As Homo Sapiens, decisions play a critical role in our lives from cradle to grave. As a newborn, the decisions of our parents vs. the decisions our genes impose on us will play out in the nature vs nurture battle which will, ultimately, define who we are as adults. As adults in this modern world of endless choices, we make a mind boggling number of decisions every day. Indeed, a quick search of the internet will reveal multiple sources that say we make as many as 35,000 remotely conscious decisions every day with 226.7 spent on food alone. (Wansink and Sobal, 2007).
Of all the decisions we consciously make in our lives, those which can directly affect the experience and/or happiness of others, can be among the most difficult to get right. Let me illustrate my point with a couple of short anecdotes.
Firstly, let me take you back a few years to when I was 18 and newly married. Our first wedding anniversary was approaching rapidly and, at such a young age, I had very little experience with gift buying, especially, for a partner. How would I make the right decision about what to give? The advice of multiple friends was to listen and watch for behaviour which would indicate what to buy as clear hints would be dropped. Jump forward now several months to the morning of our anniversary and, as I handed over the gifts, I felt “mission accomplished!”. I was in for a shock! She wasn’t happy. Simply put, I had based my decision on the wrong behaviours. I had seen that my wife liked a perfume she’d seen on TV. I also saw her sighing at the end of a long day with sore feet. Because of my youthful inexperience, I didn’t know how to choose which indicator or behaviour would lead me to the perfect gift. I bought her foot spray. You can see why my first wedding anniversary was one I’d rather forget, and, looking back now years later, it’s laughable!
Jump forward a number of years. Having the advantage of years of hard earned experience, I can now understand the key behaviours to look for when considering what gifts I should invest in. This second story illustrates the problem when you have too wide a choice but limited budget. Last Christmas, I had been watching and listening throughout the year to compile what I felt was a well balanced list of presents for my fiancée. To set the scene, about a week before my annual Christmas shopping adventure, we found out we were expecting our first child. This made us reevaluate our priorities for the year ahead. We went from a luxury holiday to saving for a deposit for our first home. We agreed that we would work to a tight budget for holiday shopping. The problem this raised for me was, of all the gifts I had planned, how would I choose? Things had changed, and I had to adapt my decision based on a new context.
The point to these two clumsy anecdotes is to illustrate two problems facing the modern B2C business. The amount of data available to us to decision on, when providing experiences for our customers, is mind boggling. We gather data from web sites, call centres, mobile apps, beacons, POS, browsing history, viewing habits, credit ratings… the list is endless. Many businesses are at the beginning of their digital transformation journey. It may be that we find ourselves inexperienced when it comes to understanding what data is most important to gather. We may also struggle to apply decisions designed to ensure the best experience for our customers, given a certain situation or context. Delivering the right message, offer or gift, so to speak, ultimately ensures a stronger return on investment (ROI).
To solve these problems, it’s essential you seek out and partner with companies that have data science at their core. Companies that have a strong investment in understanding and applying data science can not only provide the tools to personalise customer experience on multiple channels, but can advise on end-to-end data strategies. This also ensures the data is of the right quality and that you use that data to maximum effect. Look for companies that have analysed the customer journey and understand how that journey relates to the business goals of the modern digital business.
Even if you have the experience to mine and use your data effectively, it still pays to invest wisely so you can adapt to different contexts and changing dynamics in how and why your customers choose your products and services.
Marketing budgets are limited and it is vitally important you make the right investments to engage 1:1 with your customers. When choosing a customer intelligence platform, you should insist on a solution which has the ability to apply Artificial Intelligence to the personalization decisions you make. This is because decisions at scale, for millions of customers, is beyond the reach of any human or a simple, rules-based decision engine.
Your chosen customer intelligence platform should be able to make decisions about what channel to engage on, what time to engage and what the optimum message should be. It should take the complexity out of which channels (mobile, email or web for example) to use at any moment to ensure maximum ROI. You should be able to engage at a 1:1 level with individual customers or guests at scale and in real time on channels which meet their needs in that moment.
Otherwise you could discover, like I did, that despite your best intentions, having the wrong data or a change in context can quickly change the ideal gift to an unwelcome surprise.
Curious to learn more? Why not schedule a demo to learn more about Boxever and how to connect all your customer, product and operational data, putting your customer at the center of your business and enabling true 1:1 personalization on a level you’ve never seen before.