A Bold New World
Since the very first exchange of goods, information was key to completing a transaction between two parties. With the internet at our fingertips, we have the power to research anything and everything at any point as long as we are within range of an internet connection or cell phone tower. This revolutionary ability has developed a much more informed buyer, one who not only will challenge the typical sales process, and the product itself, but a consumer who through their research is willing to provide a significant amount of information about themselves in their quest for a better sales experience and perceived product value.
Low Hanging Fruit
While each piece of information may differ in value similar to how we view traditional currency, at the end of the day it becomes a question of how useful each touch point is to your business. Think of how much value an email record in your database has. Now, what if that same record is identified with a shopping cart full of items? Or frequent visit your website from an affluent area of the city?
It’s this consumer hunger for information that is the invaluable low hanging fruit for marketers. Every visit, page view, click, like, video play, store visit, purchase, and WIFI ping is part of a constant stream of consumer communication telling marketers what they are looking for, their purchasing stage, and their expectation of your communication with them. Significant value to both consumers and marketers becomes apparent once you start combining these individual touch points with existing database records.
A Delicate Orchestra
Vast numbers of advertisers have realized the value of their information silos and have begun building links between their data, pushing beyond sales data, and basic analytics to leverage all customer touch points with their brand. However, companies who have started to organize this delicate orchestra with their partners often get caught up in the maze of conflicting priorities ranging anywhere from maintaining or upgrading existing infrastructures and processes to implementing brand new bid data cloud storage solutions with wide integration to DMPs, CMS, ad platforms and many other marketing sales tools. This is where you need to take a step back, draw up a plan and start is a simple proof of concept. Something that you can leverage as a starting point to pick away at the road map, something that can start to show value to your stakeholders. A channel that often works well for these concepts is Email, your subscriber database will often make it easier to blend additional data elements from your site or even 3rd party sources. Depending on what information you enrich your database with, it can increase the value of your information significantly and your hard efforts should start to produce improved ROMI.
The Speculation of Things
Let’s be honest, the value of information or the phrase “information is currency” is an old concept. The idea of “big data” has also been around for a while. 2016 was also dubbed the “Internet of Things” year, we’ve had the “year of mobile” and its aftermath running for almost a decade and based on everyone speculating it feels like all we have are some fancy terms to make our presentations impress some executives. The truth is all of these technological milestones are dependent on customer adoption, and the information promised with each advancement is only useful once a significant volume of the population embraces it. The barrier is the same for everyone, new adoption always costs more than older tech, this goes for both consumers and marketers. However, costs of being connected are improving and people are generating more data than ever. According to Cisco in 2016 internet users have generated 96 exabytes (EB) or 96 billion gigabytes per month, projected to increase to 278 EB by 2021. It may sound crazy though let’s think about it, on average Canadians have 3.6 connected devices which does not sound unreasonable, it’s predicted that an average North American will have 13 connected devices per person by 2021, though many of us are well on our way to surpassing that number. The main point is that cost of ownership of a web-enabled device is reducing, in addition, devices that have not been previously connected to the internet now are (fridges, cars, TVs etc.). As a result, cross-device journey tracking practices have already become table stakes.
Personal Assistance and AI
In addition, with consumers embracing AI assistants like Siri, Google Home, Alexa, and Cortana with growing need for convenience and increasing expectation of integration we will soon reach a new level of data and with it usability requirements. These requirements are only satisfied by processing the data that is being produced by individuals, as a result, advertisers need to start catching up, in other words, it’s time they start owning and acting collected data. AI will bring a new challenge to our doorstep and it’s only a matter of time before advertisers will need to rely on machine learning and their own version of AI to keep up with customer expectations in order to adequately communicate and drive sales.
If there is one thought we can end on, it’s that the world of sales is designed based on the exchange of information – this was the case in the days of door-to-door sales, the TV infomercial era, and now in the digital age, it all revolves around information provided, processed and applied. Every advertiser is sitting on a gold mine of it. It’s time to mine it, use it, process it, improve on it, and ultimately start preparing it for a more efficient way of communicating and building customer relationships. Relationships designed to drive efficient sales.