We live in a world where what is relevant changes every day. What’s in today, is nothing tomorrow so we need to act fast on data that is fresh. Consumers are spoilt for choice and tired of the “same-old”. We are no longer in competition with others who provide similar services or products, we are in competition with everyone!
We are all competing with Apple’s newest gadget or Lorde’s latest album for the consumer dollar. According to PepsiCo’s first chief design officer, Mauro Procini, “(people) don’t buy, actually, products anymore, they buy experiences that are meaningful to them, they buy solutions that are realistic, that transcend the product, that go beyond the product, and mostly they buy stories that need to be authentic.”
Successful retailers have stopped selling products and started selling experiences. Experiences that start even before customers are aware that they are on a magical journey to a purchase.
To create amazing experiences we need excellent data. If we want to connect with our customers then we need to know who they are, where they are from, how old they are, whether they are male or female, if they are old or young, and when we are going to have their attention. This information is what great market research is all about, it’s what we pay the big money for. It’s the foundation of creating incredible campaigns that connect to prospects and customers.
With technology today we can create experiences that were simply impossible under a decade ago.
Imagine, for example, a toy shop in which a little boy stares with great interest at a digital display advertising the most bestest super-awesomest robot-transformer-soldier-truck-toy toy. The past three advertisements have all been of interest to him. But then it happens, the next advertisement is about the latest Barbie and Ken set with real wool winter accessories and Barbie hair accessories to accessorise Barbie with. The boy promptly walks away, but the girl who only started looking at the display during the previous advertisement is overjoyed!
“What a coincidence”, her mother thinks, a display that was only showing advertisements for boys is now showing advertisements that are perfect for her young daughter and detrimental for her bank balance! But this is not coincidence at all. Behind what seems like coincidence, technology was doing some pretty cool things. When the young girl started looking at the display, the display detected a young girl looking at it.
This fired an algorithm which in turn changed the next advertisement that was to be displayed to one that would be of interest to her.
The scenario presented above is not science fiction. It is just one example of how technology has evolved. It’s important, however, to understand that technology is simply an enabler. In the above example it is enabling the visual communication of the right message to the right target at the right time. But the message itself is the product of good market research and design. The advertisements are based on solid information derived through hard data collected through various technologies. The words, the colours, the layouts, and the timing are all based on fact.
Technology allows us to collect vital customer information and change static one-to-many advertising relationships into targeted personal experiences that are adaptive and immersive. The real-time information gained allows us to create experiences and to tell stories; to be relevant and relatable. The little boy and girl will love going to the toy store because it just seems to always know what super-awesome-cool toys they like. This amazing experience is why the toy store’s competitor, who is busy selling products, is losing out.