Nowadays, companies are struggling to deal with a more and more sophisticated customer. Online and offline touchpoints are generally unbound, failing to create the unique and continuous journey customers expect.
The main challenge for digital marketing is to rule the omnichannel customer experience by embracing a vision to integrate marketing and sales processes aimed at increasing lead generation and conversion. Companies must embrace a new approach in order to give strategic relevance and a clear purpose to the digital marketing practice. This approach is based on seven major activities grouped into three areas (see Figure 1), which recur iteratively to achieve progressively more accuracy and commercial success:
Data collection activities must be systematic and regard structured processes implemented both online and offline. Because they will find value in the interaction, customers will agree to provide the information required. Mandatory, easy-to-fill-in contact forms should be located at all touch points, while new physical formats can enrich the journey for customers, prompting them to release more information.
Data collection from multiple sources, structured or unstructured and with different format or size, can be useless if not properly managed. The purpose of data integration is to merge available data into a single data lake, where it is cleansed, transformed, and linked, ready for advanced analysis and visualization.
Data analysis has to rise to a superior level to create insight relevant to business. Predictive models can predict results of digital actions. Reverse engineering of purchases can identify common paths from customers that successfully complete the sales funnel. Finally, machine learning algorithms can support marketing automation by adapting analysis outcomes in real time to better match customer preferences and attributes.
Advanced clustering must be executed through combining multiple dimensions (e.g., purchase intention, demographic, personal interests, competitors’ awareness, social media behaviors) to recognize profiles of customers and users with similar characteristics. Homogenous groups are adjusted dynamically to raise the accuracy of the most relevant customer behaviors.
A group of customers must be targeted through specific actions in accordance with their characteristics. Choosing the right cluster through the right channel, with the right content at the right time can maximize the effectiveness of targeting and the returns for each action.
Actions Versus Users
Dynamic offering must be adopted in order to display personalized offers that meet customers’ preferences in terms of models, price, and ancillary services.
Gamification techniques must be employed to engage customers/users with rewards, collect their contact information, and keep them connected for longer times. Marketing automation must increase the speed of response to customers’ inquiries. Every online interaction must aim to identify the user, linking the user ID to the physical identity, in order to create a seamless experience for the customer in a truly omnichannel relationship.
In response to the digital marketing challenges companies face, they must make good use of customer data and deploy new digital marketing visions that can reshape the way they interact and engage with their customers. For a more indepth look at building a digital business, see the Cutter Business Technology Journal issue, “Building a Digital Business Starts with Data.”