The Internet of Things. Artificial intelligence. Virtual reality. These rising technologies will both create and be improved by customer data. So the identity infrastructure a marketer creates today must be able to support these technologies and corresponding customer experiences tomorrow.
Ever-Emerging Opportunities for Engagement
The Internet of Things (IoT) has created a whole new channel for building customer relationships. Many everyday consumer objects, with the addition of electronic sensors and Internet connectivity, are joining the IoT. Everything from coffee makers to basketballs will report on how consumers use them. Marketers will respond to these signals with relevant marketing messages. Time to reorder or upgrade! Try this new variety! Earn rewards!
Persistent identity data will be necessary to engage with consumers in a timely manner and across a variety of communication channels — beyond the IoT device itself or its corresponding app.
Personal Advice Without the Personnel Cost
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology already underlies many popular services, like Amazon recommendations and personal assistant apps like the Amazon Echo’s Alexa. These AI apps rely on accurate identity data to fuel their engines, and they can also collect a lot of new data. Chatbots are one of the hottest AI apps: They interact with humans in natural language and will soon be sophisticated enough to replace live customer service and advisory agents.
As AI marketing applications become more complex, they will benefit from deeper data that enables them to recognize an individual customer, evaluate the customer’s history of interactions with the brand and make appropriate recommendations in an instant. In addition, marketers will want to use data captured by AI apps for follow-up messages and offers delivered via addressable media and other communication channels as may emerge.
Making Marketing More Memorable
Marketers are excited about virtual reality for multiple reasons. For one, it literally immerses a consumer in the content, eliminating distractions and focusing attention on the marketing message. Second, consumers tend to have strong emotional reactions, which help drive them to act on what they’ve seen and heard. Finally, the intensity of the experience can create lasting memories, helping to impact future purchase decisions. As with the other technologies, known customer data will be both a valuable input to personalize VR experiences and an output to optimize subsequent marketing efforts to each customer.
Disruptive Marketing Drives Disruptive Growth
Marketers will see rapidly expanding use of these technologies across all industries in the coming year. Here are three key considerations for making the most of the new opportunities they afford.
1. Prioritize flexibility and scalability.
Your identity platform must be able to process and connect the massive new data streams that will be created by technologies like the IoT, AI and VR.
2. Ensure support for emerging tools.
Emerging customer-experience technologies will both utilize and enrich your identity database. Be proactive in defining a data strategy for these new tools.
3. Seek opportunities to leverage second-party data.
Consider partnerships with companies whose IoT devices are gathering data that could enrich your customer profiles, such as data from smart thermostats or Amazon Dash buttons.