In today’s ever connected world, the job of marketing must continually evolve to keep pace. From apps, to websites and eCommerce, scan-and-pay, the list goes on, the ability to ensure that everyone has the exact right message at the right time is imperative.
And why is that? Simply put, mobility has changed the way that retailers of all kinds do business, or at least changed the way they should be doing business. You see, the mobile device has completely revolutionized the modern world. Far beyond that of just a phone, it’s how most people connect with one another and businesses on a 24×7 basis.
Think of it this way: email, texting, social media, apps, eCommence, and now in-store interactions are all being facilitated through mobile devices. And, of course, the concept of laptops and desktops still remain, making the ubiquity of connectivity even more important.
However, with all of this connectivity the expectations of consumers have changed. The idea that en-masse emails and advertisements with nothing more than a personalized first name is anything close to a win is far from accurate. In fact, with the advent of personalization having started years ago through the likes of Facebook, etc., the general population began a quick evaluation leading to wanting and needing more and more personalized content.
Pair this with the now millions of apps that people willingly use daily to purchase everything from coffee to clothing to cars—every one of these interactions is fed by and relies on personal data. It’s this data that is willingly submitted by users in hopes that their experience will be forever personalized—not generalized as just another ad campaign or offer, but something truly for them.
This has spawned a new revolution in marketing: to finally ensure that the right message to the right person at the right time is truly realized by introducing the single-user-profile. In short, the personalization is rather easy. It’s simply a data file that collects and leverages ongoing information on individual consumers: a file that learns what that person as an individual likes, dislikes, and so on. More so, it’s the Holy Grail of marketing as it also (at least should) connect all channels in a ubiquitous fashion. This means that regardless of entry point—online, in-app, in-store—the consumer is recognized and experiences the same things regardless.
And though this seems like an amazing idea—and it is—the ability to manage these types of new marketing practices continues to escape most retailers. The issue really comes down to technology. For so many organizations, the data sources that are used to connect with customers are disparate, to say the least—in many cases, we’ve seen the world’s largest brands unable to connect their eCommerce store with their brick-and-mortar stores. This seems almost silly when said out loud but, nonetheless, it’s the stark reality of data management.
Making separate systems speak to one another is a challenge. Making them work together in a harmonious and ever-learning fashion—that’s considered by most to be black magic and simply unattainable by mere mortals. But that’s not the case. The missing link to all of this is a platform that interconnects the data points and manages all of the marketing efforts in unison—making every interaction highly personalized. And without this missing piece, the modern customer engagement aspect of marketing is impossible.
The good news is that the platform is actually obtainable. Our own platform, PACE, is at the forefront of customer engagement, having revolutionized the customer experience for brands that are familiar to many and are interacted with daily. At its core, PACE not only connects disparate data systems, but it also acts as the control center for all marketing efforts—automating the right person, right message, right time paradigm in its entirety.
Interestingly, the future of commerce has already arrived. The question now is: when will retailers embrace it? The challenge with the “when” is that “when” is too late. As personalization becomes more and more prevalent, brands of all kinds will need to remain relevant to compete. And though barrier to entry is low, many still stall on the implementation of such systems—not due to complexity, but merely the unwillingness to change old habits.
There is the right person with the right message at the right time out there right now … and it just may be the right competitor that is delivering that experience.