Adapting To The NEW Consumer With Better Analytics

new-consumer

By Brooke B. Sellas, {grow} Contributing Columnist

While your customer may not have seemingly changed, a NEW consumer has been shaped and molded by online channels, marketing, and sales.

At least, that’s what Hessie has to say.

Hessie JonesIn my last post for {grow}, I wrote about three goals and KPIs needed for social media analytics but was surprised when digital friend Hessie JonesChief Strategy Officer at Verve.ai, reached out to tell me that I may be living in the past.

Hessie went on to say that the new consumer needs more context for tracking performance, so I decided to interview her and find out exactly what she means, how she defines the new consumer, and how our marketing goals and KPIs may need to change.

Here are some new perspectives on measurement from Intelligence Analyst Hessie Jones:

Key Performance Indicators: New Versus Old

After reading my last {grow} post on three common goals and KPIs for social media marketing, you alluded to NEW insights being more important. Can you share with us what some of those new insights are?

The insights are not necessarily new but they do add more context to performance. What I mean is being able to really connect the dots between traditional KPIs like impressions and clicks directly to business goals.

As a marketer, this has eluded me in the past.  The insights are not necessarily NEW. But as marketers, presenting performance reports and post analyses always surface more questions than answers.

Example: That campaign video produced 20,000 views but how many of those views translated in traffic to the website? Were there any video comments that could have impacted the brand value in the process?

Imagine having the ability to answer these set of questions:

  1. Who are my customers and what do they want?
  2. Of the number of people who liked my Facebook page, how many of them are really my customers?
  3. Can we identify current customers who have responded to a campaign vs. new customers?
  4. Am I really targeting the right kind of prospects through advertising?
  5. What kind of content resonates with my followers and when?

 The reason we haven’t been able to easily answer the questions to the questions above is because performance has always defined as an “aggregate” business goal. Business has not defined performance based on the individual customer viewpoint because it was not scalable.  Now it is.

What “old” KPIs do you believe marketers need to stop focusing on, and why?

Social media has changed marketing forever. The evolution of its users — who have grown up with social media — is now dictating many of the things that business took for granted — processes and policies that ONCE performed. The Customer is NOW the New CEO. 

We always reference the video from Deanie Elsner, former CMO OF KRAFT that speaks about the simultaneous seismic disruption among commerce, communications, and consumers ALL driven by the customer. 

The reason for needing to change is because business performance is waning: The bottom line is not as it once was. Things that we took for granted that contributed to business success are no longer applicable.

Can you tell me when clicks actually led to purchase when TODAY there is a growing suspicion about the legitimacy of ad networks (and the rise of fraud and click-baiting)? Technology has enabled this scale and efficiency but performance as Deanie eludes to is still waning: ” Advertising is no longer working, Trade investment is not working. “

In order to adapt to the NEW consumer, it necessitates the need for new KPIs or at least the ability to tie these KPIs to business performance.

Disruption on the consumer side absolutely means the business side needs to look at things differently.

So start with the consumer and figure out “why” they do what they do. Begin to understand what matters to them. Listen to them and determine, at what time and opportunity do they need my product, NOT how much can I cross-sell and upsell to them.

ROI today needs to take into consideration a KEEN understanding of customer need, customer behavior, customer journeys. That means investing in customer obsession.

Connecting With The New Consumer

How do marketers move from inferring interest from numbers, likes, clicks, and traffic and understand more about their Alpha Audience, as Mark calls it? Or as you said during our Twitter conversation, finding out “how many followers are my customers” and “which content from that influencer drove conversions”?

The beauty of today’s technology is that social media has also enabled a plethora of knowledge about each and every one of our customers: what they need, what they value. We call this the Customer Speed of Life – a speed of life we now have access because of the footprint they leave behind. 

Business can have access to increasing context about their customer in real time. Intelligence is real-time. Analysis is real-time. And now, Optimization is real-time. AND this is information that can be accessed at scale to understand the new consumer.

As a marketer, I’ve always envisioned a time when we could marry social data with transactional data. The latter alone is not enough to properly target current customers BECAUSE it’s not based on customer need. In a time where “human attention is the fastest rising natural limited resource,” it’s getting harder to respond to customers in a timely manner, let alone garner their attention.

So for marketers today they need more context on their customers and the things that matter to them. They need to connect the dots between all customer touch points: on social, on the website, in person at retail and on customer service calls.  This will improve the business confidence in how we promote to them, engage with them, present them with content they may need – all managing the customer relationship at a scalable level.

Follow the consumer and you will have the answers. “When you know more, you can do more”

Are there any processes or tools you can share with us that help you focus on people and behavior rather than numbers?

We are doing this at verve.ai — there are a lot of tools that speak to customer experience but what we do allows companies to use our platform today WITHOUT disrupting their current process or systems.

We do not want to replace current systems. Rather we are an augmented solution of existing technology tools and systems that improves decision-making.

Over To You

Even after talking with Hessie, I feel the “old” KPIs I mentioned are still a solid part of any social media foundation.

Hessie’s “new” metrics are certainly alluring, but I’m not certain how many marketers have access to these tools. Can everyone afford to use them? And if not, how will that affect the marketing game for companies big and small? More research is needed.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below!

Brooke Ballard for {grow}Brooke B. Sellas is an in-the-trenches digital marketer & owner at B Squared Media, blossoming blogger, and  a purveyor of psychographics. Her mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on Twitter.

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