Listening and Interpreting Customers’ Real Time Signals During Peak
Part one of three.
What I Want Right Now May Change…so Marketers Pay Attention!
By: Michael Lewis
I used to think that I could keep up with my teenagers’ constant changes. I now know better, that it’s next to impossible, and I’ve learned to adapt to this ever-changing world of plans being made, broken and altered at any given moment. I actually should thank my teens for introducing me to this new world that changes “in the moment” as it has helped me quickly adapt in my marketing career. That’s right marketers, we have our teens to thank for helping us understand this brave new “real time” world consumers live in. Now, how do we convince consumers that we truly understand what, where, when, and how they need what they need?
We start and end by listening to and understanding our customers. And by listening, I mean more than just monitoring customer service feedback or email opt-in/out requests. I’m talking about really listening, like the one time when your teen actually sits down and asks you a question and really cares about your response. I’m talking about the kind of listening that identifies where you’ve been shopping, when you were shopping and why, or why not, you decided to purchase with my brand. Today’s highly-demanding consumer expects this type of relationship from brands and as marketers, we need to be delivering it.
Are You Receiving Me?
Connected consumers release a constant flow of real time signals to us on a daily basis. This happens through the type of web content they browse, lifestyle changes they make and/or where they choose to make a purchase. When those signals combine with what we know about their identities, like financial status or where they live, the signals turn into insights that drive intention, educating us on how to strengthen these consumer relationships, drive conversions, and be there at their zero moment of truth.
Most marketers have access to their demographic information, and they may acquire other data sources as well, but the Holy Grail is determining – through data – what a consumer might do next. Predictive algorithms can only move the needle so far. The real power of signals is not where your customer has been, but where they are going to be. Understanding signals can help determine where they will be next.
Are You Truly Listening?!
Brands have two primary challenges in listening to customer signals:
- Finding and gathering – getting access to live data streams, followed by the logistics and infrastructure to capture, sort, clean and securely store the signals
- Filtering the information from the noise – determining which signals in a flood of Big Data is useful and actionable
Most marketers can’t locate and assemble the correct information they need, often due to technical constraints. Capturing and organizing unstructured data like blogs, comments, and/or social media posts are a significant challenge for anyone trying to organize and interpret customer data. Many don’t have the infrastructure in place to even begin to identify this type of data. Deciphering between what is relevant in your customer insights, and what is noise, is vital.
To overcome these challenges, businesses need access to reliable, up-to-date, broad-reaching signal sources that tie to individual identities. Sophisticated data management systems, typically supported by machine learning and semantic analysis, can help determine which data is important and relevant to an individual consumer’s needs.
Interpreting Signals in Real Time
It’s one thing to have signals but understanding what they mean and acting on them on a broad scale – in real time – is an entirely different challenge. It’s all about context:
- Who is sending the signals?
- What are their demographics?
- Where are they sending signals from?
- How recently did they send the signal?
- What has their behavior been lately?
First-party customer data can provide some of this information. But, working with a third-party partner that has a large consumer data cloud can augment that context.
On an individual scale, a marketer might look at a single customer’s profile and signals and craft a relevant, personalized marketing curriculum for them. But that’s not scalable, or fast. Today’s brands need to respond reflexively to thousands – sometimes millions – of customers on any given day. That’s why interpreting signals on a broad scale is best done using empathetic AI.
To serve customized experiences in response to real time signals, marketers need a sophisticated CRM platform that is capable of tracking each consumer’s signal, analyzing and processing it for relevant or irrelevant indicators and deploying omnichannel campaigns.
Listening to and acting on real time consumer signals isn’t easy, especially if you’re trying to do it all on your own – kind of like raising teens! Today’s consumers expect more relevance than ever (especially during Peak season), and they are getting it from few retailers.
To learn more about how Zeta Global can help you make listening to signals on any scope and scale effortless, please visit: /zeta-private-data-cloud/