By Stéphane Amarsy,
Chairman of the board of Splio + D-AIM
Consumers today are faced with a difficult choice when it comes to confidentiality. If they refuse to provide personal information to companies, they miss out on offers that match their desires and needs.
By setting a regulatory framework for data handling processes, the GDPR reinforces the rights of consumers in their relationship with brands. And because it fosters mutual trust between both parties, the GDPR provides an opportunity for brands to stand out from the competition.
Restoring balance in the consumer-business relationship
In this age of digital technology, with the exponential volume of data collected every day, gaining customers’ trust is vital. In 2017, only 10% of customers worldwide felt they had sufficient control over their data (study by Institut CSA). With the implementation of the GDPR, data collection and handling must be transparent, lawful and with the customer’s explicit consent. Under the regulation, companies are obligated to clearly explain how data will be used and for how long. The GDPR restores balance in the relationship for the consumer’s benefit by reinforcing their rights within a secure framework. Companies must both adapt to this new balance in the relationship and, above all, leverage it faster than the competition by offering customers an experience that is more relevant than ever.
Relevance: the key to a stronger customer relationship
With so many digital channels available today, capturing the attention of customers has become increasingly difficult. A shared belief in the law of averages—increased customer contact points will increase sales—inevitably leads to a mediocre customer experience. While suspicious consumers have come to question the use of their data, the flood of tempting discounts, promotions and deals from brands help assuage concerns. But this is only effective until the emergence of players, such as Amazon, who have mastered the operational use of data. To stay competitive today, companies must waste no time taking a decidedly customer-centric approach. Consumers and brands must enter into a two-way commitment where the former communicate personal data because they will receive relevant, timely and meaningful offers from the latter in return.
Hyper-personalization with artificial intelligence
As of today, few companies are in a position to take an individualized approach with each customer. While the art of recommendations is easy to master, other factors can influence purchasing behaviors, such as timing, price, channels, weather, mood, environment and even exposure to stimuli. This extreme personalization forces companies to take a customer-centric approach, where each individual is a unique entity. Moving beyond segmentation helps brands rethink their organizational strategies and let go of exclusively human control. In other words, the time for hybridization between humans and AI has come. Human intervention alone cannot tackle the vast amount of data that brands encounter on a daily basis. And it’s entirely impossible to offer a unique customer experience when thousands or even hundreds of thousands of relationship decisions must be made. That’s why algorithms are set to be the new “trusted partner” of marketers everywhere.
To build a lasting relationship of mutual trust and added value, brands must take a hyper-personalized approach that keeps them close to their customers. But to successfully meet this challenge, artificial intelligence must be incorporated into marketing organizations. Therefore, the question for companies is not whether they want to make this change but when and how they will do it.
It’s a question of survival in a world that is transforming in ways we could have never previously imagined.