For the times they are a-changin’… Bob Dylan
Customer channel behavior and interaction model is evolving constantly. Just when retailers think they have multi-channel figured out the channel/interaction game is shifting with chatbots, virtual assistants, speech shopping, and other innovation.
According to Gartner: “Conversational AI-first will supersede cloud-first, mobile-first as the most important, high-level imperative for the next 10 years.”
Basically, customers are not interacting with brands in a linear fashion… they are jumping around from channel to channel and expecting the experience to be seamless and relevant.
For instance, in online shopping, women are more likely than men to reach for their smartphones and tablets to research and make purchases. Of U.S consumers who say they’ve completed a purchase on a mobile device in the last month, 66.5% are women and 33.5% are men. Compare that to 2013, when a greater share of men than women completed purchases on mobile. [BusinessInsider, The e-commerce demographic report].
To better understand, customize and respond based on customer behavior/context/clicks, Fortune 500 companies are making large investments around Programmatic Marketing (“Marketing that learns”). Specifically, the objectives are:
- Visualize and map the 1:1 customer journey by personas.. Customer journeys are an illustration or visual representation of all points of interaction across touchpoints.
- Optimizing on the right journey attributes to increase yields by >30% lift… Uncover the right combination of web, mobile and physical channels, content and experiences that best achieves the target goals
- Enable marketers to identify journey bottlenecks for individuals and aggregates
- Leverage actual behavior data to enhance and personalize the experience for each individual customer
One of most often implemented use case in Programmatic Marketing is customer journey mapping and analytics. Why? Because, deciphering the nuts-and-bolts” of individual customer journeys (and deducing intent) is core to improving customer experience and driving brand loyalty.
Fintech stands for financial technology. It’s just a blanket term for technology that is disrupting the financial services industry. Payments, Blockchain, Robo-Advisors (or automated investment advisory services) are all segments in Fintech.
Why robo-advisors? We are in the early stages of a shift in wealth management, especially “plain vanilla” investing for the mass affluent and millennial segment. Until recently, you had only two options when investing:
- Do-it-yourself (DIY)
- Hire a registered investment advisor (RIA)
Now there is a third option. Robo-advisors are new a class of financial advisors that provides online, algorithm based portfolio management with minimal human intervention. Robo-Advisors going after the low-end of brokerage/RIA business with automated asset allocation.
The Robo-Advisors market leaders who are serving the mass affluent include are:
- Wealthfront (with over USD 2.6bn in assets under management (AuM) and 20,000 investors);
- Betterment (with over USD 1.4bn in AuM and 70,000 investors); and
- FutureAdvisor (With over $600 million in AUM).
The timing for this market shift coincides with three trends: consumerization, digital tools, and disillusionment with status-quo investment advisors. The gyrating stock market driven by program trading is increasingly bringing Robo-Advisors, algorithmic portfolio management to the forefront. Investors are getting disillusioned with traditional investment advisors who simply track the market indices (SPY, QQQ or Russell 2000) by purchasing ETFs at best.
Many banks and brokerage firms over the years have shifted their focus to serve ultra high net worth (UHNW) and high net worth (HNW) investors, leaving an opportunity for firms to target the “mass affluent” investors, or those with less than $1 million in investable assets. Younger investors are increasingly interested in online digital advice, as opposed to hiring an adviser.
Who are we designing for? What are we designing? What outcomes are we targeting? What are the end-to-end user journeys as boundaries blur between consumers, stores and consumer brands?
How do you approach the messaging and the storytelling, especially given the challenges of channel proliferation? How do you break through the clutter? The first step in every digital strategy is to develop personas that segment the audience and serve as the foundation for customer UX and journey mapping analysis.
The best practice firms start with the user. Working from the perspective of the client who consumes a product or service, they focus on personas or “one idealized digital user.”
The goal is to think about the prospect, consumer, user as a human being. What matters in his or her life. Why? Because users do not wake up in the morning and think, “I need a new app today,” for example. People wake up in the morning and worry about getting to work, getting kids to school, where to meet friends for dinner, paying your bills and saving for the future.
Understanding the persona and the daily journey is critical in modern experience design. If marketing is going to interrupt you with something that they think is important to you, they have to find a way to tell the user about it so that it resonates with the user. There has to be a benefit to user. There has to be substance. Hence the need for real-world story-telling and context.
What is a digital persona?
Personas are fictional characters used to represent specific segments that interact with the brand across a variety of touchpoints. Personas characterize attitudes, values and behaviors of customer segments, and draw from various inputs to accurately depict the customer. They are helpful in distilling key information into more succinct stories that can be quickly understood. Personas are developed using qualitative research interviews, ethnographic studies – talking to real people about their real needs, motivations and behaviors.
Why is digital persona development important? The new battlefield is the customer journey and its various touchpoints across the lifecycle: AWARENESS → CONSIDERATION → PURCHASE → LOYALTY → ADVOCACY.
Across every industry, consumerization is changing how People they interact with businesses. Traditionally, most businesses have followed the same marketing and sales playbook to generate leads, close sales and provide support to their customers as they did 10-15 years ago. Businesses need a more effective way to humanize the target audience in order attract, engage and delight customers who have access to an abundance of information and an ability to block traditional marketing and sales tactics. To do this, businesses need to deliver an customized experience, which enables them to be more helpful, more relevant and less interruptive to their customers.
I believe an effective way to illustrate how people have transformed the way they consume information, research products and services, make purchasing decisions and share their views. You get a sense of this by reviewing these general personas – Digital Susan, Social Ashley, Introvert Dave, Modern Meghan and Traditional Ted. Read more
Mobile devices are ubiquitous and people glued to their phones throughout the day account for more than half of all internet traffic. Influencing the mobile consumer requires understanding the “context” in real time to make an impact and add value to their life. Four facts about him/her are necessary to engineer unique experiences:
- Who is the consumer?
- What do they want (to meet both her emotional and functional needs)?
- What have they purchased in the past?
- When and where do they shop?
The Rise of Mobile Marketing Automation (MMA)
The state of the art in digital marketing is the integration of social, local, mobile — or frequently called mobile marketing automation (MMA). MMA is a hot emerging areas that leading Chief Marketing Officers are focused on for mobile apps, precision targeting, and test & learn campaigns.
What makes MMA different is the focus on the propensity to purchase coupled with location intelligence. Segmenting and reaching audiences based on demographics, psychographics, content or cookies has its uses, but these methods don’t make the association that matters most – propensity to purchase and actual purchase behavior.
Just a few years ago, the category didn’t even exist. The tremendous migration of consumers to mobile as their primary interaction channel has fueled the need for new sophisticated B2C marketing tools. CMOs focused on digital consumer engagement are aggressively piloting new initiatives in this area.
Why? Because Digital shifts power to Consumer. Mobile isn’t the future – it’s the present. With over 2 billion Smartphone users and growing, mobile channel usage is growing exponentially. Consider these statistics….the number of Facebook mobile daily active users recently crossed 800M; the number of mobile-only monthly actives is 600+M users; % of users who only login from mobile devices crossed 30%.
Mobile-first, mobile-only are new behavior patterns in consumer engagement across all demographics.
Consumers – Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers – all expect brand interactions to be relevant to their immediate context. Established brands are scrambling to appear relevant in this mobile-first world, and brand-specific mobile apps are popping up with never-before-seen speed. Marketing requires meeting consumers where they are with laser-like targeting of offer & message – and mobile is a key place to do so.