How Data Can Help Win Your Customers’ Hearts (And Wallets)

March 5, 2015 Ben Myers


by Christina DiAdamo, Industry Engagement Manager at Microsoft

Great marketing is based on deep insights, that’s nothing new. But, considering the speed that technology and the consumer landscape are evolving, getting those insights is increasingly challenging. At the same time, as more facets of Canadians’ lives go digital and the lines between online and offline become increasingly blurred, reaching and really connecting with consumers means we need a new approach – one that requires data.

There’s already a slew of data streams marketers can leverage (from customer details, to historic information to real-time data) and as consumers continue to expand their repertoire of digital devices and services (including things like wearables and IoT), they’ll be creating even more signals.  Yes, this means that we have more sources that to draw from to get smarter, but to do that we still need the right people, with the right skills, and the right tools.

We also see that Canadians are willing to share their information, provided that they feel they’re still in control of it and see real value from the exchange.

Consumers’ Maturing Relationship With Technology

Microsoft’s latest research (which we’ll be launching at Dx3) looks at the maturing relationships consumers have with technology and their data and the impact this evolution is having on the relationships they want to have with brands and what they expect from their user experiences. This study build on the framework from our inaugural Digital Trends research we launched at the beginning of last year, so it gives us a good indication of just how quickly the landscape is changing and where we’re heading in 2015. In the span of just one year, we’ve seen these trends evolve not only in terms of awareness, adoption, and interest, but some of the trends themselves have also fundamentally evolved as well.

Our research shows that consumers today expect a lot. Increasingly, they want brands to personalize things for them, help them discover new things, and be in the right place at the right time. Consumers aren’t stupid – they know that requires data. We also see that Canadians are willing to share their information, provided that they feel they’re still in control of it and see real value from the exchange. So, the more marketers enable the types of integrated, intelligent experiences consumers are looking for, the easier it is for them to see how they benefit and proactively share their information.

Improving Customer Experiences

The good news is that, as an industry, we know we haven’t quite figured this out. The reality is that few brands or agencies few feel they’re able to optimize what they have, let alone what they’ll be collecting tomorrow. As marketers ramp up their analytics teams and tools become more prevalent and intuitive, we’ll start to work smarter and, at the same time, improve customer experiences.

That’s not enough though. Speed (or lack thereof) is our biggest challenge. We’re talking about overwhelming amounts of data that need to be accessed, organized, and analyzed to be able to draw out those insights. The reality though is that we need to be able to make decisions in real time, faster than the competition.

Brands that take unlocking the power of their data seriously today will lead tomorrow. Chris and I are excited to talk about what this new landscape this looks like, both from the consumers and brand perspectives in our session at Dx3. See you there!

Look for the Microsoft download stations and visit Microsoft booth 809 at Dx3 2015, March 11 – 12.

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