Today’s marketer faces a daunting task. Customers expect a relevant personalized experience from the brands they interact with. Yet, consumers are interacting with brands across a variety of touchpoints, devices and social channels. It seems like no two customer journeys are exactly the same. The challenge is for marketers to understand the journey through purchase, use and recommendation.
Minding the Gap
The gap is starting to widen. There is no such thing as merely meeting expectations. You either exceed the expectations of your customer or you fall short. It is similar to being on time. No one is ever on time. You are either early… or you are late. And today’s brands are late to the party. Research shows:
– 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs
– 80% feel that brands do not recognize them as individuals
– only 35% of customers say that the communications they receive from their favorite brands is relevant
In order to address this imbalance, IBM Commerce recently introduced new analytics and design capabilities as part of their IBM Marketing Cloud. Their aim is to allow brands to turn insights about the customer journey into actions. Helping companies develop a critical skill that Trendwatching.com calls info-sense.
According to Deepak Advani, General Manager of IBM Commerce, “IBM is providing innovations such as customer journey analytics to allow marketers to gain insight into customers at depths that they never imagined just a few years ago. Teams can turn these insights into campaigns to deliver powerful experiences that engage customers in context and ultimately build advocacy.”
1/2″ Holes, Not 1/2″ Drill Bits
I had the opportunity to sit down with Ken Bisconti at the IBM Amplify Conference in San Diego. Ken is the IBM business leader that oversees both Core Metrics and Tealeaf products. I asked Ken what the top tip for marketers looking to leverage analytics. His answer was simple. Ken advised to start by thinking about the problem you are trying to solve for the customer. Linda Ireland of Aveus has a similar viewpoint. She uses the analogy of selling a 1/2″ drill bit. The bit itself is not useful or valuable to the potential customer. It only is relevant because it solves a problem. The customer needs 1/2″ holes. It’s not about what you sell, its about the problem you solve.
Case in Point: Homebase
Homebase is one of the UK’s biggest home and garden retailers. With nearly 40,000 products on sale, the company understands that its not just about guiding its customers towards the right products. It’s about finding ways to help them towards the successful completion of their home improvement projects. Homebase has partnered with IBM Commerce to tailor the experience to provide advice and inspiration across over 150 projects.
IBM has helped Homebase by leveraging analytics to understand and anticipate customer needs whether its online, in-store or via mobile. According to Homebase Marketing Director Jo Kendrick, the company has “transformed its digital presence into an interactive inspirational showroom that guides them [customers] through all their home improvement needs.”
As a result of the partnership, Homebase is experiencing double-digit sales growth on all of its digital channels and a 30% increase in online visitors. Kendrick puts it best, “It’s not just about selling wood, nails or screws, its about helping our customers live in a home they really love.”
Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – I had the opportunity to present at the IBM Amplify Conference as a futurist. I gave a five minute Ignite Presentation on the concept of Info-Sense and a Blue Goldfish. Here is a slideshare of the presentation:
This article was written by Stan Phelps from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.