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Digital transformation is not a ‘set and forget’ activity. Leaders must keep pace with emerging technologies. It’s not about investing in every shiny new tech toy. Rather, leaders must find ways to anticipate trends, identify ways technology can solve problems and create value, and know when and how to implement it. In the retail and consumer space, myriad new technologies have surfaced over the past five years to help brands differentiate and better serve customers. Below are a few examples that promise to be game-changing.
1. Mining for customer gold
Keeping up with changes to the customer journey on and offline helps high-performing retailers anticipate customers’ needs and target the right audience at the right time with the right message.
Process mining has typically been used for an internal view. However, AI-augmented technology can be used to uncover blind spots in customer pathways and buying decisions. For example, process mining helped reveal a more seamless, faster checkout experience for Walmart’s “Lawn & Garden Centers.” Rather than hauling a 50-pound bag of mulch inside the store to be checked out at a fixed register, the register comes to customers. Customers wheel items to their car and a checkout attendant waiting in the parking lot scans items and finalizes card payments. Process mining, automation, and optimization allowed Walmart’s “Check Out with Me” program to remove customer frustrations and spend less time.
In this rapidly evolving space, Signavio is unique in combining process mining, AI, and customer journey mapping. The insights they provide create a massive opportunity for retailers to focus their entire organization on customer delight.
2. Redemption for the promotional offers industry
The current promotion offer ecosystem is broken. Billions of dollars are lost from offer fraud and liability and affect the bottom line of brands each year. Brands have to pay for placement, not just conversions and it’s difficult to track ROI from offer issuance to redemption. Brands and advertisers are tired of paying the most money but getting the least value when it comes to offer-based marketing programs and incentives.
Adding the power of blockchain and AI to payment technologies, SKUx offers a solution that unlocks lost value across the promotional offer chain while creating a frictionless customer experience. The company works directly with brands and partner platforms to create transparency, eliminate fraud and double-spend, and prove ROI with real-time reconciliation and settlement for promotional offers. The technology allows brand managers to track and control offers across verticals on a one-to-one basis. Additionally, it ties mobile, geo, social, demographic, and psychographic data to the SKU, allowing leaders to know the profitability of a brand promotion program before it begins. SKUx is creating a new normal for the promotions industry.
3. Shining the light on ‘dark marketing’
With digital marketing spend often spread across multiple social channels and campaigns acutely targeting specific customers, companies struggle to gain comprehensive, timely competitive intelligence. Marketers are engaging in what is known as “dark marketing.” A recent study revealed that 85% of Facebook ads, 60% of YouTube ads, and 90% of Twitter ads are hidden from public view. This leaves marketing teams with an incomplete view of competitors’ digital marketing efforts. At the same time, customers expect you to match current trends, but without a view of competition, this becomes challenging.
BrandTotal is one company that developed a solution to this problem by allowing companies to uncover the hidden efforts of competitors. It combines the use of advanced cybersecurity techniques and AI to deduce competitors’ strategy. The technology allows marketers to view unified campaigns of competitors; gain rapid awareness of competitors’ changing campaign offers, demographics, goals, and posting patterns; see all creatives; understand consumer sentiment; and more. These insights reveal threats, highlight opportunities, and enable real-time response in marketing campaigns.
4. Changing the game for digital marketing
Retailers and related companies are projected to spend $28.33 billion on digital ads in 2020, more than double what was spent in 2016. Whether choosing to spend on social, ecommerce sites, or search, one of the main challenges is predicting and proving performance. The lack of data and insight symmetry across platforms makes it difficult to determine causality and transfer learnings to the next campaign. Marketers spend more than needed to help their growth and therefore creating digital waste.
Metonymize combines natural language processing and patented causal simulation to power a ‘third wave’ AI platform that helps brands strategically grow their ecommerce. The technology allows users to simulate and perform low cost A/B tests to avoid ad spend when organic placement is enough and leverages first-party data to improve keyword targeting. These solutions can help brands enhance the effectiveness of their digital advertising by identifying digital waste and reallocating their marketing spends to more effective channels.
What ties these technologies together? Utilizing data (not just ‘big’ data) and AI to enhance customer engagement and reduce costs. Today’s brands are demanding a measurable ROI from their investments. This new wave of disruptive technologies brings brands closer to the customer and the truth. Are you taking full advantage of ‘digital’ to create better human connections?
Join the conversation by using #Run2Digital and follow me on LinkedIn for more ideas on how your business can Run2Digital.
This article has been written in collaboration with:
Nick Kramer serves as Vice President, Digital – Analytics at SSA & Company