A life lived in “micro-moments”

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“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away” or “Life is the sum of the chances we take and the moments we seize”, whichever school of thought you subscribe to consciously or subconsciously as an individual, as a marketer you now have access to almost every moment of a consumer’s life, in fact, not just moments but what Google now refers to as “micro-moment”

 

BTW, just in case you don’t consider me or Google enough to define it for you, here is what the AMA (American Marketing Association) has to say “A micro-moment is a mobile moment that requires only a glance to identify and delivers quick information that you can either consume, or act on immediately”

For the first time in history you now have access to every micro-moment in a consumer’s life…the question is what will you to with it, or what can you do with it?

Today with analytics tools you know exactly when a potential customer has a craving for Chinese food / Adidas Incurza cricket bat / Star Wars Cast Signed Autographed 8 X 10 RP Photo #8 – Mint Condition / Tom Cruise’s latest blockbuster or just Tom Cruise in general, the possibilities are endless and so are the options to satisfy them.

Digressing, in my case today, it’s the new OnePlus 2 and trust me, OnePlus guys are just making it harder by not doing enough to capture my need, which is almost reached an obsession right now.

But, you as a marketer know exactly what someone wants before they  have made up their minds, not because of some magic 8-ball but because the consumers tell you outright – as they are searching for it on their mobiles. A recent Google/Ipsos study has the stats to prove it:

  • 67% of millennial agree that they can find a YouTube video onanything they want to learn
  • 91% of smartphone users turn to their smartphone for ideas while doing a given task

Add to that beacon technologies and wearables and imagine the depth of access you have (no no no that’s not what I meant…) will circumvent the intrusiveness debate here and stay focused on the marketing potential.

It’s pretty much the norm of how people “multitask” now. Our buying decision-making journeys are fractured into hundreds of real-time, almost sub-conscious intent-driven micro-moments.

Each one is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences.

So will you be the one that answers next time your customer wakes up in the middle of the night and searches “…what color streaks in my beard will bring out the blue in my eyes?”

Ma Foi Analytics

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Virtual Assistants to Virtual Data Brokers…

“Ok Google!! What next?”

The way the Virtual assistant world is shaping up, at least in the consumer space, I wonder how dependencies will shape up as we learn and unlearn new ways of life. Google Now is a god send for sure, half of the time as I unlock my phone for one reason or another (most of the time it’s just habit!!), I inadvertently look at the google now page and smile – as it tells me that I should be all set for my upcoming trip to Delhi in two days and that it’s damn hot as always). The other half is…what who wants to read this and why should I listen to this song. You are left for more and I wonder why Google can’t pull it off with the army of great engineers at their disposal.

Challenge accepted, however it’s not an easy problem to crack. After all of us are dissimilar at so many levels that building an engine which learns me and responds/ interacts with me in a totally personalized way is still a dream.

Having said that, how about the enterprise world. Let’s look at an organization. Although there are different stakeholders and departments, the processes that define the organization, the language, the interpretation of numbers, the implicit and explicit understanding has a lot of similarity and hence makes it a good candidate to model. To build a system like this – what should be the starting point? Most of the enterprises have internal insights group that becomes the one department working with research vendors, internal stakeholders in answering business queries and helping businesses with insights. Most of the time the challenge with the insights group is that they spend a lot of time in administrative work – working with vendors, ensuring research is done in time, is of quality and then working on business queries that come to them at unpredictable rate.

Imagine a situation, where the insights team & the business teams have a data insights assistant at their call.

“Ok Doodle!!” “What is the screen size preference of segment A in China”

“Ok Doodle” “Forecast our current sales performance for the rest of the year”

This will not only free up a lot of time, it will also help the insights group in focusing on more complex studies. Mind you – the backbone of building a model like this will be the learnings that the machine will infer from the general behavior of the insights team. In my mind solving this has a larger purpose for organizations and will open up the next frontier of battle royale. Till that time –

“Ok Google” “Make me Sleep now”

Ashish Rishi, AVP Analytics

Follow: @rishilost

Appscape

Every now and then a trend picks up steam and starts to become a go to solution within a vertical and sometimes across verticals as well. Example: Hot these days (or may be dying already!!) is the 360 degree view of the customer. The ability of an organization to be able to see all customer data points in a simple connected framework.

The advantages of a comprehensive view are obvious, reminds me of the perennial problem we face in India, where without any centralized view all government departments do their bit in pieces – so a fresh road is laid today ( possibly because election dates are coming !!!) and the same road is dug out the very next day for laying fibre optic cables. (a la focus on connectivity is a must!!).

A customer service rep not aware of the loyalty status of the customer, using a hard tactic to upsell where the customer doesn’t ever make a purchase in that department. A lot of these dots can be connected and improved upon if – information is made available to all, made relevant and contextual. Which is achieved keeping customer at the centre and creating a 360 degree view of him.

I think the current mobile operating systems are designed to work in silos, that’s purely because the way the app ecosystem is designed, app developers view their own apps in singularity. Meaning the customer interaction with the app and the need that the app is solving for is an end to itself, which is not really the case. What was the last time you unlocked your phone and given the context did not interact with more than one app. Think about it?? Ever or never.

The current operating systems have this flaw. Although the systems are intelligent, they are so only within their own app universe. So a Google now (I love Google…wait a sec…Alphabet!!) makes me smile every now and then, But then it’s app integration is miles away (atleast I haven’t yet felt the moment). For me this integration today is limited to Feedly (for the stuff I read ) and Wynk (for the stuff I listen to) this could be just me!!.

The mobile OS of the next iteration will have to create an open App platform, sort of like a 360 degree view of the app data exchange. This to me is the next frontier. To create a completely intelligent system that is able to interact with me with a complete context will have to listen to data exchange at all times.

More like a appograhic profile of a customer!!!

Ashish Rishi, AVP Analytics

Follow: @rishilost

Attention is a gift!!!

The title of a recent @briansolis blog caught my attention, well and for a surprisingly longer time than I would have liked, reading the blog and then the LinkedIn e-book associated with it “Attention is Currency”, made me realize how much of an anomaly that was. Brian goes on dramatically elucidate that our attention spans are down to 8 secs…(there is a house-fly joke there somewhere, but I meander …and in the process validate the hypothesis…though I think it’s more of an established theory now…and there I go again)

Trying hard to come back to the topic it, made me realize is that really what we have become? I mean one hears of phrases like ‘instant gratification’ generation thrown around almost all day, but what does that really mean. We know the most obvious references to dating or the lack of it when it comes to lifestyle preferences of the generation but what does it mean to a marketer.

How do you be the ‘heartthrob’ for a generation that would have moved on to the next “flavor of the month, scratch that …of the second”. How does a marketer keep the customer’s attention for longer than the now scientifically proven 8 secs? While there are 4.6 Billion (yes with a B, pieces of content being created every day) to fight you for that 8 seconds of attention.

Well I can’t begin to fathom the genius of my 8th grade English teacher who saw this coming all those years ago and tried so hard to cement “Succinct, Succinct, Succinct” (it’s a funny word right! and said three times still makes me giggle, just the words, not if I hear them in her tone of voice) into our writing style. I apologize Mrs.M, I am still trying, I promise to cut a few runny sentences from this piece as well.

Not to mention that this validates, someone who definitely doesn’t need my validation, the master attention grabber himself, Steve Jobs, he had it nailed down pat and I don’t mean with his bare minimum text on slides, (which in itself is commendable) but in his messaging recall about the “Think Different” campaign way back in 1997. Simple black and white headshots and two words…he knew for sure what was coming. The true genius of the man though is not the succinct (someone listened to you Mrs. M) copy – two words on the page, but the clearly identifiable powerful story behind the visual.

That is a universal and time-tested truth that marketers can take solace in, no matter how much the medium changes (140 characters, 6 sec of video) the crux to grabbing attention will always be the same, a powerful story – a story one can relate to, identify with, how you tell it is now entirely up to you. (but yes…preferably in 8 seconds)

Rachit Ahuja, AVP Global Marketing
@racahuja

Are you listening to your customers?

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The digital revolution has forever altered how customers and brands engage, The first casualty of this is change is the beaten path retailers used to attract customers, drive sales and define loyalty.

It’s all about the money, honey. Makes way for it’s all about the mobile, honey – engagement and 24/7 connectivity, as consumers search via multiple touch-points to find the best deals and products. Smartphones haven’t just changed the way shoppers used to locate, decide and make purchases, they  are the way shoppers locate, decide and buy.

  • For much of the 2014 holiday season, mobile shopping clicks exceeded those on the desktop indicating purchase decisions being made on the go.
    An IDC study suggests that 71% of shoppers who use smartphones for product research in-store say that it’s become an important part of the experience – People use smartphones as their new personal shopping assistant inside the store.

What does this mean?  Simply, that customer loyalty is not just about a single experience and it begins even before the first point of contact. For those retailers who want to stay relevant, understand this – customer loyalty today is now a derivation of – price, feedback from social channels, product availability, and convenience to name a few.

customer speaking

-That’s where analytics comes in…

One of the industry’s major game changers is retail analytics. With retail analytics, you are able to achieve a deeper understanding of the customer to enable retailers to engage customers real-time and gain a competitive advantage.

As technology has progressed the retail experience, too, has evolved from manual to digital. Enabling  digital shopping lists, and computerized and customized reminders, which can include everything from food expiration dates to meetings and appointments. Additionally, as we advance to more digital experiences, in-store navigation and beacon technology have become fundamental to assist customers in their shopping experience. e.g, these technologies can help customers find desired items and quickly navigate the store as they receive personalized offers – all leading to a more engaged and satisfied customer

Mobile apps have also become ubiquitous (Want me to prove it…well there is an app for that too…) and an important enabler to customer engagement, providing boundless opportunities for customized content for brand-related events, store maps, personalized rewards, and shopping lists and customized coupons, while the customer is going about his planning outside of your store premise.

The enormous amount of data being generated through mobile apps – clickstream, behavioral & geo-location data when combined together generate possibilities of mapping the customers effectively to offers, meaningful product recommendations and personalization of experience. Not only does it make sense from a ROMI standpoint, but also provides a rewarding experience to the customer,  fueling customer loyalty.

Customer preference for customized experiences is already validated. According to a combined study by Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands – 85% of shoppers are more likely to visit and purchase from stores that offer personalized coupons and exclusive offers provided in-store.

And as more retailers embrace the omni-channel strategy, we will see a vast amount of data flowing from multiple sources – the web (social media and e-commerce), various other digital platforms (app/mobile) and from the brick and mortar store transactions. The key here is to make sure you use this data efficiently to generate the right insight for targeted business decisions. And here is where analytics is the game changer – aiding decision making across functions:

  • Merchandising: Store-layout planning or assortment optimization
  • Supply Chain: Demand forecasting, inventory management, vendor management
  • Marketing: Optimizing media and promotion spends, understanding consumer behavioral patterns
  • Operations: Category management, fraud detection and loss prevention
  • Human Resources: Effective work force allocations

Conclusion

Analytics can help retailers personalize effectively, picking from golden sawdust of data generated across channels. Whether selling online, in-store or both, this is where data comes into play, and what you do with the data will separate the winners from those who are just “figuring it out.” And when you engage your customer as an individual, you gain a distinct competitive business advantage as now you have earned your opportunity to successfully cross-sell and up-sell to the customer as you provided her an enhanced shopping experience.

Rachit Ahuja, AVP Global Marketing, Ma Foi Analytics
@racahuja