen. Don’t miss our VB Live event that shows you how to get the right message to the right customer at exactly the right time — every time.
Marketers have always understood that customers are multi-dimensional individuals who have constantly changing preferences and needs. Yet, relationship marketing technology has historically constrained marketers to think of customers in terms of static segments based on stale attributes, and to communicate with customers in “batch and blast” mode.
Programmatic techniques that have previously transformed the world of media buying are now poised to enable marketers to address customers as dynamic entities, who may move in and out of segments and express dynamic preferences. Technologies like streaming data and machine learning, combined with API based automation, are enabling marketers to end impersonal and stale marketing once and for all.
“Don’t you know me?”
In today’s “perpetually connected” world, customers are leaving behind an increasingly richer digital footprint, providing marketers with more cues to personalize. Consider a large business like Walmart: the amount of click stream activity now exceeds the amount of PoS transactions in stores. It’ no wonder that, according to IBM, 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. At the same time, the amount of content available to marketers, in order to deliver a personalized experience, is also exploding. WordPress users alone are producing 64 million posts each month, and more than 27 million of pieces of content are shared every day.
This deluge of customer data combined with an increased variety of content has the potential to power a new world of 1:1 customer engagement. For the first time, marketers who can harness this data will be able to surface the true multi-dimensional behavior of their customers. More impressively, they will be able to segment customers dynamically instead of statically to deliver engaging communications based on up-to-the-moment data. In addition, these marketers would be able to tap into the vast library of content and dynamically deliver personalized content to each customer, on the right channel.
However, there’s a catch: before marketers can attain this promised land, they will have to capture the customer data and connect the dots to surface the right content for each customer at the right time. Studies show that marketers feel ill equipped for this explosion in content, and are overloaded with customer data. As a result, brands end up delivering impersonal customer experiences with outdated data, leaving customers wondering “don’t you know me?”
A “Database of Verbs”
In a dynamic and perpetually connected world, marketers must seek to understand customers through the lens of dynamic interactions, instead of static attributes. In the mass marketing world, marketers thought of customer engagement as database marketing, populating their databases with semi-static information like “gender”, “age” and “address” about their customers. In this notion of database marketing, the databases describe nouns, like customers and products, and attributes of these nouns.
Cutting edge marketers are responding by shifting their frame of reference from nouns to “verbs”, or, more descriptively, to customer interactions with their products and services. A handful of companies, like Amazon and Netflix, have already started tailoring 100 percent of their customer communications (e.g. targeted emails or mobile push notifications) based on a full real-time knowledge-graph of all customer interactions.
In technical language, the difference between nouns and verbs can be expressed as “entity data” (SQL) versus “event data” (NoSQL). Entity data is typically stored in “relational tables” with the name of the entity along with entity attributes. In contrast, event data is processed with streaming big data captured in diverse formats. “Databases of Verbs” that track event data and construct a dynamic graph of customers’ interactions with content are essential for driving customer engagement in the perpetually connected world.
Programmatic Customer Engagement: Technology enables Craft
With a Database of Verbs, customer engagement can finally enter the world of programmatic, enabling marketers to scale personalized storytelling to millions of customers. Each individual customer receives a unique marketing creative at the right time based on the customer’s up-to-the-moment interactions, instead of a mass-marketing creative delivered at a fixed time based on a marketer’s preference. Artificial Intelligence and Automation at scale are key to this.
Artificial Intelligence systems process large streams of data in real time and develop models that understand customer intent and preferences. For instance, machines can score users on their likelihood to purchase in the near term or to churn; they can understand customer propensity towards various categories, balance content freshness with popularity, and recommend the next best content or product for every customer. They can also mine the data to understand the optimal time and channel to engage each customer.
The Database of Verbs approach also enables far superior automation abilities where systems react to customer behavior events that trigger the right response automatically. Finally, the approach enables creative marketers to develop story templates that can be programmatically populated with personalized content based on each customer’s behavior.
Programmatic Customer Engagement moves marketers from batch and blast impersonal communications to triggered 1:1 marketing built upon predictive personalization that delights their customers at every stage. Creative marketers can finally break the shackles of trying to keep up with the explosion in data and content, and shift their focus to crafting personalized stories at scale. It’s an exciting world for marketers, and an equally appealing one for customers.
Vijay Chittoor is co-founder & CEO at Blueshift.
In this VB Live event, you’ll:
- Target precise messages and optimize user retention across all of your marketing channels
- Learn how your first-party data, including user behavior, transactions, and your catalog of content/products drives scalable individualized user experiences
- Prevent or eliminate the potential of fraud.
- Brian Monahan, co-founder, NewCo, former CMO, Walmart
- Jeff Pash, Director of CRM, The Muse
- Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat
This VB Live event is sponsored by Blueshift.