In 2023, marketers will use AI to unlock creativity and personalization. In the past, AI was owned by data scientists, but now marketers can easily access and use AI. In 2023, marketers are the data artists, combining creativity with data and AI, for intelligent customer engagement. Let’s dive into four key areas that will drive customer engagement in the coming months.
1. Marketers Assume the Role of Data Artist
2023 will be the year that marketers can finally get back to doing what they do best: elevate their brands to become tightly woven in their customers’ lives through emotive storytelling.
Brands have spent years collecting data on their customers. You have third-party data, transactional data, first-party data – everything that you’ve amassed on your hundreds or millions of customers is now easily accessible to you. Combined with all your product information, you have all that you need to create a story arc.
Welcome to your new role as a Data Artist – a brand storyteller who uses rich customer data in an intelligent way to weave a compelling story for your customers. And not just a single story – you could be creating millions of stories, each one perfectly crafted to every customer – that’s the power that an AI customer engagement platform gives you. It gives marketers like Samantha Turner, director of growth marketing operations and automation at Malwarebytes, the tools needed to be a Data Artist, using rich data to better understand and engage each customer on the right channels, at the right time.
For Sweetwater, customer engagement is building lifelong relationships with customers. Hear from Mike Clem, chief growth officer and EVP at Sweetwater, on how they use every customer interaction to build rich customer profiles so that its sales engineers can engage with intelligence.
Reliable And Precise
2. Smart Marketers Win During An Economic Downturn Using First-Party Data
There is nothing more liberating for a marketer than getting and using consent-driven first-party data from customers. Anyone who has experience using third-party data knows that it’s very limiting, it’s expensive to get, and will soon be a thing of the past as Google and Apple continue to restrict the use of third-party cookies on Web browsers. Zero-party and first-party data on the other hand is much more reliable and precise. Zero-party data is information that customers intentionally and proactively give you, and can include preference data, purchase intentions, and personal profile data. First-party data is customer data that you collect from their activities on your owned properties, including website and app.
How you collect and activate this zero-party and first-party data will give marketers an edge during an economic downturn because you won’t be dependent on buying customer data through a third-party. When the economy gets tough, it’s harder to spend money on acquiring new customers, so you need to maximize the lifetime value of existing customers. And the best and most secure way to do this is with zero-party and first-party data.
Even though Google has pushed plans to replace third-party cookies for advertising until 2024, it’s better to start preparing now and start ramping up how you collect and activate first-party data. At our recent conference, Engage, a hot topic was making the switch to first-party data. Hear from industry leaders on strategies to drive organic growth while reducing dependence on third-party data.
Keep Customers Engaged
3. Marketing Leaders Will Be Laser-Focused on Marketing Effectiveness
As we head into a tougher macroeconomic environment, CMOs will be focused on figuring out which parts of marketing are truly efficient and effective. Blueshift CMO Joan Jenkins discusses the five actions that marketers can take during a downturn to better understand and improve how marketing is contributing to the health of the business.
The five actions include being ruthless with ROI, using AI to better understand customers and to build highly personalized journeys for them, and to take an integrated platform approach to marketing because it enables you to create a much smoother cross-channel experience – and it allows you to measure and report on performance more easily and accurately.
The marketing leaders at LendingTree are better able to measure success because they’re taking these very steps. They’re collecting rich, actionable data to ensure their messaging meets the mindset of the customer, which has likely changed since the downturn. The marketers at LendingTree are using this actionable data to build target segments for direct-to-consumer channels and engage audiences with relevant content.
I encourage you to view the on-demand video of the recent webinar that we hosted with Joyce Poole, senior director of CRM Marketing at LendingTree, for great insights into how the team at LendingTree are keeping customers engaged during an economic downturn.
Unlock Operational Efficiencies
4. AI Will Be Your Ally In Tough Times and Beyond
If there is one thing that I’d love for you to take away from these predictions is that AI marketing makes you a much more effective marketer. Advances in generative AI make it possible for enterprises to let AI take the first pass at creative tasks around writing and designing, with humans as “editors” rather than “writers”. At the same time, the rise of explainable AI will drive increased use of AI for personalizing and automating the customer experience, as it becomes easier for business users to trust, understand and program the AI engines. These advances will unlock operational efficiencies, as well as improve customer engagement.
AI reduces the grind marketers need to go through to answer a lot of questions that should be easily accessible to them. AI marketing helps you make sense of all the zero-party and first-party data that you’re collecting so that you can quickly make decisions from it. And AI accelerates and automates a lot of the work in understanding your customers so that you can create incredibly rich customer profiles. And it’s this rich customer data that you can apply your creative energies into creating engaging stories for your customers. An example of using AI marketing for personalized engagement is recommending product and content to each customer. Russell Middleton, co-founder of Zumper, relies on AI Recommendations to match millions of people with their dream apartments.
This is the beginning of customer engagement that isn’t focused on where customers are in the funnel and moving them along, but is instead a virtuous flywheel of engagement at which the customer is the center. A flywheel approach means marketing to your customer as an individual based on your rich knowledge of them, so that you can convert every visitor to a repeat purchaser and build value for them in every interaction you have with them across all the places they want to hear from you.
I wish you all the success in 2023, and as always Blueshift has your back for intelligent customer engagement.
Vijay Chittoor is CEO and Co-Founder of Blueshift