By Ricardas Montvila, Senior Director, Global Strategy, Mapp
2020 had a huge impact on the way people shop – from the items customers added to shopping baskets, to how they chose to buy them. It is an undisputed fact that online is the only channel to have grown in effectiveness during COVID-19, with eCommerce seeing almost 30% growth and an increasing reliance on social media to stay connected.
Indeed, in 2021 digital marketing is likely to be the first choice for marketers seeking to operate successfully. It’s therefore crucial for marketers to pay close attention to their digital campaigns – and ensure that they are effective.
Marketing decision-makers can combine planning and efficiency by moving from reactive to proactive marketing. Such a move increases predictability, meaning that marketers can improve the certainty around their campaign performance. Reactive marketers need to pivot their approach, and learn to plan ahead effectively.
Proactive marketers will think about their channels in a holistic way and focus their marketing activities on continuous optimisation. Modern, high-performance technology needs to be used to enhance the effectiveness of resources. It should be ready for use at short notice without the need for major adjustments, and it should be easy to use and integrate, and provide significant time-to-value improvements.
In this way, predictable and planned actions can be consistently applied by using marketing intelligence. Decisive optimisations can be realised on an ongoing basis if appropriate functionalities are available in everyday marketing.
Artificial Intelligence provides further opportunities to address and activate end customers. By using a proactive, AI-based approach, marketers can forecast engagement probabilities, gain interest, and reach the right customer segments. They can automate the delivery of tailored offers and content and target them for maximum interaction. It’s all about reaching consumers at the right time, in the right marketing channel, with the right message.
There are five areas where AI-supported solutions can help to achieve this goal:
- From insights to actions: Customer data analysis can be linked to targeted end-user activation to enable a proactive marketing approach. AI allows users to gain reliable insights from data which can be used to drive marketing activities. These provide information on how strategic customer activation can be improved. Targeted user segmentation, for example, offers the opportunity to define optimal contact times and channels on the basis of specific performance indicators.
- Marketers who know how their customers tick can plan more reliably. AI functionalities are able to accurately predict future customer behaviour. In this way, conversion probabilities can be calculated in advance across the entire customer lifetime. This lays the foundation for a highly personalised approach and helps to optimise the use of budgets. In ecommerce, for example, it is advisable to use forecasts to determine which end consumers will be persuaded to make a purchase with the lure of discount vouchers. A selective approach in which coupons are not provided across the board, but only to users with a correspondingly high tendency to convert, can significantly increase online retailers’ margins.
- Continuous monitoring pays off, but it can tie up a lot of resources. Machine learning, on the other hand, enables constant monitoring of the database and the performance of campaigns without spending a great deal of time. Self-learning technologies can realise unimagined potential for optimisation. Automated alerts provide real time information on the performance of key metrics and areas of websites. When anomalies occur, instant notifications ensure immediate responsiveness and targeted remediation, keeping campaign performance high over time.
- Product recommendations provide clear uplifts. Their quality can be significantly increased by using AI. This makes it possible to refine product suggestions and additional information by continuously recording preferences and affinities. AI can target content-oriented suggestions according to the “next best action” principle.
- Last but not least, nothing works without data. The solid foundation of any tech-based optimisation is an up-to-date data strategy. We need to include alternative tracking options focused on first-party data, that can be anonymised, and which are designed to comply with data protection regulations. By bringing together all available and relevant data sources, plannability can be maximised.
The overarching use of AI and marketing intelligence pays off, especially as consumer trends continue to evolve. By investing in one’s own technology stack, marketers can contribute to medium-term revenue growth.
A higher level of proactivity and agility in digital marketing guarantees an effective and long-term customer approach, supporting the overall profitability of advertising agencies. As the way we shop for products and services transforms, it’s clear that combining holistic campaign management with intelligent, predictive data analytics will be key to any marketer’s strategy.