eCommerce & Merchandising

Master Customer Engagement: 8 Industry Pros Share Key Tips

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Customer engagement – the thing that keeps marketers constantly churning and customers coming back for more. It’s the secret sauce to any successful marketing campaign, sales strategy, and ultimately, business. In our always-on, always-connected world, brands are struggling to meet buyer demands as customer interests and consumer preferences shift. This brand/buyer struggle is seen today and will continue to grow as we welcome in a new generation of shoppers with a buying power of over $44B – Generation Z.

In a newly released study, IBM has revealed that despite living largely digital lives, 98% of customers born between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s still prefer to shop in store. However, this generation very much enjoys engaging and personally interacting with brands online and via multiple devices – leading to unique opportunities to influence purchase paths. Despite this, only 19% of retailers say they can provide a highly personalized digital shopping experience. Clearly, the future relationship between brand and buyer stands to experience a tremendous disconnect if not addressed. Cognitive technology is here to help!

Last week, IBM announced that it is revolutionizing the way that brands engage with customers by enlisting the help of cognitive technology. To support the launch, eight top Marketing and Commerce industry experts including Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz, Stan Phelps @StanPhelpsPG, Tamara McCleary @TamaraMcCleary, Brian Moran @brianmoran, Nicole Leinbach Reyhle @RetailMinded, Bernie Borges @bernieborges, Marsha Coller @MarshaCollier, and Joel Comm @joelcomm shared their top tips and secrets to successful customer engagement, and how cognitive technology fits into the mix during our second Cognitive College Virtual Workshop: Redefining Customer Engagement. We’ve recapped their advice below.

@iSocialFanz: Digital Natives Demand Smarter Brands in a Cognitive World

  • “In today’s on-demand, very connected world, we not only have customers and consumers telling us what they want – there’s so much data available that we need to embrace. The entire study IBM just released talks about the changing behavior of the consumer – they want a simple experience. Although they want to be more empowered and they believe in on demand resources, they also want a simplified outcome. This group is willing to use their personal data but they want to know that they can trust you. Part of the problem is a lot of brands only use the data to market and to sell. As brands start to embrace not only cognitive learning but the realization that it’s not just about an offline or an online experience – and if they can leverage data not just to sell but to solve a problem and create a personalized experience – that consumer will be an advocate for life.”
  • Watch on Persicope.

@StanPhelpsPG: 3 Ways Cognitive Capabilities Impact Customer Loyalty & Engagement

  • “Knowledge is merely opportunity. It’s the ability to take that knowledge and create action is the other half of the coin. Therein lies the advantage of cognitive. It’s about using cognitive as a tool to increase customer engagement. Personalization – knowing the individual needs of your customer and being able to create and individualized, personalized experience. Customer Service 3.0 – using cognitive to create a better service. Real-time response – addressing the needs of your customers proactively.”
  • Watch on Periscope.

@TamaraMcCleary: The Rise of A.I. in Omnichannel Marketing

  • “When I think about Watson and when I think about customer experience, it’s about using AI to tap into the deeper human needs within the exchanges that we have in business. Artificial intelligence is everywhere right now. It’s in all the places we can’t even see. It’s helping us to have and drive deeper human connection. As marketers, we have to tap into what people want. With AI – with that speed that comes with it, we’re able to become better marketers and are better able to serve human beings. Our capacity has widened to be able to serve, help, and deliver to customers.”
  • Watch on Periscope.

@RetailMinded: Why Customers & Cognitive Make the Perfect Pair

  • “Cognitive technology allows businesses to act more efficiently and successfully. It’s an opportunity to save your business time. It helps you navigate that customer experience more effectively and it gives you more time to focus your attention on the customer journey itself. Personalized attention is also key. Customers benefit from being supported with that more unique personalized care. Data collected through cognitive intelligence can better support consumers as they make future buying decisions. Cognitive helps bring more connectivity to brands – it creates a long-term relationship.”
  • Watch on Periscope.

@brianmoran: Cognitive Technology and Social Media = Your Content Marketing Plan

  • “Cognitive technology will sift through your data and identify what’s of interest to your customers at all different levels. It helps you create a system that keeps customers engaged no matter where they are in the buying process – and social media can help extend that relationship. The content you create and curate is only half of the work that needs to be done. You need to listen to and engage with the people who can help you in your business. It’s important for you to support your partners with their social sharing – like, share.”
  • Watch on Periscope.

@bernieborges: The Evolution of the More Productive B2B Salesperson in the Cognitive Era

  • “What if cognitive marketing technology could understand the buyer in the complex buyer journey? What if it could span the entire digital footprint of each member of the buyer’s committee and they can understand their interests, how they engage, etc. Using cognitive technology, you allow your sales organization to spend less time on low value activities and more time on high value activities. You’re then creating a better, engaging customer experience and a more effective one. You’re redefining the role of the salesperson, sales process, and the sales infrastructure.”
  • Watch on Periscope.

@MarshaCollier: Where Are You in the Customer Engagement Mix?

  • “If the customer today looks at you as a valuable resource and someone they want to connect with, they’ll do business with you. I’m a huge fan of customer service, customer engagement, and the customer experience. The customer experience is what you do with your customer before a transaction. You have to come up with an engaging path for your customer to reach you online. Think about your platform, use the data, use the analytics so you can truly reach your customers. When you look at the data, look at where their interests are – it’s a new field of analytics that lets you hone in on a customer in a more accurate way.”
  • Watch on Periscope.

@joelcomm: Why Live Video Is a Breakthrough in Content Personalization

  • “Smart businesses will be leveraging their passions, their knowledge, their inspiration and motivation via live video. It’s all about gaining mind share and getting your message out there. It’s about telling the world about who you are and the value you can bring to them. Live video offers the channel – I call it the live video revolution. It’s real, it’s compelling, and it’s honest. Ultimately, you are not in the business of selling a product or service. That’s not your business – you’re in the business of serving people.”
  • Watch on Periscope.

Want more on how cognitive technology is redefining customer engagement? Register for IBM Amplify 2017 to hear from top industry experts in person and learn how to take your customer engagement strategies to the next level.


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