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Improve your ROI with intelligent data usage.

Today’s businesses confront the dual challenge of enhancing ROI and scaling amid economic instability. As they strive to reduce costs and maintain operational efficiency, they grapple with rising expenses such as goods, utilities, staff, and raw materials, exemplified by the 5.2% inflation rate in December 2023. The power of harnessing consumer data through tried, tested, scalable and innovative ways can be the difference between operational excellence and operational mediocrity, or worse, inefficiency.

It’s not just about the data you collect, though. It’s about how you collect it. Brands need an agile approach that does not call for dramatic cost-cutting or over-investing to drive better outcomes but a more strategic understanding of what can be done to make your marketing spend more intelligent, cost-effective and jam-packed with value.

In a recent study, 47% of respondents expressed little to no confidence in the responsible use of their data by brands. Enhanced data acquisition and personalisation have the potential to significantly reduce that figure. By aligning with initiatives aimed at granting consumers more direct control over their data, prioritising the anonymisation of data to its fullest extent will empower retailers to take the lead in establishing corporate data responsibility

Enterprises, in particular, have the opportunity to centralise their data across a group of brands. Take the L’Oréal Group, for example. Someone who buys Garnier products but consents to give their data to the broader L’Oréal Group could be shown retargeting ads for Maybelline, another brand within the group, when appropriate. 96% of visitors to a website never return, so this could mean much more effective use of data with cost savings, too. And a transparent understanding of how that data will be used fosters trust between the customer and the brand.

Loyalty and retention can also be heavily impacted by intelligent data usage. The recent cookie update has emphasised acquiring first-party data through enhanced Martech stacks, sending many unprepared businesses into a data nose-dive. With huge gaps in the data they now have access to and today’s high consumer expectations, personalisation and a seamless customer experience can seem further away. Those high expectations also come with little room for error. So the question becomes how we can continue to increase business growth and move ahead technologically while seemingly taking backward steps in our ability to know and target our customers. To keep buyers returning and engaging, brands should fill those data gaps with increased first-party data and build second-party data by working in partnership with retailers. Gone are the days of mass messaging or even easy-to-access audience groups. Today’s audience is data-led and on a one-to-one basis, with so many more touchpoints and variations of how brands can reach them.

We should expect that 2024 is going to see huge strides in the advancement of AI technology. Rather than taking a defensive stance, marketers can embrace the changes and allow AI to free up their time by taking care of smaller, routine or process-based tasks. This gives marketing teams the space to focus on building creative campaigns, using dynamic content and constructing an agile feedback loop so that data can be used in real-time to continually optimise and improve the customer experience. This allows your brand to be more reactive to fast-paced, changing trends. Generative AI even allows marketers to simulate a customer journey by replacing missing data with synthetic data and effectively pre-empting and preparing for the future. 55% of marketers report their organisation uses synthetic marketing data to envision potential customer journeys.

Retailers will look beyond the omnichannel experience that customers are currently used to and incorporate a seamless transition between not just one channel and the next, but across digital touchpoints, including websites and apps, as well as bridging messaging gaps between different channels, is crucial. Brands equipped with this unified approach can deliver tailored, informed messaging rather than resorting to a generic, one-size-fits-all approach. This is so far having an impact on the banking world. Impressive results for banks in early adoption of this integrated model include a 40% rise in customer activity, a doubling in digital sales, a threefold increase in cross-selling and the elevation of customer experience from middle-ranking to top quartile. One bank reduced its operating costs by two-thirds.

Audiences are changing, and brands must adapt to keep up, or they risk unnecessary spending and creating weak tech stacks incapable of handling, integrating or analysing data correctly. Customers are heading towards a more immersive experience. Building the fundamentals of a customer engagement platform that enables better communications and experiences is more essential than ever, if only to help futureproof a business against the inevitable changes that lie ahead. 

Author: James Herridge-Leng, Global Head of Retail & CPG at Braze

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