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How can brands ensure they continue to meet the evolving needs of the customer today and into the future?

Meet the evolving needs of the customer today and into the future

Digitalisation has significantly increased the pace of change and forced brands to evaluate their strategies for meeting the ever evolving expectations of their customers. In today’s market, standing still is no longer an option; businesses must be prepared to keep moving with technology developments and their customers, or risk losing the long-term relationships and financial rewards they generate.

Marketers now recognise that maintaining the customer relationship is key to future growth and client retention. Only data will enable this to happen.

With such a vast amount of data now available, brands must ensure they have the correct capabilities in place to enable them to capture and manage it, in order to maximise each opportunity with every individual customer. So with that in mind, what do businesses need to address now to ensure their ventures are successful and customer needs are met?

It’s no secret that customers today are looking for brands to deliver a personalised and highly targeted interaction with them. At Teradata, we work with brands from P&G to Hertz and Netflix, to help them make better use of their data assets so they can be deployed across highly effective marketing activities.

By providing tools and technology such as the Teradata Integrated Marketing Cloud we are able to provide them with the ability to create a strategic plan, which will not only transform their marketing operations and campaign management but the internal workings of their entire organisation. Investment in technology is the only way to do this today, and particularly vital if brands are going to successfully achieve personalisation, true customer centrism and reap the resulting financial rewards. Crucially, we empower our clients to access valuable insights instantly.

With a recent Teradata report – 'Enterprise Priorities in Digital Marketing'- revealing that 86 per cent of enterprise companies are practicing some form of personalisation, it's clear that brands are beginning to put this higher on the agenda. With fewer than 20 per cent undertaking personalisation in real-time however, the majority of businesses still have a lot to do to really unlock the value that personalisation can bring.

The opportunities created by the digital explosion can be vast, but only if a business is aware of what is possible and then actually takes action to achieve it. Strategic direction is only as powerful as the investment supporting it. Marketers need to ensure they are joining up high-level goals and aspirations with the commitment and investment, whether financial or skills, required to achieve them.

Growth opportunities over the next few years are expected to come from segment-level and real-time communications, so smart brands will be those putting plans in place now to get ahead and give them a point of difference alongside competitors. In a multi-channel world, where consumers are now always connected, they expect the brands they are engaging with to do the same. Identifying the technological opportunities that will enable them to create a better experience for each customer is key.

Cloud-based technology solutions such as Teradata’s Integrated Marketing Cloud, enable businesses to gain access to large amounts of data, so they can gain the all-important single customer view and the flexibility that will enable them to react quickly to customers, in a relevant and targeted manner.

Undertaking extensive evaluation of the organisation will enable marketers to plan for the future. An important part of this involves breaking down the silos amongst a business to get a complete view of each customer journey; this is a vital stepping-stone for a business wishing to achieve a higher level of customer centrism. Within Teradata’s report, almost half of respondents questioned stated becoming more customer-centric as a top-two priority for technology investment. Putting the customer at the core of all activity means businesses must ensure each department becomes more cooperative as one, rather than individually.

Evaluation provides an understanding of the channels which are working effectively, as well those that need to evolve further and function in a different way to ensure they create more value for a customer and where the areas of future growth may lie. Brands cannot offer a positive, data-driven experience if they haven't got proper control over each potential touch point.

A half-hearted attempt to put technology and data analysis in place to facilitate these experiences will undoubtedly fail to provide a single customer view or drive commercial gains as a result.

Whilst the technology investment should certainly be a core focus for marketers looking to the future, understanding the evolving skills that will be required also needs consideration.

This is as much a part of successfully delivering a desired experience to a customer, as having the data available in the first place. Today's environment means business leaders need to be identifying where investment should be made in skills and training so they have a capable workforce.

The digitalised world relies on being able to work across departments effectively and creatively. With technology already pushing a convergence between marketing and advertising, organisations must be mindful that, like the market and consumers around them, they must keep evolving if they are going to keep up.

The impact of digitalisation is showing no signs of stopping. Whilst it's certainly positive to see evidence of more businesses realising the need to put the customer first and investing in ways to facilitate this, there is still more to do, if brands are going to be able to adopt a truly data-driven approach and have the confidence and ability to make decisions in real-time. The opportunities are all there for brands that want to be the market-leaders, but change will not happen without action from inside the organisations.

True personalisation is the route for brands to achieve a positive and desired experience for the customer, which will encourage longer-term loyalty to that brand. Only a customer-centric strategy that combines technology and data will deliver sustainable opportunities for businesses, based around data-driven marketing strategies. The businesses that recognise the need to keep evolving with their customer will be the ones reaping the financial rewards. Sitting still is no longer an option.

To find out more about how you can make better sense of your customer insight and adopt a data-driven marketing approach, call us on 0207 780 4400 or visit http://marketing.teradata.com/.

Christopher Kollat, country manager marketing applications UK and Irelaand, Teradata

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