Being on top of digital trends and the limitless data that flows in and out of them is essential to engaging with customers in this day and age.
Our phones, homes, appliances, Fitbits, automobiles, etc. Pretty much everything electronic your ideal customer base uses on a daily basis is connected to the Internet of Things in some way or another.
It won’t be long before people’s dogs are implanted with microchips that upload what they’re thinking and feeling all day long so their faithful owner never has to worry if little “Fifi” needs to take a tinkle in the backyard or not.
The zettabytes of data available to modern business is staggering. Salesman and product developers from a century ago are surely rolling over in their graves at this very moment, incensed at just how easy marketers across the globe have it these days.
Indeed, the future has arrived. Internet connectivity, advanced programming interfaces, and Skynet-level computer intelligence makes it easier than ever for you to get inside your customer’s head and pull in more sales via smart, targeted engagement.
3 Digital Trends Raising the Bar in Customer Engagement
Trend #1: Internet of Things (IoT)
The WWW has been around for 25 or so years, yet it’s still evolving. Referred to the “Internet of Things” (IoT) by many, the information superhighway currently hosts some 9-billion or so devices. Projections indicate those numbers to snowball upwards of 50-billion by the next decade of this century (source: Cisco).
Of course, I’m not just talking about mere phones, tablets and personal computers here. Everything is tapped in: home security, HVAC, televisions, traffic cameras, health monitoring devices – and the list will likely continue to grow month by month.
So how do you use this data to increase engagement? That really falls in the hands of the creative minds that make up your product creation and marketing teams. Much of the data available from these sources is just a big jumbled pile of unused information at this point, lacking in structure.
Find ways to connect your services to a customer’s “Internet of Things”. Offer them value above and beyond what their devices and Internet connection can alone. It won’t be easy, but it’s the future of consumer marketing and engagement.
Trend #2: Application Programming Interface Technology
APIs manipulate software and make gleaning mega zettabytes of data from customers so easy that there’s no reason not to embrace this technology. No reason at all. All smart devices and smart websites run on carefully coded APIs designed to gain valuable insights into what customers like, dislike, desire or abhor.
Just look at Google’s current level of domination in this space. It’s likely they know more about the current marketplace than any government economist ever will.
Known officially as the API Economy, APIs seamlessly deliver services to customers right in the palm of their hands. And most important, APIs allow us to sort customer data at a level that’s never been possible until the last decade.
Embrace the use and even design of APIs in your business and you open the door to monetize more data and provide a more customer-centric experience all in one easy-to-use software package.
Trend #3: Computers Doing the Heavy Lifting
And by heavy lifting, I’m referring to a modern computer’s ability to think, learn and reason; often with little-to-no human intervention. Back in 1984 when the movie Terminator was released, none who watched it could have imagined such a preposterous notion. That computers could think for themselves, perhaps one day making people an obsolete mass of flesh and bone.
However, at least with respect to cognitive intelligence, computer technology has indeed made it (close) to that level. These cognitive systems are currently hard at work to disseminate the near 80% of unstructured data that exists on the Internet currently. That’s right, only 20% of that information currently flowing on the information superhighway is currently of any use to anyone.
As this “Dark Data” is sorted, it can be integrated into the customer experience in limitless ways, helping business to understand customers better, optimize the conception-to-market process, and help make marketing less stressful and costly overall.
Bringing it Altogether: Maximize the Digital Experience
While this might all seem terribly technical, we as business owners don’t have to go to night school to get a degree in computer science. Each of the 3 trends mentioned are already heavily in development and have been in play for some time now.
As the cloud experience continues to expand and improve, the process of collecting customer marketing and engagement data, and getting their input on what you can better do to make them a happy lifelong customer will only get easier.
One thing that’s an absolute must for business owners is that they keep abreast of what’s going on with regards to the Internet of Things, API technology, and advances in computer technology. Know what’s going on and make sure you have trusted IT advisers on-hand in your business so you’re ready to capitalize on changes as they happen.