Last week, Verto Analytics led a discussion about the connected consumer at MediaTel’s 2017 Connected Consumer Conference in London, a one-day event designed to help advertisers, planners and researchers make sense of the fast-moving media market across all screens and related technologies.
While behavioural science, machine learning, connected data and cross-device measurement were just some of the issues that arose during the conference, the connected consumer theme, of course, was front and center. But the audience also recognized the need to discuss the connected marketer – two topics that shape what we do at Verto Analytics and which we’ve addressed through our own webinars and blog posts.
So how is the advertising and marketing industry being shaped by the modern consumer? Our three key takeaways from the conference show how the industry is responding and evolving:
1. Technology must serve people’s behaviour
Some of the most successful companies on the planet learned long ago that a behaviour-first approach should always be the starting point. That’s why Amazon, Google, and Apple have created such popular products and services, and they’re prime examples of why advertisers should also deploy a behaviour-first approach if they want get “upstream of a problem.” Pioneering brands are also embracing this approach: for example, beauty brand Sephora has created a mobile experience with the in-store shopper in mind; a shopper can input their perfume preferences into interactive kiosks that will then waft the smell out for an immersive experience. And Disney is using wrist brand technology in its parks and resorts to intimately understand the individual consumer through 2,000 possible interactions and touch points to support a personalised experience.
2. Cross-device is the new currency
In addition to taking a behaviour-first approach, successful brands know that they need to reach consumers where they are, regardless of device or channel. In short, understanding the cross-device consumer is paramount to a successful marketing strategy and the key to building long-term consumer engagement. As we mentioned in our Scene Setter discussion, consumers are liquid with their screens today. Consumers use different devices and screens for different purposes. For example, smartphones are used 82% of the time for consumers who visit health & fitness sites and apps, while technology and government-related activity is much more reliant on PC use: consumers use PCs more than 80% of the time for those activities. Understanding micro-engagement behaviour – exactly when, where, how, and through which device a particular consumer interacts with your content – is essential. As a result, connected marketers understand that grabbing a consumer’s attention involves a value exchange: connected marketers use insights and data to learn when and where to reach the individual and how to meet their needs, on their terms.
3. Machine learning will be the next big disruptor
Machine learning is set to offer a ‘quantum shift’ in capability across many areas of the so-called connected ecosystem. Indeed, Sarah Golding, the new IPA president, recently declared she wants us to make magic with machines, placing machine learning at the heart of adland’s future. And circling back to the importance of the behaviour-first approach, predicting consumers’ response to communication powered by machine learning could help improve advertising.
While marketers have grown increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to gather consumer data, the MediaTel event gave experts with backgrounds in anthropology, behavioural science, digital strategy and media planning an opportunity to explain why that’s still only half of what is really needed to make the most of advertising in the Information Age. We may have the data, but do we have the knowledge – the addition of experience and context to this data?