You heard it here first: three things to keep you ahead of the curve as the marketing landscape evolves.
Can’t Buy Me Love: The Importance of the Human Touch
As technology and digital listening advances, we have access to more data than ever before. We have the advantage of digital listening to discover sentiment, conversation volume and topics, where it’s happening and what’s driving it. That’s a lot of information to process. What a time to be alive!
An overarching theme of the presentations was a reminder to approach all of this data through a human lens. Keynote speaker Chris Malone made an important point about the value of humanizing brands in a digital age and communicating warmth, friendliness and competence. As we use data and technology to embrace this “relationship renaissance,” it is imperative that the human touch is communicated. In fact, 50% of purchase intent can be attributed to a warm, friendly and confident brand tone and approach. Otherwise, a brand risks being cold, contemptible and reptilian. Just say “no” to Skynet.
Reinforcing a brand’s humanity has other advantages beyond sales. Today, consumers are looking for brands to take a stand, and 82% of consumers would consider dropping a brand that doesn’t align with their values. A buffer of trust and goodwill with consumers, brand advocates and loyalists means that they may be more apt to understand when controversies occur – or that they may even step in to defend a brand to detractors while footing is found. When defining what to take a stand about and those stated company values, again, humanity is front and center. Understand what is important to your consumers on a personal level, and identify the core components that resonate with those priorities. Set your values, communicate them clearly, and evaluate all opportunities against them. Inconsistency is the enemy of competence.
By Your Powers Combined: The Advantage of Multiple Data Sources and a Nimble Approach
A spectacular case study shared by Wunderman Thompson for client Theraflu merged historical data from Mexico’s CDC, social chatter and weather predictions to create an extremely accurate flu predictability model. Flu tends to spread faster when the weather is cold and dry, and digital listening for smart keywords, such as “symptoms” and “remedies,” gave a clear picture of conversation volume. By overlaying all of that data with historic CDC data of cases and flu progression, a model was created, tested and re-run, resulting in an overall 95% accuracy rate.
Once the model was trained to a satisfactory level, over 250 ad variants were created, not just with differing creative, but differing CTAs and destination points, guided by what consumer behaviors would be pursued at that point in time. In areas where the flu had yet to manifest, consumers could prepare themselves and learn more about the product. When the flu had arrived, consumers were directed to purchase the product itself. Overall the campaign increased Theraflu sales 200%. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
A variety of information is available through listening platforms such as Netbase, public record and other tools such as Google Keyword Planner. By combining this data (both predictive and reactive) against a hypothesis, looking for trends and validating them through independent research and connecting these dots brands can accomplish campaigns that are more sophisticated than ever before.
The AI Advantage
Most marketers are familiar with artificial intelligence’s role in today’s marketing. The focus on AI continues to increase as technology becomes savvier, but it’s not a turnkey solution. As mentioned, it is important to keep the human touch and behavior top-of-mind, but leveraging the strengths of machine learning and AI can free up your team to provide the human touch to strategy and to connect those dots once trends have been identified.
With the major advancements in the industry, the majority of consumer relationships or first touchpoints with a brand will not involve a human component, though there should always be an element of human oversight. Put your teams in positions to win by using AI to sift through large amounts of data, so your analysts can focus on determining the why behind the what.
As we head into 2020, there are many challenges ahead of us: privacy issues, API restrictions, isolating what truly matters through a noisy and crowded marketplace and shifting consumer expectations for brands. Brands can come out on top by leveraging digital listening and data streams in new and unexpected ways, training and using AI to benefit teams through efficiencies, and always balancing strategy and marketing with a consistent human element.
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