Technology is transforming the way SMEs can market their businesses, allowing every employee to see the role they play in engaging with a customer and to analyse their level of success in doing so.
Speaking with My Business, Adobe’s senior director of strategy and product marketing, Loni Stark, says software is capturing ever-greater insight into consumer identity and behaviour, enabling businesses to individualise their content and target communications more specifically.
This, in turn, should dramatically increase the return on investment of a company’s marketing spend.
“[Developers are now delivering] a simple, easy-to-use interface that someone can go and log in [to], be able to design a digital experience, plug in the analytics to be able to measure it, and also be able to run the task all over the particular user interface,” said Ms Stark.
“What's happening is that there's going to be tests and insights that the rest of the organisation will get for their particular different channel … to be able to figure out something that's going well or something that's going poorly in the system.”
As well as providing more targeted data, more simplistic interfaces mean this data will be more accessible and transparent to all employees within a business, reducing bottlenecks or problems should a key person be on leave or resign from their position.
Data analytics is not just about measuring past results, but also looking into future possibilities, Ms Stark added
“Another is things like predictive analytics as well, being able to look into if you were to do certain actions, what's going to happen in the future,” she said.
“We've seen companies want to get a 360-degree view of the customer and in order to do that, everyone else in the organisation being able to put in the measurements element, being able to put in the targeting feeds into that one view that the analytic puts together. And they also look at how to represent that information so it tells a story.”
However, as Ms Stark pointed out, gathering all this data is all for nothing if it is not used to enhance the customer's experience.
Overseas, one example of a business that is doing well at using technology to break down the barriers between the virtual and real worlds in order to deliver a more personalised, holistic customer experience is MGM Resort in Las Vegas.
“They've been on this journey of digital transformation in the travel/hospitality space, so before you even step into a resort, you visit their website, you visit the mobile app, and you need to figure out, 'Hey, is this the place I want to go?',” she says.
“There's a lot of things that MGM Resort has done in personalising that experience, and then though what they also do is connect it to the mobile app as well, so when you go to the actual property you have a certain level of personalisation there.”
“Brands that do it well these days are not only looking at the digital experience, but also recognising that even things that you see, it's a physical experience when you're walking around – you're always connected now through the mobile device.”