As human consumers, we hold brands accountable. Every interaction is judged. Every touch point is reflected upon as time passes. We continue to be a customer as we conclude the previous interactions positively contribute to our lives.
As individuals, we all make decisions and reflect on those decisions differently. Think about these decsions as the data we use to navigate the most human of processes: choice. This data includes your aspirations, goals, interests, state of mind, circumstantial constraints, and so on.
For decades, Marketers have attempted to infer these choices from behavioral data that occurs before a choice is made and becomes irrelevant. Worse yet, as consumers reflect upon their choices, the inferred data becomes more inaccurate or even harmful. In some industries, inference via behavior data is acceptable and relatively accurate, however, for most industries, inference is simply unattainable given the nature, quality or timeliness of behavioral data.
To evolve the ways consumers and marketers are connected we must evolve the shared data set they mutually leverage within their interactions. In my humble opinion, this connection absolutely begins with transparency. Transparency between the brand and consumer that the brand is available, listening and prepared to engage in a digital dialog, which will ultimately result in a remarkable experience.
Dialog is the key to bridging digital + physical experiences. Dialog from the consumer’s perspective is communicating what they want to achieve: aspiration, goals, interests, circumstantial barriers, etc. Dialog from the brand owner’s perspective is the recognition (in a real-time environment) of the following:
The consumer’s profile, i.e. who they are
How their profile compares to all other profiles
Subsequently, how the brand owner strategically values said profile in that moment in time
If both consumer and brand owner are able to achieve this dialog in real-time, the experience can be remarkable by shared dataset from which the organizations’ content & incentive can be delivered.
If the dialog was transparent and delivers as promised, then the consumer and brand owner can mutually choose to persist the shared data within the interaction across digital + physical experiences. The consumer must have the choice to engage and continue to engage. Equally, the brand owner must deliver on the promise of appropriate valuing the consumer’s profile against all other profiles.
As consumers, we are digital, we are smart and we are equipped with an ever increasing number of choices. Those brands that acknowledge this sophistication and open dialog during the interaction shall be handsomely rewarded.