At the final Brainy Breakfast for 2016, attendees heard how the blurring line between the virtual and physical worlds is creating a whole new reality for marketers – and for consumers.
Dany Abeysuriya of Rush Digital, and Hamish Rumbold - Group GM Digital, Customer Products and Digital Retailing from Air New Zealand presented on the influence these new technologies have from the perspective of the New Zealand marketing sphere.
In the Qrious Brainy Breakfast Poll of event attendees, we wanted to find out what technology NZ marketers thought would be most transformative for them – and why.
Here’s what we learned:
Augmented and virtual reality topped off the results with 40% of the popular vote, although there was still a lot of interest in the Internet of Things, Bots and Biometric technology. Amongst the “Other” responses, AI also received a number of mentions.
Our follow up question delved deeper into why their chosen technology would be the most transformative.
The answers to this follow up question give an interesting insight into what NZ marketers consider important: providing an engaging, exciting experience for customers, as well as the ability to cut through time and space to reach their customers wherever they are. It shows they’re taking the idea that the customer experience is key to heart and looking to adopt technology and practices that will help cultivate it.
There were a few key themes that came through:
Creating the Customer Experience
According to Hamish Rumbold, ‘Incredible customer experiences can change customer behaviour’.
AR and VR’s ability to create immersive experiences for customers is why they proved so popular amongst our pollers: it’s exciting, it’s engaging – it’s everything you want your marketing to be.
It’s also become an accessible technology with the advances in smart phones, goggles and glasses. On top of this there’s its potential for use in almost any business:“It can be for everything and anything in our everyday lives, for training, health and safety, children's learning....EVERYTHING! It rocks.”
But AR and VR aren’t the only technologies able to help improve the customer experience. Chatbots, which are able to answer customer queries when humans aren’t available, add incredible value. The customer isn’t left hanging and has their questions answered in a timely manner. With the ‘always on’ mentality of today’s consumers this can be what sways a customer to buy from you rather than your competitor. It’s also seen as a personal experience, responding to the customer’s unique request, rather than relying on a FAQ section that doesn’t always hit the mark.
As Hamish pointed out, bots can deal with the 70% of repetitive questions, freeing up your real people to answer the more difficult and complex queries.
Personalisation and Human Marketing
The other big trend with these emerging technologies is their ability to increase personalisation and relevance by sending hyper targeted messages to consumers.
This is especially evident in the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and ‘Biometric’ technology, and the potential for how this data can be used for marketing.
The “interconnectedness of devices will give us greater insight to the real behaviours of our customers just by living their lives normally. We don't need to survey to understand, merely observe their behaviour through the data coming from their connected devices.”
Data collected will become increasingly personal to the consumer and their situation with the increase in connected devices through the IoT and Biometric tech. This data provides marketers with the ability to create personalised communications on an increasingly human to human level.
Disruption and a Culture of Change
The last point I’ll cover today is disruption and creating a culture of change.
While these weren’t raised in the feedback through our poll, they were covered by both Danu and Hamish during their presentations.
Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate and we’re currently sitting at the ‘disruptive moment’ – the moment where adapting to new technologies and the new way of life it creates has the potential to significantly increase our quality of life, while staying with current technologies means we stay well below it.
To relate this to marketing – adopting new tech has the potential to significantly improve the customer experience and increase business performance, while staying with the status quo may mean you lose out.
To keep up with this companies need to create a ‘culture for change’ which allows them to adapt to changing technologies and changing consumer behaviours. As Danu said, we need to ‘Evolve or die. Stay awake at the wheel, stay self-reflective and create a culture for change.’
What about “Traditional Marketing”?
While the new emerging technologies are offering new ways to engage and excite customers, this doesn’t mean that the old technologies have lost their place in your marketing toolkit (at least not yet).
Even an established digital channel like email, as we demonstrated, continues to evolve and improve in its ability to create a personalised and engaging experience throughinteractivity, and many social channels like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are continuously evolving their platform to improve customer experience.
The most important thing to remember is to keep your customer central to your marketing activities, discover their unidentified need, and then adopt the most appropriate technology to help resolve it.