The Future of Marketing: Creating 3-Dimensional Customer Profiles in an IoT Frenzied World

Jeanine Banks, EVP, Global Products & Solutions, Axway
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Jeanine Banks, EVP, Global Products & Solutions, Axway

Consider that most of your customers are now smartphone users and that the average smartphone user interacts with their device over 150 times daily to send messages, view digital content and use social media, according to the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Internet Trends report. Now, consider the fact that there are more than 211 million internet-connected mobile phone users in the U.S. Combining these two data points yields over 31 billion daily, mobile-powered data interactions in the U.S. alone—this is the data landscape enterprises at large live in.

Customers are digitally tethered to mobile applications, social media platforms and websites, resulting in massive volumes of data. This never-ending flow of data spells a great opportunity and a complex challenge for marketers. We now have access to billions of data points, great! But how do we transform these data points into something that is actually useful?

The data challenges we face today multiplies when considering the other, major technology trend that only recently entered the mainstream: the Internet of Things (IoT), or the integration of technology into otherwise “dumb” objects.

Whether or not you include smartphones in your consideration of the IoT, there is no denying the massive scale and breadth of IoT technology: according to Gartner Research’s recent IoT forecast, by the end of 2017 there will be over 11.2 billion IoT devices at play, from connected cars to smart watches to internet-connected sensors. And the main draw of IoT-powered devices is the amount of data it unlocks for organizations, especially in areas where data points did not previously exist. In terms of building a more comprehensive customer profile, the introduction of IoT unleashes a bevy of new and useful information.

One important element for marketers to consider when adapting to the latest IoT technologies is how data can be transformed to provide contextual value. Brilliant customer experiences are more important than ever in building and maintaining a strong and loyal customer base, especially in a world of digitally demanding and constantly connected consumers. Improvements to digital experiences are now at the forefront of staying relevant in the eyes of the customer.

In the modern customer-centric landscape, value can be built via digital channels by properly utilizing data to create a comprehensive customer profile, thus enhancing personalization of digital experiences. Building a customer profile in the past meant, deriving one-dimensional data using internal resources. This results in a limited customer profile, one that is solely based on past customer interactions. What would it mean if an enterprise could tap into external resources to create a 3-dimensional, data-driven customer profile? And how could that improve the performance of marketing?

Defining a 3-Dimensional Customer Profile

Let’s say a certain customer is searching for a restaurant to eat dinner. They do a quick search based on their location. Once they find a nearby eatery, they look up recent reviews on one of their mobile apps. Once they arrive at their destination, they make a quick post on social media and include a geotag. Within minutes, the consumer has already interacted with up to four separate digital platforms, providing info on their general location, food preferences and their usual mealtime.

  ​One important element for marketers to consider when adapting to the latest IoT technologies is how data can be transformed to provide contextual value   

Typically the amount of data available in this situation is restricted to the individual platform that sourced the corresponding interaction. As a result these interactions are standalone points, with no discernible or shared identity between them, creating a one-sided customer profile for each platform involved. Furthermore, unlocking data across different channels (online storefronts, brick and mortar stores, mobile applications, etc.) simply is not enough to keep up with the evolving nature of data-driven technologies via apps and IoT devices.

This is where a 3-dimensional customer profile enters the picture. Increasingly, evolved approaches to data management enable connections where they did not previously exist (sounds familiar to IoT, doesn’t it?). Tools that leverage customer experiences and identity management allow for an inclusive and holistic view of the customer, uniting data across internal, external and partner resources—what we at Axway call a customer experience network. This means data won’t be restricted to internal platforms and individual digital touch points using this network of resources.

The future of marketing and customer experience lies in utilizing data from across different channels and resources in order to build the ultimate 3-dimensional customer profile where organizations can not only accommodate customers, but also predict future behavior and adjust accordingly. If an enterprise wants to keep up with the IoT frenzy and mobile-oriented data ecosystem of today, they must expand their data horizons and focus on enhancing the customer experience by realizing the inherent value of data. Three steps enterprises and marketers should consider when building such customer experience networks include:

• Adapting to Data Challenges: With the introduction of emerging technologies like IoT and in anticipation of further technology developments, marketers should reevaluate their vision when it comes to customer experiences. This means working closely with IT partners to place a data-driven business model at the forefront of the organization and focusing on using data in a smarter, more efficient way that curates brilliant customer experiences at all digital touch points.

• Engaging Available Data Channels: To fully utilize the massive volumes of data available to their organizations, marketers should work with IT to consider integrating and engaging resources internally and externally. By engaging with partners and external resources in conjunction with a new engagement model that focuses on streamlining existing customer resources, organizations can get a better idea of data visibility inside and outside of the organization.

• Scaling Existing Initiatives to Accommodate Future Growth: Innovation never stops and the technology industry is certainly no exception to this rule. Marketers should work with their organizations to optimize existing and anticipated value drivers to ensure that costs and values line up. For example, this might mean working with your IT team to adjust your IT infrastructure to better accommodate increases in data or evaluating your labor force to ensure that there will be enough bandwidth to account for continuously evolving technology trends.

The data challenges presented by IoT and a smartphone-oriented world are daunting, but there are more opportunities than ever for marketers to leverage data. In fact, there’s an opportunity to become one of the first enterprises to successfully utilize data for the good of customers by evolving alongside the latest technology trends.

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