The days of the friendly, counter salesman who was able to gauge your exact requirements every time you went shopping seem to be over. The digital economy, powered by the internet, has given birth to a new set of ‘cognitive’ marketers, changing the way goods and services are sold to customers.
Today’s internet-savvy customers leave important clues about their identities, tastes and inclinations as they surf the net – be it on websites, e-commerce sites, on-line retail stores or even on social networks. All that needs to be done is to harness these pug-marks and decipher them, which is what tech-savvy cognitive marketers are doing. Attracting and retaining customers thereafter becomes far easier.
Indeed, dynamic cognitive marketing is far superior to static digital marketing. Static digital marketing differs significantly on several parameters of customer engagement such as segmentation, analytics, engagement and decision making, with a lot of effort which seems diffused and does not emanate from sound data.
Cognitive marketing requires a completely new mind-set. For one, the focus is on segments of one and not mass segments. Marketers then segment the right customer and tailor conversations and offerings to suit individual tastes, producing the right content and experience, which they deliver to the right customer at the right time.
Cognitive marketing includes integrating real-time analytics and leveraging behavioural and predictive analysis to anticipate customer needs, all of which culminate in data driven and Artificial Intelligence (AI) propelled marketing decisions. Such personalised engagements actually make this new breed of marketers trusted advisors rather than salesmen.
The role of smart machines in this analytical marketing effort is equally important. These machines, aided by latest software are able to sense, learn, infer and think as humans. They are able to take decisions and solve problems especially in areas involving uncovering patterns to predict human behaviour. Advances in hardware, data science, analytics and artificial intelligence is setting new frontiers in trend analysis which is proving invaluable to cognitive marketers.
Successful marketers will need to identify and adopt the ideal cognitive framework which leverages automation and intelligence in designing content and engagement to drive richer brand connections and hyper-personalised promotions, culminating in highly relevant customer service and a smooth post-purchase experience. The trick lies in applying cognition to the relevant data to address people according to their mind-set to provide customer delight.
A word of caution though. Data protection and privacy are important aspects which have generated a lot of interest and regulations. Therefore, access to the surfer’s data for analysis will possibly have restrictions in the years to come. While analysing the data will not have control, sourcing the data without adequate permissions or without paying for it will vastly reduce the availability of malleable data. Cognitive marketers would need to take cognizance of these aspects and their impact as they move ahead.