Often, marketers find themselves held back by their tech stacks, and this is because stacks are typically built around individual channel platforms, instead of around the customer — and as a result, are left with a fractured view of the customer. It doesn’t matter how many fantastic platforms you have in your stack, the possibility of cohesive customer experience is impossible if you don’t have a single view of the customer and the capability to intelligently understand their behavior. There is hope, though! To surmount these pervasive problems your martech stack needs a boost. It’s time for marketers to be smarter about how they engage customers by putting the customer first with the SmartHub CDP. In this 5th installment of our SmartHub CDP Explainer Series, we’ll examine the Smart component and how it enables personalized, engaging omnichannel experiences driven by a deep understanding of the customer, including all their historic, real-time, and predicted behaviors.
How AI-powered “smartness” steers the customer experience
As we discussed in part 3 of this series, the CDP component to the SmartHub CDP is essential. That foundation of unified customer data is what powers a healthy, well-oiled tech stack. So, it helps to think of customer data and the Single Customer View as the “gasoline”, (as discussed in part 4) whereas the Hub is the “engine” of your stack — it routes data, triggers experiences, and connects all the moving parts to ensure everything functions correctly within the customer experience. This just leaves a steering wheel to direct the “customer journey vehicle” on its path.
The Smart component is that steering wheel and it guides the rest of the platform with AI-powered real-time decisioning to deliver the best possible experience to customers in real-time. Powered by AI and customer data, the SmartHub CDP’s Predictive Intelligence t generates next-best actions, crafts relevant recommendations, and powers automated decisioning about how to best engage customers along the customer journey.
This is what sets the SmartHub CDP apart from traditional CDPs and marketing automation tools and makes it truly revolutionary. Marketers know that they need solid customer data and integrations across channels to pull off successful customer experiences, but powering these processes with intelligence is what takes marketing from being adequate to powerful — and what will drive true growth for your brand.
Let’s break down this marketer-friendly AI further into 4 core elements.
Breaking down the Smart
Transparent & customizable AI
AI is here to turn marketers into the superheroes of their organization by amplifying and optimizing their activities. Predictive intelligence, powered by AI, helps marketers anticipate what customers will do next and what they’re most likely to purchase or engage with so they can better focus their marketing actions. These models continuously run without the need for marketers’ or data scientists’ interference. This means marketers can better focus on what matters: getting creative for customers and perfecting their strategies.
In the past, AI was much less accessible, and AI was often a “black box” meaning these models didn’t let others dig into or adjust the algorithms. Data in, data out — that’s all you got. But increasingly, forward-thinking organizations, like Blueshift, have taken what’s called a “white box” approach to AI to better demystify and democratize how business professionals interact with AI and machine learning and also give these professionals the ability to customize the models to optimize results.
Increasingly, many martech platforms on offer have added some kind of AI to their offering, but for Smart features to add value and help scale 1:1 personalization efforts it needs to have a few key features:
- The AI is foundational to the platform. It’s important to determine if the AI and machine learning were baked into the platform from the start, rather than hastily added on. This ensures that the platform is built around AI and can immediately act on the insights it can offer, rather than the AI attempting to conform to the platform that already existed.
- AI models need to be customizable, transparent, and marketer accessible. For AI to be effective it needs to be guided by marketer’s knowledge of their customers, business dynamics, and goals — marketers need to be able to understand what’s driving predictions and adjust models as needed. Marketers know their business and customers intimately and need to have a stake in determining the inputs, which metrics to optimize to, and validating the output. By having a white box solution in which you can see which variables factored heavily into predictions, see the outputs and results, you can guide the models to drive optimal performance — without needing a technical background.
The amount of data produced by customers is rapidly expanding (humans create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day) and our ability to act on that data is struggling to match pace. Your customers are constantly leaving behind breadcrumbs (while online browsing, scrolling on social media, and engaging with content) that can clue you into what their future behaviors with your brand might look like — but without the proper tools to understand these millions of breadcrumbs (data), marketers cannot respond with relevant or timely messages. Marketers need to make decisions about who to target, with what content, at which moment, and on what channel at an unprecedented rate and that’s where real-time decisioning (autonomously, powered through AI) comes in.
Smart, real-time decisioning enables marketers to respond to customers in the moment with the most optimal messaging and experiences. This is achieved through interpreting customer events in the context of their history with the brand, what they’re doing in the moment, and what their intentions are and then triggering the most optimal and relevant action. Instantaneously, the SmartHub CDP processes all available data, at every touchpoint, on every channel, for each customer, and delivers tailored, differentiated customer interactions. Marketers can now move past the rigid journeys of the past with constant list pulling, new campaigns, and linear customer journeys — and move towards smart, 21st-century real-time, customer understanding-informed experiences.
1:1 content personalization
When we think about the brands who craft really great experiences that customers rave about typically we think of businesses like Amazon or Netflix. To the average marketer, that level of personalization at scale might seem like an unreachable dream, but in reality, every marketer can and should reach that level of 1:1 personalization. With a robust content personalization engine powered by AI, this dream is 100% attainable for any marketer.
A true SmartHub CDP will have a built-in 1:1 content personalization engine that marketers can easily access. Using an intuitive drop-down interface marketers themselves can create content blocks with brand content (such as blogs, videos, articles, etc), product recommendations, and offers that dynamically personalize to every customer in real-time based on a customer’s current context and their product or brand affinities. Because the SmartHub CDP can ingest both customer and catalog data, content blocks for messages that pull items directly from the brand’s current inventory and brand assets, and match the best items to each customer.
When marketers are enabled with the 1:1 content personalization engine, they’re able to always stay relevant at every moment of the customer journey by auto-adapting content to always present the most relevant items (which are then sent at the perfect time and on the perfect channel with the help of the Hub.)
Customer analytics & attribution
A key component of successfully using AI is the ability to measure what is working and what is not. It’s not enough to simply trust that you’re using the right models for your business, marketers and data scientists should always be testing and optimizing.
The SmartHub CDP includes comprehensive, actionable Insights where marketers can have access to at-a-glance reporting and analytics — and customer-level insights that help make sense of performance across different customer segments, and ultimately lets marketers know what actions impact different types of customers. This view of how customers are interacting with your brand — and what’s driving customer and marketing performance — helps to continuously drive growth and maximize the impact of your marketing across channels. The SmartHub CDP is a platform designed to give marketers all the tools they need to succeed, and that starts with full transparency and analytic capabilities.
The Smart component is here to enable 1:1 personalized experiences that positively impact engagement and conversions, and curb time spent on menial tasks through a deeper understanding of customers. That being said, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. The Smart capabilities are essential in personalizing and optimizing your customer experience, but marketers need more than just AI to successfully execute great customer experiences — they need all of the capabilities offered within a SmartHub CDP. If you haven’t already, check out parts three and four of our series that break the platform down further. And, if you’d like to learn more about how the SmartHub CDP is redefining the way marketers use their data, start at part 1 of our SmartHub series, or reach out to our team to see it in action.