While browsing Facebook the other day, I came across a coupon from Ice Cream, Inc. for a free ice cream, so I downloaded it as an SMS. Thinking of my nut allergy, I asked through SMS if the ice cream was nut-free. Minutes later, a customer service rep replied: “Go ahead, no nuts—and by the way, the closest place for you to redeem the coupon is three blocks away.” A couple days later, I passed by the store, showed my QR coupon, and got my ice cream. As I finished the treat, I tweeted enthusiastically about how delicious it was. Shortly after, I was offered a family discount in the web shop, and I then became the world’s best dad by bringing ice cream home.
OK, I confess: This story is not completely true. Ice Cream, Inc. exists only in fantasy land, and I do not suffer from a nut allergy. (March is not the top month in Scandinavia to eat ice cream, either.) However, the most unrealistic premise is that any Nordic company holds a completely integrated platform for contextual marketing. In this made-up example, I interacted simultaneously through the marketing, social media, customer service, sales, and e-commerce departments.
Data floods elegantly between various touchpoints and through potential departmental barriers at the supplier. It all happens with full geographic mobility and on customers’ preferred platforms. This is contextual marketing in real time.
The example points to the many challenges companies, both B2B and B2C, face today. In fact, most companies are far from delivering a complete customer journey with intelligent and relevant dialogue. One reason for this is that we have many more channels than ever. The web store may be yet another new channel, one that is more or less (probably the latter) well integrated with our traditional channels.
While most of us are active on social media, communication is primarily one-way, and we still count likes. Real dialogue with individuals is rare without in-depth knowledge of how our customers meet us on other channels. We can barely support the mobility that the customers expect in today’s digital reality. We are just now starting to comprehend the power of enabling real, relevant dialogue with individual customers, using all available data.
We in the technology sector are pushing for fundamental digital transformation across all departments. In the past, we have focused on applications like ERP, economy, CRM, marketing ,etc. But the future is about the platform. All these islands of data need consolidation, analysis, and to work together to create a customer-focused enterprise. The right platform will enable customer-centric conversations.
Real digital transformation must be holistic, omnichannel, real-time, and data-driven. And the digital disruption we see happening around us shows that it is possible.
If digital transformation and contextual marketing is to happen in the real world, not only on blogs at visionary marketing leads, it is all about setting large-scale data volume in action. Therefore, an alliance between CMO and CIO—vision meeting data—is essential.
“I’d like an ice cream, one bag of chips, and 10 kg of digital transformation, please.”
“Here you go. Do you wish to pay with data, eyeballs, or ApplePay?”
Oh yes, these are exciting times we live in…
For more on how the digital economy is transformation the customer experience, see Is The Personal Touch Possible In The Digital Economy?