Millennials have the attention span of a goldfish. Studies have shown that Millennial attention spans require ads that are just 5 to 6 seconds in length. They will pay no attention to yesterday's marketers and their outdated methods. (Then why do those dinosaurs still exist? Because other dinosaurs like you and me still like to be advertised to and sold to in the old fashioned way, but that is not relevant to our discussion here!). Today’s millennials are loyal to brands and that’s the only reason that they may pay a little attention to all the fancy-pants brand ads blaring out on TV. In terms of marketing messages and engagement it will have as much impact on them as water on a duck's back.
So what is a typical customer journey for your typical millennial, say Saumya, today? Saumya wakes up, pays obeisance to her mobile device, checks out what’s happening in the world around her, which is basically her circle of trust friends. She will also, if she has decided on buying something, discuss it with her friends, get their opinions, research it online on reviews and ratings sites, compare prices and do whatever it takes till she is satisfied she has enough data to make an informed decision. So a large part of the purchase decision has already been made even before she has stepped out her door.
Ok so she's smart. You can be too. You need to know how to engage her - that's the only way you will get her attention. You need to know what she likes and dislikes, what matters to her, what events shape her life, whose opinions matter to her. You also need to have an insight into her purchasing behaviour and online activities. Today all this is possible with the right tools and access to the right data. And there is enough data out there being generated that can be harnessed. Underlying all this of course, are the privacy policies that govern all behaviour regarding collection and use of user data on the internet. So you will get access only to data that has been implicitly agreed to by consumers and not more. But there is enough of it and more for you to make decisions on how to engage her and lead her along in her purchase journey. There are platforms and tools and expertise out there that will help you profile each individual consumer who is your customer and who you can engage with. A technical discussion on all these technologies is beyond the scope of this post.
Saumya arrives at your store. Now here is what you do. Your in-store presence detection devices detect her presence as she walks in through your store doors. A store assistant gets an alert on his device with background information and purchase history and current status about her transactions. You send out a welcome message to her device with directions to the location of the item that she may have placed in her online shopping cart. Your store assistant meets her and assists her in completing the purchase decision process. While she is browsing in another section of your store you can send out a relevant offer to her for an item that she is examining. Relevant, because from her behaviour profile, you already know it is something that will interest her.
Now here is how all this is made possible for you. There are devices that are known as beacons that function as in-store presence detecting devices that can be placed at strategic locations in your store. These can detect the mobile devices and your brand apps in their vicinity and this information can then be processed by the applications that they are connected to. Your apps will already have sufficient data available about the customer, who has been identified by her mobile device and app. The analytics engines will provide real-time decisions on the relevant offers that can be made to her at that time, which can then be sent to her mobile device by other supporting programs. The available data we are talking about would include data about her past purchasing history, about her browsing behaviour, her social interactions, all of which can be analysed by the analytics engines helping to arrive at real-time decisions and the next best action to be taken in engaging the customer at that moment in time. This is relevant contextual mobility which has been made possible by a combination of social, mobile, analytic and cloud technologies.
Needless to say, if her experience has been good, she is going to talk about it with all her online friends which is going to benefit your brand immensely.
And this here is what has helped bring all this together. Your store app on her mobile device, location aware services, beacons and presence detect apps in your store. In addition, you have her online profile that your analytics has built for you. The analytics has used data gathered by social listening tools as well as data on her browsing and purchasing behaviour gathered from transactional data. The marketing and campaign applications have used this information to arrive at the next best action that will be relevant at that point in time. Using all this, you can engage her contextually in real-time using mobile and cloud technologies.
And so – if they be smart, you be smarter. Happy selling!