In the digital age, brands primarily define themselves by way of interaction with their customers. The quality and originality of marketing content is just as important as the preparation and choice of the right channels — but the focus is increasingly being placed on the systematic analysis of the customer journey and the automation of relevant marketing measures.
The idea of the customer journey, which includes the path the customer takes to purchasing a product, can now be so successfully depicted in the digital world due to the wide variety of sophisticated technologies for programming, accessing data, analysis and control as well as APIs. Personalized customer interactions or the tracking of customer behaviour can now be realized in a way unheard of in the past. Users can be reached anywhere at any time. At the same time, so-called attribution tools (place a link here) can be used to indicate which channel is the most effective for gaining attention and animating customer to follow up by purchasing a product online, for example.
Being one step ahead of the customers using the right technology
Modern software tools provide manufacturers or shop operators with all the necessary information pertaining to customer behaviour. This includes when a customer uses a specific channel and with what motivation when searching for a product or during online shopping and on which pages the customer seeks reviews as well as when they switch from using a mobile device to using a desktop computer? Studies show, for example, that customers are more likely to obtain information using their mobile devices, but usually use desktop devices for ordering online, particularly when it comes to making larger purchases.
Companies therefore continuously receive information about the researching and purchasing behaviour of their customers in the internet. These tools track user behaviour online and in real time, which helps companies optimize their marketing activities along customer journeys. “Boundaries between departments are overcome in the process and comprehensive, data-driven views of the customer are finally a reality.” This benefits both the customers and the companies involved”, says Andreas Helios, Sr. Group Manager Enterprise Marketing Central Europe at Adobe Systems.
Using software automation, a company can track its customers, specifically provide them with personalized messages, manage the information provided on third-party platforms or specifically customize the online shopping experience in its own web offerings with specific content, features or the layout of individual web pages, for example. This allows for a so-called ambient user experience, which is specifically tailored to each customer situation. This is a true milestone with regard to product and service development, because individual features can be customized or developed for each customer depending on the product or service. And development doesn’t stop here but the increasing data volume (big data), can now also be used to make predictions about future customer behaviour.
APIs – the multi-purpose tool
APIs are a major component of today’s strategies for customer journey optimization. They ensure the exchange of data between different programs and also between manufacturers and companies. Perfecting the use of APIs for digital marketing has just begun in recent years. Smartphones were the main driver for this development, as they make it possible to reach customers any time anywhere and offer them services via apps. An increasing number of companies are now taking advantage of this opportunity. One example of this are apps by travel agencies, which connect their customers via APIs with online offerings in their specific destination from car rental companies, hotels, restaurants, local attractions and trade fairs, with or without a commission from these providers.
The fact that this development is advancing exponentially can be seen in the growing number of jobs for predictive analytics experts. The positions for analysts that predict customer behaviour have increased by 241% within the last two years according to ITJobsWatch. This growth shows that marketers have recognized the signs of the times. For example, it is hardly possible to manually test new content, campaigns or services as part of the everyday routine. The use of automated technologies and intelligent algorithms to predict customer behaviour is therefore an indispensable tool for maintaining a competitive edge with continuously renewed, customer-specific information, services and products.