By Stéphane Amarsy,
CEO of D-AIM
According to Jeff Bezos, “rather than ask what are we good at and what else can we do with that skill, you ask, who are our customers? What do they need? And then you say we’re going to give that to them regardless of whether we currently have the skills to do so, and we will learn those skills no matter how long it takes.”
Tackling the era of plural consumer identities
This is the path business efficiency will take in the future. And it will be even easier for companies that are 100% digital because it may well happen that each customer’s identity can be fully controlled. For the other companies, having only one piece of the puzzle may actually complicate things. When it comes to the media sector, for example, there is only 10-15% overlap between physical and digital customers. But this percentage doesn’t mean there is little in the way of diversity. On the contrary, the digital customer relationship exists, but the ability to match the digital behavioral data of customers to the customers themselves has its limits. Postal addresses, emails, cookies, identifiers, IP address, MAC address (Media Access Control is a unique identifier of any object with a network card like our smartphones and tablets): the vast number of identifications makes it hard to connect all of them.
In other words, consumers today have several identities. They are also present everywhere at once, via all the different channels at their disposal.
Dealing with the multiple identities and omnipresence among consumers often makes marketers’ everyday life fragmented. We must accept this, take it into consideration, try to improve our understanding of the individual and avoid waiting for perfection before moving forward.
Increasing interactions with consumers
With all the data now at our fingertips—and a deeper understanding of consumer behaviors thanks to near-instantaneous prediction tools—the demands of marketing have fundamentally changed. According to Henry Ford, if he’d asked consumers what they wanted when designing the Ford Model T, they would have likely said “a faster horse.”
When corporate strategies suddenly change or innovations no longer come about gradually, studies are of little use, as Henri Ford said. The digital revolution has dramatically shortened the frequency and amplitude of innovation. As a result, marketing professionals have been forced to make customers the starting point by being attentive to their needs and responding appropriately—and, above all, quickly. The most successful companies are those which have consistently leveraged customer contact points to obtain their opinions. Data-driven interactions are infinitely more user-friendly than those used with traditional marketing studies. They pave the way for more frequent, numerous and meaningful exchanges and thus build a more authentic relationship. They also provide an almost immediate understanding of what the consumer is doing. Because adjustments can be made so quickly, a virtuous circle between businesses and consumers emerges. With increased agility and data feedback, this approach can be used for a wide range of tests, such as pricing, key messages or user experience.
It will radically transform the very definition of marketing. But above all, the entire company—senior management in particular—must be willing to take consumers’ views into account, even if certain mindsets need modernizing first.