In an era of constant distractions and endless options, providing a memorable customer experience needs to be every advertiser’s top priority. And that requires personalized experiences – which can only be powered by effective, intelligent use of data and technology.
That was the main message from a panel I recently moderated at Advertising Week, The Changing Face of Data and Advertising. Each of the panelists – Atul Dalmia, Senior Vice President of Global Commercial and Merchant Analytics for American Express; Joanna O’Connell, Vice president and Principal Analyst for Forrester Research; Saejin Park, Director of Global Data Monetization for General Motors; and Melinda Welsh, Chief Marketing Officer and the Head of Consumer Lending for Chase Auto at JPMorgan Chase – brought the full depth and breadth of their expertise to the packed panel discussion.
Here are three takeaways from our conversation:
- Advertising is all about the customer experience and connecting with your audience.
Today’s consumers have more choices than ever before, which significantly affects the way brands should interact with them. Many advertisers have lost focus on the true meaning and power of customer experience in recent years, or might leap in without looking at all of the data.
Melinda brought up a perfect example of this onstage. A few years ago, Chase launched a service intended to simplify the car-buying process – but built it on the assumption that the purchase process for cars is linear. The company quickly found consumers wanted to get that new car smell, so to speak – an experience they simply could not get with a digital-only experience. Mastering omnichannel marketing is crucial for companies, but even the most loyal customers are still in charge of how they experience a brand. Listening to customers’ wants is crucial to create a truly great customer experience. Do that, and revenue growth will naturally follow.
- Brands must step up to meet increasing customer expectations.
With this great opportunity, though, comes higher demands. Even as tailored experiences draw in consumers, consumers increasingly expect companies to have in-depth understanding of their lives and needs. Personalization is mandatory.
For example, some consumers are comfortable interacting with digital channels, while others prefer to pick up the phone rather than to interact with a web or mobile portal. Consumers aren’t always logical in their preferences, but smart use of data helps to craft options that fit them.
But don’t let that lead to an attitude of thinking you know everything about your audience. The biggest mistake anyone can make in this kind of tailored marketing is to assume they can create perfect messages because they know everything about a consumer. Research and testing – and learning from those results – are crucial for developing appropriate options and translating them into strong business outcomes.
- It takes a village to deliver data-driven advertising.
Another significant industry shift is that advertisers must now also play the role of orchestrators. They are actively involved in identifying their strengths and capabilities as well as their gaps in data and expertise – and then leveraging the growing numbers of service, technology and data providers to address those gaps. This enables them to better identify where they should (and should not) invest their ad spend.
As a result, the relationships between advertisers, service providers and agencies have changed significantly. Because advertisers are becoming more accountable for ROI, they have needed to evolve from a more-or-less hands-off approach to a much more integrated partnership. The common goal is to navigate the growing influx of data to create more personalized customer experiences.
Nuanced but profound changes
The evolution of our industry continues to challenge professionals in new and unpredictable ways. By utilizing the new technology at our fingertips, we’ll be better equipped than ever to craft meaningful, effective – and more personalized – messages.
To learn about how great data-driven experiences across channels can only be achieved via unified data foundation, you may enjoy reading our New Face of Data-Driven Marketing – A Buyer’s Guide for Today’s Omnichannel Marketer.