Info on the consumer’s side
Today, consumers have an abundance of information, from product reviews to comparison websites. In fact, by the time they contact a supplier like ANZ, they will have consulted more than 10 information sources and will be 57 per cent through their purchase journey.
But with so much information available, consumer psychology has become further complicated by conflicting emotional needs. Consumers can research how and where a product was manufactured while comparing pricing across multiple marketplaces - they are constantly torn between getting the best value and honouring their values through the products they purchase.
To help them balance out their needs, consumers will increasingly rely on intermediaries and artificial intelligence (AI) for decision support. By 2025, 95 per cent of consumer interactions with a brand will be via AI.
Product recommendations, whether they come from intermediaries like Netflix, Google or Amazon, will matter to consumers more and more as they are overwhelmed by an abundance of information. Consumers will learn to delegate their decision making to intermediaries and AI, often automatically. As a result, it will be the intermediaries that will appear quickly to help new behaviours spread fast.
TikTok is a great example. Launched in 2019, within the first year the platform already boasted 2.5 million Australian users. From dance challenges to the latest food trends, it is clear TikTok is driving new behaviours. Looking further afield to South Korea, social chat brand and internet company Kakao launched the first digital-only bank KakaoBank, attracting 820,000 users in the first four days of launching in 2017. This swelled to 10 million customers by 2019.
Beyond personalisation, anticipation
These changes must drive new marketing innovations - moving away from personalising services to anticipation through AI and machine learning. In the future, marketers will have an even greater amount of access to a rich array of data to build customer profiles. The pressure is on to innovate rapidly and create new offerings that speak to consumers at a deep level.
Examples of anticipation today include the small nudges received from an email service asking to follow up on an email from last week or receiving Amazon’s product recommendations: “Buying some nappies? Would you like to bundle that with some talcum powder?”.
US-based bank Capital One has worked with analytics platform Foursquare to send real-time banking notifications based on location and proximity to partner retailers. HSBC has similarly used an AI-driven predictive recommendation engine for credit card rewards - increasing redemption by 70 per cent.
The challenge many organisations face is whether their marketers have the technical skills to enable these changes.
For organisations, the imperative is on senior leaders to strategically invest in people. By 2022, no less than 54 per cent of all employees will require significant re- and up-skilling.