Further to John Burgin, vice president at tech solutions company, Cognizant’s article about whether brands really know who their customers are, Burgin has penned four areas where predictive analytics can improve marketers’ effectiveness and help them create value with consumers:
1. Develop Brand Awareness
For most consumer-facing companies, the need to maintain a high profile for the brand never goes away. Market share is always a priority. Clorox discovered it could boost sales by mining Twitter chatter during the cold and flu season, then began delving deeper into data. It identified zip codes with a high volume of flu-related tweets and mapped them to thousands of store locations that carry its products. It then contacted the stores to ensure they had enough product on hand. As a result, Clorox sold 30,000 additional cases of disinfecting wipes to six states most affected by the flu.
The upshot: Predictive analytics gives marketers a powerful new tool for staying front and centre in consumers’ minds. It also creates timely awareness in ways never before possible. Marketing tools have changed, and marketers’ thinking has to change accordingly.
2. Shape Brand Preference
Predictive analytics is a key weapon in companies’ efforts to build demand. To re-energise sales of its Vegemite brand in Australia, Kraft sought to make sense of social media conversations about the venerable spread for crackers and bread. It analysed 1.5 million posts on social networking sites, blogs, message boards and online news and found Vegemite had notched 479,206 mentions in 38 languages.
Digging deeper, Kraft discovered that consumers were using Vegemite in unexpected food combinations that reflected local culinary styles. It capitalised on the revelation with a highly successful campaign that featured the iconic product’s versatility—and lifted Vegemite sales 5% over the previous best year.
The upshot: Strengthening brand preference and growing it into brand loyalty is a key advantage for marketers that adopt predictive analytics.
3. Cultivate Brand Influence
Social media’s rapid uptake opens laser-like opportunities for marketers to identify brand influencers. By reaching out to tastemakers, marketers tap into social networks that distribute their messages for them, and do it much more effectively. Ninety-two percent of consumers say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising — an increase of 18% since 2007, according to a Nielsen survey.
Combing through social-media sentiment to find brand advocates is becoming an essential tactic for all consumer-facing businesses. Marketers of the Harry Potter film franchise, for example, used predictive analytics to identify just 43 individuals who drive the majority of shared conversation about the wizard fantasy.
The upshot: By understanding peer-to-peer influence, marketers can pinpoint the social movers and shakers who help shape grassroots opinions. Then the real relationship-building begins.
4. Collaborate on Product Development
Analytics feeds brand owners with more accurate models of customer behaviour. The result: smarter product development that delivers goods the market wants. Marketers are leveraging social media and online focus groups to realise the potential of communicating with consumers. Analytics takes that one step further by empowering brand owners to tease new product ideas out of streams of data, whether the goal is line extensions or innovative new products.
Analytics also paves the way for greater co-creation, enabling companies to collaborate with customers early in the lifecycle and during product development. Co-creation is an opportunity for every consumer-facing company. From 80,000 submissions in the first two years, Starbucks implemented more than 100.
The upshot: When it comes to creating value from insight, predictive analytics has the potential to provide an important advantage for product development.
Steps to adopting predictive analytics
How can a marketing organisation begin using predictive analytics to create more insightful strategies? Here are four steps to join the conversation and foster relationships:
1. Promote a cultural shift in how your organisation engages consumers.
Marketing has moved from 15- and 30-second spots to a 24×7 communications cycle. To realise the business potential of one-to-one consumer relationships, start making the cultural shifts necessary to evangelise the power of individual consumer relationships. Examine how your company can respond to always-on customers connected by multiple channels.
2. Begin acquiring an advanced understanding of consumer behaviour via analytics and predictive modelling of consumer data.
The ability to analyse, generate insights and apply the insights within marketing programs is key to developing meaningful consumer relationships. So is mastering new predictive analytics tools. Marketers must move beyond traditional methodologies and aggregated tools for data and adopt formats that allow them to be predictive and take action. Being familiar with the tools is the start; using them to build customer relationships is the next step.
3. Test, learn and optimise.
Today’s influx of insights allows for more innovative methods of engagement and high-impact creative. For example, how can you connect with in-store customers through mobile channels? Be willing to test new outreach models like smart shelves and connected home devices. Keep in mind that success and failure provide equal insights and opportunities to optimise your marketing program. Risk is inherent. Don’t fear it.
4. Plan beyond the initial consumer engagement.
It’s a post-campaign world. Gone are the days when marketers’ programs consisted of, say, planning five spots in advance. Marketers today need to think about long-term engagement. Apply the steady stream of consumer insights to constantly explore new methods of adding value to the relationship.
In the digital era, code halos hold the key for marketers to unlock vast competitive advantage by creating significantly more value and differentiation with consumers.
Read Burgin’s first post here.