The upstarts win. Brands that emerged as digital rebels in the 21st century are seriously harming the established companies and fat ships that have dominated until now. They do this by building close relationships with modern and rapidly changing audiences.
The crucial question for companies with analogue DNA who want to survive in this direct market: How exactly do digitally mature brands use data and artificial intelligence (AI) to reach and grow their customers?
The characteristics that characterize modern and developed brands no longer depend on size, history or capital. Today, success depends more on whether it is possible to decorate customer questions or passions with identiﬁ and build a relationship with customers in their digital language. This approach is about customer proximity as an essential, fundamental building block of a brand. A certain lifestyle or attitude as well as the connection of a brand with it are the drivers for marketing and product development. This also applies to standard products such as razor blades, glasses, mattresses, bicycles, baby articles or even art. People have been producing these products for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years. Now, however, they are delivered directly to the front door.
The learning – or rather the wake-up call – for brands that find it difficult to get to grips with the digital world because of their analog roots: Become very smart in handling and using data. There is no reason why companies can’t learn and be digital – at least to some degree.
To be a pioneering brand means above all to be modern – and to be modern means to have an effective two-channel communication with the consumer.
It’s about immersing yourself in your lifestyle and responding to your needs and desires, growing and changing like consumers – even before they do. Mature brands are built on these continuous interactions.
In order to make and keep contact with a target audience, it is necessary to use and effectively manage data. Especially the first-party data collected in this natural and digital relationship. Mature brands are able to interact on a very personal level because they fully exploit the possibilities of digital hand tools like AI.
From data to insight
All the data in the world – regardless of the source – can do little if a brand is unable to gain target group insights from it and analyse the results of the campaigns. The ability to solve these two fundamental issues is the key to survival in the digital world; the key to more accurate messaging and, as a result, greater customer proximity.
Sure, a traditional direct mailing or outdoor ad can still be effective. However, you will never be able to collect precise insights, i.e. measure and target your target group accurately. Being digital puts them in a position to follow the consumer’s path and provides you with Einﬂ uss.
Talk to your target audience
The word “with” is crucial here. You don’t “speak” to her. Think about what difference it makes to speak to the audience on a stage or to shake hands standing in the crowd and get to know the people.
Use data smart
You can’t have a meaningful conversation if you can’t make the right connections. The way for such connections and good storytelling is via qualitative data, which is collected via the browser, surfing behaviour or social media, for example.
There is not one channel or approach you need to master. The big trick is to find the special ingredient that your customers like. AI plays an important role because it frees human capacity to develop creative campaigns.
AI as a secret ingredient of modern marketing
Where does AI come in now? The technology creates a platform for target group behaviour, access to the needs and wishes of customers up to a highly differentiated level. It gives brands a tool to speak directly to their target group, to see what’s good and what’s bad and to become better with more and higher quality data.
It is a self-reinforcing system if you are able to tackle it properly. The enthusiasm of your customers for your products creates the desire to have a relationship with your brand.