Digital Disruption: The 3 Questions Marketers Must Ask

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The rise of bots and personalization in a multi-device, multi-channel world, the days of staunch brand loyalty are giving way to the new and unique, the next best thing.

New experiences and changing social habits are reshaping how consumers interact with brands. Brands have a huge opportunity to embrace disruptive digital technologies and pioneer new ways of connecting with distracted, busy consumers to compete in this brave new world.

Here are a few questions that marketers need to consider.

1. Are you ready for personalized brand experiences?

A digital business study conducted by Deloitte and MIT researchers found that 90% of management and execs expect a digital disruption in their industry—and only 44% of respondents said their organizations are adequately preparing. That is a big gap.

The way people purchase is changing. Consumers have more devices, more search options, more information, and more ways to shop. Personalized purchasing experiences are poised to take off as consumer expectations change on everything from digital shopping cart suggestions to custom advertisements. Your brand will need to be digitally prepared.

Bot-enabled data will drive insight.

Bots are an emerging way to be with your customer in their moment of need. One example is the Fandango Facebook bot on Messenger which helps fans discover movies, watch trailers, and purchase tickets at nearby theatres. Another example is the Capital One Alexa skill that enables consumers to manage their accounts, pay bills, and more.

At the same time, as consumers search and explore social media, online reviews, news sites, and other online locales, they leave behind a trail of insights around their preferences, interests, lifestyle, behaviors, and traits. This data is further enriched by voice technology, digital assistants, and AI-enabled bots, offering deeper perspective into habits and intent.

Brands that want to compete should have advanced data-analytics tools in place to personalize each interaction and in turn, use this data to serve up the right information at the time of need and even predict their consumer’s next move.

2. How will changing social habits impact your ability to reach consumers?

Consumers can’t get enough of social media. In a recent study, Flurry noted that while mobile app usage rose 11% in 2016, messaging and social app usage increased by 44%. In fact, time spent using messaging and social apps catapulted 394%. During the same period, game app usage declined by 15% and personalization apps declined by 46%.

Consumers are also relying more heavily on social media reviews. According to Econsultancy, at least 61% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase decision.

Brands that can make connections across channels will gain a more complete understanding of who their customers are and what their buying behaviors look like.

3. How can you personalize using technology?

Consumers want and expect to be known by brands. They have a greater propensity to engage with brands that offer personalized experiences, recommendations, and products. Infosys reports that 74% of customers feel frustrated at brands when websites don’t personalize. Gartner predicts that by the year 2020, digital businesses will be able to boost profits by nearly 15% through smart personalization engines that recognize customer intent.

Personalization starts with data and advanced analytics and results in actionable insights that span the entire consumer purchase journey. Predictive and prescriptive analytics technology is a competitive differentiator, and brands that use this technology will gain depth of insights into their customers that will enable them to move beyond generic personas to understand and engage with customers at an individual level.

With their ability to integrate into consumers’ everyday lives, bots can help to deliver personalized services in the moment. Brands that find useful ways to employ bots will not only be able to engage customers in the moment, they’ll gain insights that further personalize their products, services, and marketing efforts.

This is just the tip of the digital disruption iceberg. I’d encourage you to explore this topic further by reading a piece of research put together by my colleagues at Microsoft titled, 5 disruptive questions ever marketing executive needs to ask.

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