Digital Shadowing Mirrors What Customers Really Want

Digital Shadowing Mirrors What Customers Really Want
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Targeted marketing could revolutionise the retail and utilities sectors, if only brands would use the data available to them, writes Luke Kelly (pictured below), head of digital at HBT Agency.

Luke Kelly

When I talk to marketers, the conversation inevitably steers towards feeling like they can do more with their digital campaigns. They just don’t know where to start.

“Adwords aren’t working as well any more”, they say. “What else can we do without completely revamping the website?”

And there you have it. The thinking that customers are staring into the Google abyss, looking for products to buy, devoid of any human emotion.

The truth is, shopping is an emotional experience. Purchasing decisions are better enabled when the path to buy is just as alluring and easy online as it might be with an exceptional sales person on the retail floor.

Consider the digital shadowing of eBay or The Iconic. What these brands do so well is use their data to deliver automated and personalised content to wherever their potential customers are looking.

After a quick browse of a product on one of their sites, regardless of your next online destination, they continue to remind you of those products you shortlisted – then didn’t buy (or a similar product just like it).

While some consumers use Google as a starting platform to shortlist products they like, the fast-growing majority are using peer-to-peer platforms (Facebook, Instagram) and messaging apps (WhatsApp) to discover products they might not have even been looking for in the first place.

The missing element, and perhaps what some marketers feel challenged by, is that no amount of digitisation can replace an exceptional sales person on the retail floor. After all, when a product runs out of stock, a seasoned sales professional is swift to present alternative options to a prospective customer ‘just browsing’.

I’d like to suggest that marketers working with customer data who implement targeting tools have a greater chance of success converting leads by personalising the user experience in real time when customers need it the most.

Serving relevant content to your customers that helps them when they need it demonstrates you understand what they want and creates opportunities for positive brand sentiment.

The opportunities are ripe for companies that have fluctuations in prices, are on-selling other services, or have joint partnership arrangements. Competitive offers promoted via targeted ads and content have huge potential to benefit millions of consumers.

People throw money at problems when they are under duress. Imagine you’re moving house, like millions do each year in Australia. At a time where you’re at your most stressed, you don’t really want to be ringing around trying to find the best deal on electricity, gas and water.

Imagine if, when shopping around for somewhere new to rent or buy, you’re delivered timely, relevant and helpful content that helps you not only find somewhere to live, but also serves a cache of content that gives you access to the best gas, internet and water deals, as well as a moving truck that can be booked on the spot. Does that sound a little less traumatic to you?

What if you’re interested in investing in a particular stock? Wouldn’t it be helpful to be served real-time reports of the stock market, reviews of that particular stock and updates on how the rest of your investments are faring?

In Australia, it’s still early days for automation and personalised marketing. There’s a perception it’s expensive, but I’d encourage marketers to look at it in a different way.

Never before have we had such rich data at our fingertips to help us learn about customer behaviour. If you don’t use the data available to you to help your customers and make their lives easier, someone else – automatically – will.

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