Consumer intelligence a game changer for e-Commerce
Consumer intelligence is on the agenda for all businesses today. With social media apps becoming an influential tool and the pandemic keeping most shopping habits online, understanding consumer behavior enables organizations to plan their marketing strategies properly.
Today, consumer intelligence provides businesses insights not only on how they can market their products but also making sure they have a sufficient supply of a product to avoid any disruption. The recent Lunar New Year celebrations proved to be a huge challenge for businesses as customer engagement skyrocketed.
During the Lunar New Year celebrations, consumer engagement in the e-Commerce industry saw a huge uptake. According to stats by Talkwalker, a consumer intelligence platform, there was a 2100% increase in engagement and a 3900% rise in the potential reach on Chinese New Year-related mentions across social media in Southeast Asia.
The trend aptly illustrates how the pandemic has led to the surging popularity of online platforms as consumers increasingly spend more time on social media. With this phenomenon, brands must thus leverage online consumer intelligence to better reach their audiences.
Speaking exclusively to Tech Wire Asia, Benjamin Soubies, Managing Director, APAC & Japan of Talkwalker pointed out that brands that are emerging and flourishing in today’s fast-changing, digital age is the ones already leveraging platforms like Talkwalker.
“It is the need of the hour for brands that want to thrive in a competitive, global marketplace. The rapid rate of change is a challenge faced by brands both within and outside the e-Commerce space. And in order to connect and close the gap between brands and their consumers, marketers have to be on top of the latest trends and conversations,” said Soubies.
Apply consumer intelligence to everything
As such, emerging technologies like AI-enabled consumer intelligence empowers brands and marketers with actionable insights, drawn from the millions of first-party and third-party data points they are sitting on. Soubies added that if they are not already making use of these, it is time that they make consumer intelligence part of their immediate future
For Soubies, the success of brand campaigns can be measured in several ways – in the long run, however, it is the brands who ‘get’ their consumers that win the race. Also, consumer insights can be powerfully leveraged to design authentic and personalized experiences that truly connect the consumer.
“Take, for example, Singtel’s ‘Hunt For The Lucky Tiger’ Chinese New Year campaign. By integrating the elements of augmented reality (AR), social gaming, and mentions of the metaverse, the short film embeds Singtel’s offering of 5G connectivity firmly in the ‘phygital’ reality of the Singaporean consumer. The ‘tiger hunt’ concept also previews Singtel’s 5G partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to launch the AR-mazing Tiger Trial, raising awareness for the conservation of the endangered Malayan tiger,” highlighted Soubies.
He pointed out that by applying consumer insights and trends skillfully, brands can design unique, interactive, and socially relevant campaigns that resonate with their desired audiences. Interestingly, Soubies added that what is core to successful customer engagement has hardly changed over the years. Consumers desire personalized experiences, and to make an emotional connection with brands.
“The main challenge for brands today is that customers are expecting every brand to deliver on what a brand like Nike started to do 10 years ago – which is to make a statement in the world and to deliver on its promise through every touchpoint. Brands today are leveraging consumer intelligence to accelerate the process of getting close to their customers, by paying close attention to what they truly value.
Social data becomes indispensable in this process, particularly for brands and marketers that want to connect with Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Combined, this consumer segment will have the biggest purchasing power of any generation. And this is where consumer intelligence platform providers like Talkwater enable brands to optimize their customer engagement approach in a myriad of ways,” explained Soubies.
Knowing the trends and limitations
While there are myriad ways to optimize customer engagement, Soubies feels that’s brands first need to know what is trending. In most cases, he feels that what works in one market, may not be appropriate or necessary for an audience elsewhere.
“Brands need to learn to distinguish between micro, macro, and megatrends, because the patterns that you see today may not be here to stay. Then, to build a close understanding of their customers, brands will need to decide what mix of data to draw from, and how much of existing customer behavior they expect to see in their prospects,” said Soubies.
At the same time, Soubies believes that it always helps to study what the competition is doing and to compare this to the signals a brand is sending. This will help businesses to identify the kind of messages they need to leverage and to use more of what is already working for their brand.
Knowing the trend is one thing, but when it comes to the handling of customer data, Soubies clearly mentioned that consent is non-negotiable. According to a Forrester report, while 88% of APAC marketers recognize the importance of privacy, only 59% fulfill the minimum requirements to comply with data privacy regulations, and 18% believe they are mature in terms of their privacy oversight and process.
“Providing consumers with personalized content while ensuring their data privacy is an important balancing act which brands and marketers must keep up. Consumers will also have to realize that they cannot have it both ways – they must be willing to give up some data, to enable the delivery of content and services that are more personalized, authentic, and relevant. With greater transparency from brands in the handling of data, this concept of a fair exchange between brands and consumers will hopefully become more prevalent,” he commented.
While privacy and personalization concerns are always there when it comes to data, the endgame for businesses is simply this. As data is key for consumer intelligence, consent has to be mandatory as well. If they don’t have customer consent, it can only lead to severe consequences in the long run.
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